Friday, March 20, 2015

As Artworks Enter Public Domain, Rules Remain Confusing; New York Times, 3/13/15

Nina Siegal, New York Times; As Artworks Enter Public Domain, Rules Remain Confusing:
"Piet Mondrian, the Dutch modern master, died 71 years ago. Are his works now copyright-free?
The answer — a highly qualified “yes, but” — has ramifications for scholars, publishers, museums, heirs and anyone else who has an interest in seeing and studying works of art in a global context.
The issue turns on a discrepancy between European and American copyright law that is coming to light this year because, as of Jan. 1, 2015, Mondrian’s works enter the public domain in Europe. Under European Union law, the term of copyright for works of art expires on the 1st of January following 70 years after the author or artist’s death.
But the case is particularly complex with Mondrian because he produced part of his work while living in Europe and part of it in the United States, where copyright laws are different.
Although the lack of uniformity in national copyright laws affects reproduction rights for works by any artist, it is becoming a more complicated issue with the growth of online sharing, especially as museums are increasingly interested in offering the public access to their collections on the web."

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