visual artists beware. the national Gallery of Canada (NGC) may be trying to pilfer your work -- or so says Canadian Artists Representation (CARFAC), a nationwide artists collective.
Artists with works in the gallery's permanent collection have recently received letters from the NGC asking them to waive copyright fees and royalties for their work in return for $1. That $1, moreover, is deemed paid, meaning the artists don't actually get it, and the rights being asked for last for the artist's life, plus 50 years.
Gallery copyright chief Martha King says the rights being requested are for use of an artist's work for "non-commercial, non-profit purposes." King says the gallery also wants to be able to post work on digitized libraries currently being set up on the Internet.
That's where the copyright slope gets slippery, says CARFAC director Barbara Terfloth. What's to prevent someone, she asks, from downloading an image from the Internet and using it to produce postcards of an artist's work?
Adding insult to injury, says Terfloth, is the fact that galleries like the NGC have been getting federal grants to set up their digitized collections, and not a cent has gone to artists.
Nor are artists receiving any portion of the fees the NGC charges art faculties and universities across Canada for Internet access to its digitized catalogue of artists' works.
Terfloth calls the request "unethical" and insulting to artists, who to this day have to pay admission to get into the gallery.