Chapter 15: Visual arts: artists’ voices from the field
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Is copyright relevant to the everyday lives of visual artists? Is it valuable to them? With an emphasis on artists’ relationship with copyright this chapter focuses on visual arts and presents thematic findings from new empirical research funded by Research Councils UK through the research programme of CREATe. Drawing upon original qualitative data, it examines the role of copyright in visual artists’ practices. Analysis of interviews conducted with fine and contemporary artists and illustrators demonstrates that the relevance of the internal aspect of copyright (the ability to exploit rights for monetary return) can vary significantly both across creative disciplines and individual practices. Similarities in artists’ experimentations, in sustaining precarious portfolio-based careers, are identified. The chapter shows that creators’ relationships with copyright are complex and highlights the value of the external aspect of copyright (the artist’s ability to exclude others from use of their works), an aspect that is often ignored.

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