Permissions, A Survival Guide: Blunt Talk about Art as Intellectual Property

Paperback | June 23, 2006

bySusan M. Bielstein

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If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it's a good bet that at least half of those words relate to the picture's copyright status. Art historians, artists, and anyone who wants to use the images of others will find themselves awash in byzantine legal terms, constantly evolving copyright law, varying interpretations by museums and estates, and despair over the complexity of the whole situation. Here, on a white—not a high—horse, Susan Bielstein offers her decades of experience as an editor working with illustrated books. In doing so, she unsnarls the threads of permissions that have ensnared scholars, critics, and artists for years.

Organized as a series of “takes” that range from short sidebars to extended discussions, Permissions, A Survival Guide explores intellectual property law as it pertains to visual imagery. How can you determine whether an artwork is copyrighted? How do you procure a high-quality reproduction of an image? What does “fair use” really mean? Is it ever legitimate to use the work of an artist without permission? Bielstein discusses the many uncertainties that plague writers who work with images in this highly visual age, and she does so based on her years navigating precisely these issues. As an editor who has hired a photographer to shoot an incredibly obscure work in the Italian mountains (a plan that backfired hilariously), who has tried to reason with artists' estates in languages she doesn't speak, and who has spent her time in the archival trenches, she offers a snappy and humane guide to this difficult terrain.

Filled with anecdotes, asides, and real courage, Permissions, A Survival Guide is a unique handbook that anyone working in the visual arts will find invaluable, if not indispensable.

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From the Publisher

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it's a good bet that at least half of those words relate to the picture's copyright status. Art historians, artists, and anyone who wants to use the images of others will find themselves awash in byzantine legal terms, constantly evolving copyright law, varying interpretations by museums and...

Susan M. Bielstein is executive editor for art, architecture, classical studies, and film at the University of Chicago Press and a trustee of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. She has lectured widely on publishing issues and has taught graduate and postdoctoral writing workshops at numerous universities.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:188 pages, 8 × 5.5 × 0.7 inPublished:June 23, 2006Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226046389

ISBN - 13:9780226046389

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1. Permissions, A Love Story
2. An Admission
3. Bleeding Dollars and Euros and Pounds and Yen
4. What Is Copyright?
5. The Copy Trade and the Public Domain
6. The Forbidden Image: Museums and an Empire of Signs
Sidebar: Artists' Moral Rights
Sidebar: Copyrighting Architecture
7. Those Toes: Privacy Woes and the Duchess of York
Sidebar: Events and Performances
8. Monks in Faraway Places, or Latin Lives!
9. Fair Use
10. Doing and Saying Whatever It Takes in the Name of Scholarship
11. A Society of Ownership: See America
12. A Supplicant's Manifesto
13. What Did It Cost? A Summary of Fees for This Book
Sample Copyright Permission Letter
Sample Use Permission Letter
Sample Permissions Log and Summary
Sources: Image Banks and Artists Rights Organizations
Further Reading
Index