Seminar VI - Kyungshin Park
The 6th DOOSAN Curator Workshop seminar was led by Kyungshin Park, professor at Kyunghee Cyber University, on the subject “Copyrights and contracts for curators”. This seminar was a continuation of the 4th DOOSAN Curator Workshop seminar which elaborated on the same subject.
Copyright consists of the artist’s property right and moral right. While property right can be transferred and sold completely, moral right permanently belongs to the right holder, and is delegated to the family of the right holder after death. Problems involving moral rights can sometimes occur in the abolition of works. This is because the artist or the family of the deceased artist can raise issues regarding the moral rights of the artist when the owner of the work abolishes the work without the consent of the artist, even if the owner had acquired the property rights of the work by commissioning or purchasing the work. Therefore, it’s important to consider the predictable outcomes and make agreements with the artist beforehand when commissioning and producing works as a part of public art.
Recently, art institutions and museums are expanding the diverse activities involving the art work beyond the exhibition, through publicity, education, and art merchandise production. This has also raised issues to be considered, such as the reproduction rights, performance rights, public transmission rights, exhibition rights, distribution rights, rental rights, and derivative work rights, etc. The seminar focused on specific relevant cases and examined contents that should be included in exhibition contracts with artists. An important factor to consider in terms of the rights to derivative works is that, unless a special article has been included in the contract with the artist in selling or transferring their work, the artist has the rights to derivative works even if the entire property rights of the artist is sold or transferred.
Plagiarism and infringement of copyright seem similar at a glance, but they have different legal significance. While plagiarism questions the moral aspects in the intention and refers to copying of what is not protected by the copyright law, such as ideas, techniques and material, infringement of copyright is a legal concept that overrides intention and legally deals with the ‘deed’ and ‘actual similarity’. Infringement of copyright is judged in literature based on the copying or similarity of script, plot, relationship between figures and summary, and in music, based on rhythm, beat and melody. However, infringement of copyright is difficult to judge in fine arts. For example, in landscape photography, the composition of photographs of nature is unavoidably limited. Therefore, the issue of when, where and how a subject is photographed cannot be protected by copyright. As such, there are always cases of copyright infringement in appropriated arts. The curator must exercise utmost caution in examining each work in advance to make sure that there are no possibilities in violating copyright, because each case of copyright infringement is different.
Copyright law applies not only to the copyright holder but also to owner of neighboring copyright who participated in the production of the work. The copyright law applies to many people, including performers participating in performance art, sound directors involved in media art work, and even the general public participating in community art. Therefore, the curator must make a prior confirmation whether the rights involving the owners of neighboring copyright have been negotiated.
Following the last discussion in the 4th seminar, this seminar expansively explored aspects of copyright laws and contracts we may not have been aware of. The two seminars illustrated that attention must continuously be paid on copyright laws because every case, especially in how the law is applied and interpreted, is different.