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Artistic works

The term Artistic Works covers a very large range of graphic works under UK copyright laws. Types of work covered include: paintings, drawings, logos, diagrams, maps, charts and plans, photographs (including negatives and microfilm), architectural structures, work of craftsmanship such as jewellery and pottery.

The author, like literary works is defined as the person who created the work and in the case of photographs, the photographer. The duration of copyright is also similar to that of literary works.

How long copyright lasts for

The general rule for copyright in artistic works is 70 years after the artist's death. If the author is unknown then copyright lasts for 70 years from creation or from first being made public.

Fair Dealing

Fair dealing of artistic works operates in a similar way to fair dealing of literary, dramatic and musical works, except in the area of reporting current events. That is unsubstantial amounts of artistic works may be copied for the purposes of non-commercial research, private study, criticism or review.

What counts as unsubstantial is debatable. Usually, it would count as a small amount but in some artistic works some small sections are more significant and therefore substantial than other sections. They way to test if a piece of a work is substantial is to imagine the work without that piece: if it would detract from the piece as a whole, then it is substantial. For example the smile on the Mona Lisa is around 1/300 of the picture but would be viewed as more substantial than 10% of the picture made up of only sky, landscape or clothing.

Fair dealing for Ordnance Survey Maps

  • Up to 4 copies of an A4 sized extract from an Ordnance Survey map may be made for research or private study purposes.

Fair dealing for Photographs

  • A single copy of an individual photograph is generally acceptable, but only for research and private study purposes
  • In the area of reporting current events, all types of artistic works may be used with the exception of photographs.
  • Taking photographs of an artistic work is an infringement of copyright, unless the work is an architectural or sculptural work or another type of work of artistic craftsmanship and is on permanent public display.

Fair dealing for Illustrations

  • Illustrations that form part of an article or an extract may be copied along with the article or extract, (i.e. not on its own), if its purpose is for research or private study.

Educational Copying

Educational copying for artistic works is similar to literary, dramatic and musical works. Copyrighted works may be copied by the instructor or student as long as a reprographic process is not used.

If an instructor was to photocopy multiple copies of a particular piece of artistic work for each student in the class, this would breach copyright rules.

Educational copying also allows copying copyright works for examination purposes.