College Art Association

CAA News Today

Update on CAA’s Copyright and Fair-Use Project

posted by Christopher Howard — Oct 07, 2013

CAA has long been committed to enhancing understanding of copyright and fair-use issues in the field of the visual arts. Over the past year, it began a multiyear project looking toward the development of a code that reflects fair-use practices in the use of copyrighted materials in the field. The project’s methodology is based on the community-based and consensus-driven approach to developing codes of best practices in fair use that is described in Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright (2011), which was authored by Patricia Aufderheide, university professor in the School of Communication at American University and director of its Center for Social Media, and Peter Jaszi, professor of law and faculty director of the Washington College of Law’s Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic.

To launch the project, Aufderheide and Jaszi, two of the principal investigators of the CAA project, began interviewing visual-arts professionals in October 2012, with the support of a start-up grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. Last December, CAA was awarded a major grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund the project (see http://www.collegeart.org/news/2013/01/14/caa-receives-major-mellon-grant/).

Aufderheide and Jaszi have now completed one hundred interviews, including art historians, artists, museum professionals, archivists, art librarians, critics, designers, editors, publishers, and rights holders. These interviews have yielded rich data on the experiences and views of practitioners in the field.

To supplement these views, last March CAA circulated to members a survey questionnaire asking about their views on copyright and fair use. The survey results, along with research into legal issues and a literature review, have provided valuable information about copyright-related challenges facing the field.

Aufderheide and Jaszi are now drafting an Issues Report to summarize and analyze the information from the interviews, member survey, and literature review. Later this fall, the Issues Report will be reviewed by a number of groups, including the project’s principal investigators and advisors, the Task Force on Fair Use, and CAA’s Committee on Intellectual Property (CIP). CAA also has assembled a Community Practices Advisory Committee (CPAC) to review the report in December. The CPAC members are:

  • Maxwell Anderson, Director, Dallas Museum of Art
  • Susan Bielstein, Executive Editor, University of Chicago Press
  • Martha Buskirk, Professor of art history and criticism, Montserrat College
  • Paul Catanese, Chair of Interdisciplinary Arts, Columbia College, and past-chair, CAA New Media Caucus
  • Kenneth Hamma, Consulting at the Intersection of Cultural Heritage and IT
  • Alan Newman, Chief, Digital Imaging and Visual Resources, National Gallery of Art
  • Mari Carmen Ramirez, Curator of Latin American Art and Director, International Center for the Arts of the Americas, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • Timothy Rub, Director, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and President, Association of Art Museum Directors
  • Christine Sundt, Editor of Visual Resources: An International Journal of Documentation

After this review process is completed, the Issues Report will be presented to CAA’s Board of Directors and, after the board endorses it, it will then be published in advance of the Annual Conference. The report will be the subject of the CIP’s session at the conference, scheduled for NOON on Saturday, February 15.

Over the course of 2014, the Issues Report will be used in the project’s second phase—as the basis for discussions by small groups of visual-arts professionals around the country in meetings led by Aufderheide and Jaszi. Based on these discussions, CAA then hopes to draft a code of best practices that reflects a consensus of practitioners with respect to fair-use practices in scholarly publishing and in creating and curating artworks in the visual arts.