SAH Newsletter



Update on CAA's Copyright and Fair Use Issues Report

by Helena Karabatsos | May 15, 2014

Via CAA:

The College Art Association (CAA) recently published a report about copyright and fair use in the visual arts. Based on interviews and a field-wide survey, Copyright, Permissions, and Fair Use among Visual Artists and the Academic and Museum Visual Arts Communities: An Issues Report was published in February 2014 on CAA’s website and in a limited number of printed copies.

Here is a link to the report: http://www.collegeart.org/pdf/FairUseIssuesReport.pdf

Jointly researched and written by Patricia Aufderheide, a professor in American University’s  School of Communication and director of its Center for Media and Social Impact; Peter Jaszi, professor of law at the American University Washington College of Law; and graduate fellows Bryan Bello and Tijana Milosevic, the report summarizes 100 interviews with art historians, artists, museums curators, editors, and publishers describing issues related to the use of third-party images in creative and scholarly work. Their research was further informed by a survey of CAA members on fair use and a review of relevant literature and case law. Their findings reveal that art historians, artists, curators and other visual arts professionals who seek to use third-party copyrighted materials often face significant challenges in creating and disseminating new work due to the actual and perceived limitations of copyright.  The authors conclude that these concerns could be meaningfully addressed by a better understanding of the scope and application of the doctrine of fair use, which is an exception in the Copyright Act that, in certain circumstances, authorizes the unlicensed use of copyrighted material. 

The Issues Report represents the culmination of the first stage in developing a code of best practices for the fair use of copyrighted materials in creative, scholarly, and curatorial work in the visual arts. It will form the basis for ten discussion groups that will be held in five cities (Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C.) over the coming year to identify areas of consensus among arts professionals—both holders and users of copyrighted materials—about what practices seem to constitute fair use. These deliberations will undergird the development of a code of best practices, which will be reviewed by CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property, its Task Force on Fair Use, and a Legal Advisory Committee. Once finalized, the code of best practices will be presented to the CAA Board of Directors for approval and will be widely disseminated.

Jaszi and Aufderheide have developed codes of fair use in several other humanities disciplines at the Center for Media and Social Impact at the American University: http://www.cmsimpact.org/fair-use