Course blog for American University PERF-570, Fall 2014
I just ran across this article, originally posted by Willamette Week.
If you find who owns a nonprofit tough to wrap your head around, here’s one that’ll really give you fits: Who owns a photo of a piece of art? The answer: it depends. I hope we’ll talk about copyright in this class, because it’s complex, and an issue that arts managers need to understand thoroughly. But, in general, an artist owns the copyright (and therefore rights to reproduce in any format, including photography) to a piece of art they produce.
There are tons of exceptions, though. In this case, everything is negotiable. When the city (or whomever) commissioned the piece, the contract should have clearly stated that the city owns the copyright. Copyright is transferrable. That would have prevented this problem.
However, as devil’s advocate, why shouldn’t the artist have the right to control the image of this work, as (almost) every other artist has with (almost) every other piece of art?