What if I want to include information about other people in my artwork?

You need to be aware of and observe the requirements of both the UK’s confidentiality laws (enshrined in, amongst others, Articles 8 and 12 of the Human Rights Act), the Data Protection Act 1998, and more recently the General Data Protection Regulation (2018).

These statutes require that consent be obtained from the third party, preferably in writing, before their personal data can be placed within the public domain.

The Data Protection Act requires any person or organisation involved in storing personal data for commercial purposes, including marketing and auctions, to register with the Information Commissioner, supplying the organisation’s name and nature, and the intended use for the data.

Similar knowledge is useful when compiling a mailing list to promote your work, for example.  People on your database should have the ability to correct their information, or have it removed, and  best practice also suggests including a physical contact address along with any messages sent to your mailing list, as well as information on how people can update or remove their details. This article on Post Creative, GDPR and Email Marketing with Mailchimp, deals with the issue of consent, and may help you proceed lawfully and/or ethically with your mailing list.

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This article is from the Artlaw Archive of Henry Lydiate's columns published in Art Monthly since 1976, and may contain out of date material. The article is for information only, and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Readers should consult a solicitor for legal advice on specific matters. Artists can get free online legal information from Artquest.