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ARTE 102: 3-D Design, Crocetto

This is intended to help ARTE 102 students with research in 3-D Design.

Copyright, art, design, and images

Copyright is a complex and often misunderstood legal concept to protect the works of individuals, organizations, and corporations. But what is protected and why? The main component is potential monetary value. Copyright exists to make sure that those individuals, organizations, and corporations can obtain any monetary value that might exist, now or in the future, as a result of the sale and use of their works.

So how are you going to use images you find or quotes from scholarly articles to write your papers or create your sculptures if they're protected by copyright? You don't want to be sued, right?

There is something called fair use, which does allow copyrighted material to be used without fear of penalty is some specific situations. Because artwork, design, and images have their own specific issues, the College Art Association has developed a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts. The code breaks down all of the situations in which fair use can be applied to the visual arts.

For this class

As a student of art, these are the two fair use principles from the Code of Best Practices that you will need to be aware of.

  1. From pages 9-10 (Analytical Writing) - "Principle: In their analytic writing about art, scholars and other writers (and, by extension, their publishers) may invoke fair use to quote, excerpt, or reproduce copyrighted works, subject to certain limitations:


  • The writer’s use of the work, whether in part or in whole, should be justified by the analytic objective, and the user should be prepared to articulate that justification.
  • The writer’s analytic objective should predominate over that of merely representing the work or works used.
  • The amount and kind of material used and (where images are concerned) the size and resolution of the published reproduction should not exceed that appropriate to the analytic objective.
  • Justifications for use and the amount used should be considered especially carefully in connection with digital-format reproductions of born-digital works, where there is a heightened risk that reproductions may function as substitutes for the originals.
  • Reproductions of works should represent the original works as accurately as can be achieved under the circumstances.
  • The writing should provide attribution of the original work as is customary in the field, to the extent possible.

2. From page 11 (Making Art) - "Principle: Artists may invoke fair use to incorporate copyrighted material into new artworks in any medium, subject to certain limitations:


  • Artists should avoid uses of existing copyrighted material that do not generate new artistic meaning, being aware that a change of medium, without more, may not meet this standard.
  • The use of a preexisting work, whether in part or in whole, should be justified by the artistic objective, and artists who deliberately repurpose copyrighted works should be prepared to explain their rationales both for doing so and for the extent of their uses.
  • Artists should avoid suggesting that incorporated elements are original to them, unless that suggestion is integral to the meaning of the new work.
  • When copying another’s work, an artist should cite the source, whether in the new work or elsewhere (by means such as labeling or embedding), unless there is an articulable aesthetic basis for not doing so.