Chapter 21: Copyright in museums
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From the perspective of a museum professional, this chapter explores the daily challenges and opportunities which copyright can pose. The chapter discusses the challenges of display, social media, digital surrogates, co-ownership, 3-D printing, manipulation and re-mixing images of works of art. Particular reference is made to fair use, orphan works, the public domain, licensing and users rights. Equally important is the sharing of professional best practices, and the chapter discusses the valuable contributions made by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation’s Fair Use Policy Statement and Codes such as the College Art Association’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts. Throughout the focus is on how best, and perhaps most creatively, to manage legal risk and uncertainty in service of the aims of museums – the cathedrals of our era – in acquiring, conserving and communicating humanity’s heritage for education, study and enjoyment.

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