Monday, January 18, 2010

My Monday...Artist Copyright

It is the first “My Monday”! What is that you may ask? Well, in short it is an opportunity for me to talk about whatever is happening in my world at Four Elements Design. Artist copyright is a hot topic that has been popping up in my circle of friends. What is artist copyright? How does it apply to you? Well let’s find out…

“In Canada, copyright is meant to protect the expression of ideas but never ideas in themselves. Copyright subsists in original literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic work, whether published or unpublished. Close attention has been paid to the use of the word "original". It has been well established that the foremost requirement for the subsistence of copyright is that the work be original.

The CCH Canadian case re-evaluated the meaning of "original" and found that for a work to be original it must be the result of the exercise of "skill and judgment". More specifically: skill, meaning the "use of one's knowledge, developed aptitude or practiced ability in producing work", and judgment, meaning the "use of one's capacity for discernment or ability to form an opinion or evaluation by comparing different possible options in producing the work". Nevertheless, originality does not require any novelty or creativity. It does require intellectual effort beyond mere mechanical exercise.

The determination of originality on the basis presented in CCH Canadian depends on the facts. For a large part, it depends on degree to which the work originated from the author. Many factors are considered. The medium or form used is significant. Whether it comprises elements that are in the public domain or not, whether it the ordering of data or facts, or whether the form is pedestrian or novel. Mere selection is generally not enough. As well, it is significant to consider whether there are any artistic elements to it.”

- Courtesy of Wikipedia

With lampworking, which has been around since the first century B.C. it is virtually impossible to create a bead with techniques that have not been used by thousands of other lampworking artists. There are only so many ways to make round, cube, heart, etc. beads. So if as an artist you make a heart bead in a similar way to another individual are you infringing on their copyright?

It comes down to personal opinion really. I personally feel that if you came up with a design and later come across another artist’s design that is similar it is not infringing on their rights. Like, wise if you view another artist’s piece of work and use the colours, shape, or style as inspiration for your own pattern it is not breaching the artist’s copyright. In my eyes (and I am not the “be all, end all”), a violation occurs when you study another artisan’s work and try to copy or replicate the exact design. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But “they” obviously have not had their signature piece duplicated!

Artist copyright is truly an important and controversial topic. Four Elements Design wants to learn more about this subject. Please, share your opinion in the comments section below this blog.

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