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Guide to Copyright, Helping Artists Avoid Infringement

Understanding copyright can be tricky for artists. That's why Axis commissioned intellectual property and copyright experts at Browne Jacobson - Giles Parsons, Bonita Trimmer, and Hayley Smith to create a video guide to copyright. 

This guide, made in 2023, breaks down UK copyright laws to help you create and share your work without worry. Dive into this essential resource and feel confident about your rights and how to protect your art.

Did You Know?

  • Every Time You Digitise: Uploading or digitising your work counts as creating a new copy. If it's accessible online, it might be considered as sharing it with the public.
  • Originality is Key: For a piece to be copyright protected in the UK, it just needs to be original. No need to register or apply for it.
  • Who Owns It?: If you create art outside of work / commission, you own the copyright. But, if it's part of your job or a commission, the employer / commissioner might own it.
  • Careful with Photos: Just because you created the artwork doesn't mean you own the copyright to all photos of it. If someone else snaps a picture, they might own that copyright.
  • Duration Matters: Copyright in artistic works lasts for the creator's lifetime plus 70 years. Photographs have their own rules but generally follow this timeframe too.
  • Misinformation Abounds: There are many myths about copyright. For example, changing an artwork a certain amount doesn’t automatically avoid infringement.
  • Fair Use? Think Again: The UK's concept of "fair dealing" is much more limited than the US's "fair use". Don't assume you can use copyrighted material freely.
  • Get It in Writing: If you're using someone else's work, or if someone photographs your work, make sure you have the proper permissions and licenses in writing.

Watch our Guide to Copyright for Artists


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