Guest blogger: Kathryn Goldman
The short answer is “No.”
The longer answer is that most artists are not going to have their art taken by someone like Richard Prince who has commercial stature and deep pockets. The threat to most artists is from every day Internet “sneak thieves” – lazy non-creatives who right click, copy and paste. Prince did more than that, but not much more.
Copyright is still useful for artists despite the actions of Richard Prince and the expansion of the defense of fair use.
Richard Prince — Pushing the Envelope, or Taking Advantage?
When it came to light that Richard Prince appropriated wholesale the work of Instagram users, added a few phrases of his own to the comment thread, enlarged the images and charged $90,000 for a print, many in the art world (and the legal world) were troubled by his actions. Others, not so much.
Some of the original creators of the Instagram images have sought revenge of sorts by selling the image they created for $90 in an attempt to undermine Prince’s market. The effectiveness of that strategy is questionable. Without Richard Prince’s actions, those Instagram artists would have continued operating in relative obscurity.
Many agree that obscurity is a bigger problem for artists than infringement.
If you are an artist in the U.S., take these for steps for turning your hobby into a legal art business. 1) Obtain your Federal Employer Identification Number. Don’t scatter your Social Security Number around! Get this free ID number from the Federal government for your art business. The Federal EIN Application takes 5 minutes and is FREE. Beware of sites that want to charge you for this service!
Collecting sales taxes is one of the most confusing parts of running a business. And you should be collecting sales taxes if you sell a physical product – like art. But your life will be a lot easier if you take a class. Or two. Or three.
Just because you’ve started selling your art doesn’t mean you have a legitimate business. You have to get some things in order, including registering with your department of state. Here’s a list for starting out.
How to add a copyright © symbol on your PC or Mac.
Next time you run into a difficult situation, don’t be afraid to take action and be the “maverick.” Use your best judgment along with carefully justified reasoning to determine your course. And always live up to your agreements while continuing to communicate all the way.
Artist Geri Dunn was stunned when someone purchased a gift certificate of hers at a silent auction and then wanted to either 1) redeem it for cash or 2) commission an original drawing for the amount on the certificate ($150). People really do ask/demand the darndest things!
Let’s look at the situation and start with the gift certificate itself, pictured here.
The small lettering on the bottom row consists of these three components.
The artist’s contact information–phone and email. The certificate number, expiration date (12/31/2010), and the words “Not redeemable for cash.” Having an expiration date is important! And the “not redeemable” phrase proved key when the recipient tried to cash it in. Geri was able to point to this language and quickly put an end to that discussion. The
Deep thoughts happen even on Christmas Eve!
How do you handle it when you think another artist is “stealing” your ideas?
Caroline Douglas, The Chariot Race. Ceramic sculpture. ©The Artist
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Artist John T. Unger is getting an unwanted education in copyright law. His court case could have far-reaching intellectual property implications for the original work created by other artists and creative entrepreneurs.
When it’s okay to use someone else’s artwork on your site, how to do it, and when it’s probably best to ask ahead of time. Also, how to deal with someone who has swiped one of your images without crediting you AND how to credit images on your blog.