7 Dec 2017

IGIR lunch seminar by Zoë Miller

On December 7th at 12:30, Zoë Miller will present some of the findings of her PhD research on the copyright considerations for the conservation of contemporary art. Feel warmly invited to join the discussion in room B1.019.

The variability, ephemerality, and contingency of contemporary artworks presents challenges to established practices of conservation, and requires a reconsideration of the questions and issues that conservation research addresses, resulting in an expansion of the nature of research, the extension of research networks, and the alteration of established roles in the conservation of contemporary art. This dissertation surveys authorship, ownership, and control in this field of research and practice, examining the legal and ethical environment of conservation research, presenting the complexity of the intersecting systems which address the custodianship and care of artworks, the rights of their creators, conservators and researchers, and exploring the extent to which these conditions vary between jurisdictions. A primary objective of the dissertation is to provide clarity regarding the application of laws to conservation research practice.

Comparing the approaches taken in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and the United States, this presentation considers the intellectual property rights of creators of contemporary artworks, and the different ways in which they can exercise ongoing control over their works, examining both economic rights and moral rights protections.  This analysis is complicated by the uneasy relationship between intellectual property law and contemporary artistic practice, and the divergent approaches taken to copyright subject matter in these different jurisdictions. 

This discussion considers several issues, including the overlap in substantive protection between the economic right of adaptation and the moral right of integrity, how the right of integrity may allow for effective protection of works that extends beyond the boundaries of the copyright object, how the integrity right might be interpreted in its application to ephemeral or variable artworks, and whether moral rights law in effect imposes a duty of consultation for conservators.  

This PhD project forms part of the New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art (NACCA) research consortium, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network Project.