Artistic works

Overview

Copyright applies to all works of an artistic nature including, but not limited to, photographs, paintings, sculptures, maps, charts, graphs, diagrams, cartoons (static not moving animations), logos, engravings, sketches, blueprints and buildings or models of buildings. Protection is also given to works of artistic craftsmanship which can include crafts, embroidery, ceramics, woodworking and jewellery.

Using artistic works

You can use an artistic work for certain purposes such as educational use, research or study or criticism or review. For more information see using copyright material.

You must properly acknowledge any artistic work that you use.

Ownership

Physical ownership is different to copyright ownership. Copyright is generally owned by the artist or creator of the work, but it can vary depending on factors such as employment or licensing agreements - see physical and copyright ownership for more information. When you purchase an original artwork, you will only own copyright if there is an agreement to that effect.

If a photograph, portrait or engraving is commissioned for a fee, then the person commissioning the work will own copyright unless an agreement is made.

Rights of copyright owners

Copyright owners of artistic works hold the right to reproduce, publish, communicate or broadcast their works. There is no right 'to perform' artistic works, you do not need permission to exhibit an artistic work if the copyright owner has already made it publicly available.

For more information see rights of copyright owners.

Duration of copyright

Artistic works

ABCDE
Published or made publicly available during the artist's lifetime Published or made publicly available after the artist's death Created anonymously or under a pseudonym Copyright expired if... Unpublished works*
Life of the artist + 70 years.
70 years from the end of the year the work was first published or made publicly available. Artist died before 1 January 1955.
An anonymous or pseudonymous work was published or made public before 1 January 1955
As of 1 January 2019, the duration of copyright will be the same for both published and unpublished works.

Works made for, or first published by a government, or in which copyright is owned by a government, lasts for 50 years from the end of the year of first publication.

Engravings

ABCDE
Published or made publicly available during the artist's lifetime Published or made publicly available after the artist's death Created anonymously or under a pseudonym Copyright expired if... Unpublished works*
Life of the engraver + 70 years. 70 years from the end of the year the work was first published or made publicly available. Work published in the engravers' lifetime and the they died before 1 January 1955.
— or —
Work not published during engravers' lifetime but published before 1 January 1955;.
— or —
An anonymous or pseudonymous work was published or made public before 1 January 1955
As of 1 January 2019, the duration of copyright will be the same for both published and unpublished works.

Photographs

ABCD
Published & unpublished (except for C) Published anonymously or under a pseudonym Copyright expired if...
Life of the photographer + 70 years. 70 years from the end of the year the work was first published or made publicly available. Taken before 1 January 1955

Copyright in photographs made for, or first published by a government, or in which copyright is owned by a government, lasts for 50 years from the end of the year of first publication.

Photographing a building

Buildings themselves are not subject to copyright but the design of a building is. You can photograph a building without needing permission from the copyright owner but the property owner may impose restrictions on access to the building. Any restrictions should be identified and clearance in writing obtained before entering. The resulting photograph of the building is a separate work and will be protected by copyright. Photographs of buildings should acknowledge the creator of the building, in accordance with the requirements of moral rights.

Works made for, or first published by a government, or in which copyright is owned by a government, lasts for 50 years from the end of the year of first publication.

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