On June 4th I composed a rather lengthy post regarding ethics with a strong focus on our art form, the quilt. My post generated some discussion, and while for the most part readers understood the position I was trying to convey it appears that not everyone has a clear understanding of Canadian copyright.
When it comes to social media views are varied and not always correct. I have spent some time to further deepen my understanding of the issue. I stand firmly behind the points made in the post from June 4th.
Much has been written on the subject, and to recap it here would make for a long read. I have located a number of websites that will strengthen the points I raised. Rather than rewrite the information in my own words, I believe they have much more impact if they are in their original form. Therefore I am including links to these excellent and very informative sites for your reference.
Beginning with the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website, copyright is explained in plain English to make it easy to understand and apply to one’s personal situation. Explore Canadian Intellectual Property Laws here.
In Canada a “Fair Dealing” provision is explained in this Google Document. In other words “fair dealing” in relation to the Copyright Act permits the use of copyright-protected work without permission of the copyright owner only for the following purposes: Research, private study, criticism, review, news reporting, education, satire and parody. Its use must be deemed “fair” and it should be limited in application without causing damage to the copyright owner.
Since I have a strong following from readers in the US I have included a link to US Copyright. The US government link can be found here. You can click on Chapter 5 to download the comprehensive information on Copyright Infringements and Remedies.
A more general explanation on copyright and “fair use”can be found here. Pay particular attention to the sections Somebody infringed my copyright. What can I do? and Could I be sued for using somebody else’s work? How about quotes or samples?
Another excellent website is the CARFAC (Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens ) and CARFAC Sask site, where anyone can research various issues that affect artists. Membership is not required.
On a personal note I have been taking an online course and by coincidence the chapter I am working through this week highlights a recommended reading link about the issue of “Ethics in the Age of Digital Photography”. This document was supplied by the NPPA (National Press Photographers Association). I found the individual chapters very informative. At first glance they don’t appear to have a direct correlation to photographing quilt shows, however ethics are addressed and provide food for for thought on how our eagerness in share images with the public can affect credibility. In closing I want to repeat my personal stand on the topic. When in doubt I adhere to the following principle: Obtain permission from the artist!
Time to weigh in with your thoughts: I invite discussion and personal experiences.