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Copyright's Immoral Rights?

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For those whose scholarly penchant leads them to write about artworks that exist in our visual world, copyright laws have the effect of stifling those scholarly and equally creative endeavors. Publishers require authors to obtain permission to reproduce artworks, which is sometimes impossible to accomplish. Extension of rights and permissions granting to generations succeeding the life of the artist can result in scholars being prohibited by the rights holder from reproducing artworks. Without reasonable time limits under copyright laws or other legally conferred safe guarantees for the rights user, this has the effect of dead-ending scholarship rather than facilitating relationships to be formed between explanatory text and its image subject. If the creative scholar is unable to demonstrate the symbiosis scholarly text has with the image, new creativity is thwarted. This article illustrates legal challenges facing scholars who write and publish in a copyright-litigious society and why artists, publishers, curators, and scholars need a cooperative and understanding environment to resolve these problems.

Keywords: Copyright Restriction; Copyright in Perpetuity; Droit Moral/Moral Rights; Fair Use; Free Culture

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-12-01

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