The Impact of Copyright Permissions Culture on the U.S. Visual Arts Community: The Consequences of Fear of Fair Use
New Media & Society, Online First, March 10, 2015
17 Pages Posted: 8 May 2015
Date Written: March 11, 2015
As digital opportunities emerge in the visual arts — to produce multimedia art and digital scholarship, publish online, hold online museum exhibitions — old copyright frustrations have worsened in a field where getting permissions is routine. A national survey of 2,828 visual arts professionals, combined with 100 in-depth interviews of visual arts practitioners throughout the U.S., explored how visual arts professionals use the U.S. copyright doctrine of fair use. Results showed widespread lack of confidence and misconceptions about fair use; resulting exaggerated risk assessment; personal and social relations within the community that deter reliance on fair use; and consequent delays, deformations and failure to execute mission. The 2015 creation of a fair use code of best practices may alleviate the deformations found in this survey.
Keywords: Copyright, fair use, visual arts, digital humanities, online censorship, publishing, museums, scholarship, artists, archives
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