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Last week, we attended the Arts and Law Conference, held by Visiting Arts. This focused on the legal challenges arts organisations and artists face, particularly in the context of intellectual property and working internationally.
Discussions focused around the following three issues:
First, artists knowing their legal rights.
Leading this discussion, two expert lawyers spoke on the importance of copyright and intellectual property. This acted as a familiar reminder that one of the downsides of the digital age being the ease by which artwork can be re-appropriated or stolen. It was stressed that it’s essential for artists to be clear on their legal rights, with ambassadors from the ACP Cultures programme highlighting how this is made even more difficult in developing countries within Africa, where there is a lack of any real copyright framework.
Second, adhering to cultural and linguistic differences.
Independent producer, Jo Crowley offered insight on the legal challenges of international collaboration. As well as misunderstandings in multi-lingual contracts, she spoke on the importance of cultural sensitivity, in both the business world and in artistic works. This was seen particularly essential in countries with censorship laws.
Third, prepare for unexpected success.
A key message from all speakers was the need to include provisions for positive outcomes in contracts. One such example was 1927’s hit opera production of The Magic Flute. Though licensed to be reproduced by partners abroad, the original team weren’t able to control quality or tour locations, as they hadn’t anticipated this in their contracts. This had a knock-on effect in other international partnerships.
It’s clear that as international opportunities for the arts develop, legal challenges will continue to crop up. In response to this, we are currently working on the China Digital Copyright Exchange; an initiative to simplify how copyright material is licensed. Collaborating on these issues helps creative industries internationally, protecting their rights and helping them earn from their artwork in other markets.
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By BOP Consulting
Callum leads the BOP team, its portfolio and strategic partnerships. His cultural and creative industries expertise is founded on leading analytical research and policy formulation in the UK and internationally.
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