Edited by Jani McCutcheon and Fiona McGaughey
Chapter 4: Copying artistic works: copyright, aesthetics, and artistic practice
This chapter argues for greater coherence between copyright, aesthetics, and artistic practice as important elements of the art world. A basic model of common sense aesthetics is constructed and compared with prevailing conceptions of artistic works in British-heritage copyright law. This model rejects, among other theories, the idea of Platonic abstracta that are discovered and cannot be destroyed, and espouses human intentionality in creating destructible artefacts. Common sense aesthetics presents a plausible ontology of artworks that can be applied in copyright law. It is not argued that artistic practice, aesthetics, and copyright can be precisely coherent. Aesthetic theory tends to lag behind some forms of artistic practice, and copyright law may never accommodate the avant-garde. Nevertheless, using the metaphor of a Venn diagram, this chapter concludes that scope exists for greater convergence of the three circles representing artworks from the perspectives of copyright law, aesthetics, and artistic practice.
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