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Protecting Intellectual Property in the Art World

Love is a response to values. It is with a person’s sense of life that one falls in one – with that essential sum, that fundamental stand or way of facing existence, which is the essence of a personality – Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto.

As artists, we couldn’t agree better, irrespective of the many vicissitudes of life (illness, poverty, famine), which crush many men, one’s love for his craft, skill, and worldly outlook, sees triumph at the end of a long enduring war with life’s setbacks.

A notable example hailed as “Poland’s greatest living artist” in the 1920’s Stanislaw Szukalski, saw a loss of most of his artwork during periods of war, but yet reveled in power in his later years. Pause!!! I know you’re enjoying the narrative, but this is not a biography or a post on philosophy.

Take a moment, look through your mind's eye, and observe the halcyon days, perhaps you were not born, but a scenery grasped in watching movies or stories told to you by a visit to museums or by your grandparents about authors and their works will suffice. I believe that you’ll come to the conclusion that, in order to stand tall among the giants of the artistic world of both the old and new, one had to come by with great masterpieces of inventive contribution, be in the right company, and in the right environment at the right time.

However, nothing much has changed in our era as artists, but with only an increase in the slew of options available to us, in order to create our artworks using technology such as the realization of immersive art experiences.

In the art world, intellectual property is the artist’s right to protect the sui generis (unique or original) work while a copyright is established when an original is created tangibly (not just conceptually).

But how should these works be protected from being illegally used or misused? According to research by Bejtullahi and Prof Dumi on Intellectual Property Law, in order to ask for and use a provided legal protection for an intellectual property work, it is necessary for this work to have followed the right paths of its existence and distribution, by acquiring the necessary licensing or patent. Also, in order to make use and profit out of ownership over some intellectual asset, it needs to be made public, besides gaining mandatory legal rights.

Unregistered work, however, can often be hard to prove as an artist’s own, which is why it is important to keep digital or physical records.

If your work is published under an alias or it is anonymous, the owner of that work’s copyright would be the publishing company, (Copyright Law, Article 16). If someone were to prove that they were the author of such a work, they would definitely be transferred the copyright.

If there’s ever a need to take a case to court, you the artist must think about how well you can demonstrate to be the creator of the artwork in question.

As a parting note:

  • Always read agreements carefully

  • Keep records of your contracts


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