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Subject: Intellectual property and conservation

Intellectual property and conservation

From: Alison Bracker <alison.bracker<-a>
Date: Saturday, June 4, 2005
Rebecca Bunch <rbunch [at] ncc-ccn__ca> writes

>I am looking for some references or clarification regarding issues
>surrounding Canadian copyright and conservation.  Most of our
>objects have been donated (often by the artist) or purchased by an
>acquisitions committee and I am wondering if we need to contact the
>artist, or their descendants directly in each case where
>conservation is needed no matter how minor the treatment is. Do we
>need to provide them with a treatment proposal? Is there some sort
>of legal form needed? Is this even necessary?

While it is best to discuss specific queries with a lawyer or
solicitor who specialises in Copyright Law, it is important to note
that artists whose work is still protected by copyright (e.g.,
living artists, or artists whose death occurred less than 70 years
ago) maintain droit moral, or moral rights, over their work. These
rights are not transferable, and protect the artist's work from
distortion, mutilation, or modification.  In Canada, moral rights
comprise the following:

    1.  The right of association, which allows the artist to control
        the context in which his or her work is used, reproduced, or

    2.  The right of integrity, which allows the artist to control
        how a work is altered

    3.  The right to be named or not named as the author of a work

It is highly unlikely that a minor treatment will infringe an
artist's moral rights.  In most cases, contacting an artist or an
artist's estate regarding conservation treatment is unnecessary.  It
is in those circumstances where a treatment risks compromising the
conceptual or material integrity of the object, and/or contravenes
the artist's wishes regarding the care and display of the object,
that consultation with the artist/estate ought to be pursued.

Dr. Alison Bracker
Royal College of Art
London, England

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:57
                  Distributed: Wednesday, June 8, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-57-003
Received on Saturday, 4 June, 2005

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