Copyright is arguably one of the most important pieces of international legislation that an artist or craftsperson needs to be aware of.
It protects their artworks (but, significantly, not their ideas) and forms the legal basis for licensing images of their work. It is an automatic right that is not ‘registered’ or applied for, lasting for the full lifetime of the author / maker of the work and for 70 years after their death.
More information about the length of copyright and its basic tenets are laid out in this section.
The oldest articles in this section argue the case for improvements to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Bill when it was first introduced into the UK Parliament in 1987. The initial introductory section, written in part from March to June 1989, explain the basic provisions of the copyright and moral rights laws in force, and note the key improvements and changes to artists' rights compared with the old 1956 Act regime. For completeness, articles relating to this old copyright legislation are included in the Copyright before 1989 section.
In 1996 the length of copyright in the UK was extended to 70 years after the originator/author's death, and this radical legislative change is explained and discussed.
Numerous copyright infringement cases are reported, including: a successful US suit brought by the MC Escher Foundation; unauthorised castings of Giacometti sculptures; the failure of the Bridgman Art Library to prevent a rival company copying and trading in their photographs of paintings; the Picasso Estate's claims against the use of the artist's name for a new make of Citroen car; and the case against the painter Glenn Brown for his alleged infringement of illustrator Anthony Roberts's earlier work, which came to notice during the 2000 Turner Prize.
The extension of the length of copyright in the US - to 96 years after the artist's death - was reported and explained in 1990. The 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) in 2000 is reported, and its work to protect and promote the copyright interests of UK artists is reviewed.