Intellectual Property Rights
All artists need to be careful in protecting the rights to their work. While 2-D and 4D artists hav more trouble than sculptors generally in this matter, Take a look at what’s happening to ceramic artist BrettKern Brett’s work has been “appropriated” and is being mass produced in China for resale in places like Ross Dress for Less.
Moral rights are the rights of an artist to maintain the integrity of her/his work and to receive full and proper attribution for her/his work. Moral rights reflect a personal interest in the work and usually are attributable only to the author (that is, unlike copyright, such rights cannot be transferred to another party). The U.S. was initially reluctant to adopt moral rights laws, but after its adherence to the Berne Convention, the U.S. was obliged to enact the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) in 1990, recognizing an artist’s limited right of attribution, right of integrity, and right to prevent the derogation or destruction of certain works of art.
Here’s a good article on how to protect your photographs. And here’s another one called Stop Stealing my sh*t! from skinny artist. This is a huge problem really. Just google protecting images. Here’s a simple “how to”. And last articles by artlawjournal and artsyshark.
Now, if you are not a photographer, that’s ok, you can still protect the images of your work by taking these same steps. Because the work on your website is an image file and not original work, you can protect this work the way you protect photography.
Credit where credit is due:
Something that should have been discussed in the photo section is photo credit. Whether you take your own images, or pay someone else to take images of your work, you must give credit to the photographer. Whether you use the images on your own website, or send your images to a gallery, part of your caption should include either “photo by Harrison Csorney” (for example), or “image courtesy of the artist”.
I cannot tell you how important it is to both tag and caption your images. If someone grabs your image off your site, rather than seeing something like IMG34294359 or P2938248, or the like when they see your image in their files, make sure each of your photos is titled in the file. Your name at the very least should be in the title. It is really good to have image captions on your website because people want to know what they’re seeing. And if you have hired a photographer, even if you paid for the service, it goes beyond courtesy to give that photo credit. It is an obligation. Many photographers have a contract in which you agree to give photo credit when using the images.