Art and Other Images
Copyright law protects art, photography, and other images on generally the same terms that the law protects all other forms of original works. Questions often arise about the general nature of copyright in this context, as well as fair use and the appropriate uses of protected images in connection with teaching, research, and other activities. These images might range from classic works of art to photographs to drawings of medical procedures. Regardless of their type, copyright issues arise for all of these works.
The information and resources on this page provide background about the legal issues around using art and other images, and provide links to some of the quirky and interesting developments in the world of art.
For a list of online image databases that provide publicly accessible images that are openly available without charge to users, see the following page:
The websites compiled below offer a variety of resources exploring the relationship between art and copyright law. These websites are geared toward a number of different audiences – artists, museum professionals, educators, and librarians—whose work may require an understanding of the copyright laws and policies affecting works of art. While these sites are offered as a starting point for those seeking additional resources on art and copyright law, the Copyright Advisory Office does not guarantee the accuracy of the information included on these sites.
An open bulletin board hosted by the ALA Office of Information and Technology Policy’s Copyright Advisory Network, intended to provide art-related copyright support to librarians and libraries.
An association for photographers who create works primarily for publication, the ASMP promotes photographers’ rights and provides educational resources for photographers relating to copyright.
A coalition of over 600 Canadian artists, curators, educators, and others from the art community concerned with the state of copyright policy for artists and the future of Appropriate Art.
A copyright licensing and monitoring organization for visual artists in the United States, representing the intellectual property interests of more than 50,000 visual artists and their estates.
Part of American University’s School of Communication. The Center for Social Media’s resources include fair use best-practices for dance-related materials and documentary film.
A compilation of government documents, conference materials, guidelines, policies, and resource links relating to copyright and art issues.
Provides resources on copyright, moral rights, and resale right of artists.
A compilation of court decisions regarding art and copyright.
Co-sponsored by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the American Association of Museums’ Rights and Reproductions Information Network (RARIN) taskforce, the RARIN Wiki serves as resource for individuals involved museums’ rights and reproduction management.
A multi-disciplinary organization to further research and education in the field of image management within the educational, cultural, heritage, and commercial environments. The VRA’s “Resources” page offers copyright resources developed by the organization’s Intellectual Property Rights Committee.
Below are some interesting examples of works of art and artists that have implicated issues of copyright and intellectual property.
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