Hey guys talk to me, Josh Rickun, about intellectual property
Here's what seems like a tricky one to me, all hypothetical. Let's say a friend of mine spent the last two years volunteering in a glorious print shop in a non-profit museum in exchange for use of the lab. The museum has told all volunteers they are no longer welcome but still wants to display all the posters printed there over the years to the public to make the lab look good and show what it's capable of. In a visibly symbolic act and to just be petty, the artists would like to take their posters down but the museum says they are theirs to do with what they want bc they were printed in their space on their tables. The question is, do the artists have the power to say the content of the posters is their intellectual property and they do not give the museum the right or permission to display their intellectual property? If so, does anybody have any good examples of the proper language to use in a letter?
Perturbed Milwaukee Serigrapher
'the artist' could try, but I don't think they would have much luck. I'm no lawyer and the customs of your USA are strange, but all that Disco World is guilty of here is being a dick.
The best would be to go above the head of the person who has fucked it up and said the posters are theirs to keep and display, and appeal to their sense of fair play to do the right thing - they don't want the volunteers (the lifeblood of the programming, as far as I could see) then don't use their work to promote the lab. Give the board a chance to correct the situation, with a timeline.
After that, the court of public opinion? A couple of good letters to the editor can sometimes do more than an army of lawyers.
I always assumed that an artist owns their intellectual property until they give it away. explicitly. in writing. no one else should be able to just claim it without any sort of contract.
This is the case. IF papers were signed THEN the museum has a claim. GOTO lawyers.
This is counter productive by both parties IMO. Artists typically try very hard to get into museums permanent collections, it looks good on a CV. Museums usually try to avoid conflict that alienates and p.o.s the local artist community.
It's a hands on science museum, really cool facility and concept and they haven't done anything wrong in my eyes and I can see where they're coming from. It's like this, little friends of printmaking were hired to build a bomb ass lab and work as educators, they're stifled and have to fight for every inch at every turn an end up quitting. Lab sits empty for 5 years collecting dust. Their AV guy starts teaching himself how to print and convinces the directors to allow him to get an intern to help him out. That intern is me, over time I get the lab in order and working consistently and teach properish practices to keep things running smoothly and not destroy equipment - I do this in exchange for use of the lab. As a result of this deal, they're able to teach classes and summer camps and workshops for kids and bring in money for the first time ever and attract more volunteers for more free work to keep the lab making the museum money, everyone is happy, except for one director who is rarely happy. Andy MacDougall comes and teaches a class, the promo wasn't great, but everyone in attendance learned a ton in a short period of time. Summer is filled every day with cool projects, kids printing on guitars and skateboards. The AV guy who was the buffer between volunteers and the director quit after years of abuse and getting an awesome job designing and making plush mascots. They hire a print lab coordinator, a nice kid who can be told what to do, and have me train her on how to use the equipment - she also reads Andy's book regularily as it is permanently next to her toilet. In the past few days the volunteers have been told we are "not wanted there" with the reason being that what we bring to the lab isn't worth occasional access to it. I get it on some level, but understand it as a reoccurring blow to the local artist community. In the two yet I've been involved there, I've seen countless talented creatives come in and leaving because thu are being used and treated poorly. Having my work up not only doesn't do me any favors or get me any jobs, it shows I am in support of an institution which habitually craps on the local arts community. It's a wall full of posters designed by great artists for well known bands and cool venues which all make the museum look like a cool place. So as someone who would rather advise any local artist not to get involved with them, I'd rather not give permission to use anything I've designed to make it seem like an appealing opportunity.
Well, it sounds like you are within your legal rights to claim your work. If the work was done as an open community lab they have no legal ground to stop artist from claiming their work. I am sure you can look through your state's laws and find a very specific bylaw to this effect. I know we have one here.
Also the fact that they did not pay you for your services furthers your legal claim.
Last edited by squeegeethree; 11-08-2013 at 03:49 PM.
i would think you'd have a pretty strong case, since you didn't sign your work over to them. if you didn't sign anything, i don't see how it could become something used as advertisement. or if the work isn't behind glass, i'd just walk in and take it down. or hire protesters on craigslist and have em wear sandwhich boards boycotting the museum.