What are These Rights in the Visual and Media Arts Sectors ?

Exhibition Right
This right is enshrined in Canada’s Copyright Act since June 1988. It allows an artist who has authorized a museum or an exhibition center to exhibit his works to request in return a monetary compensation for the time during which the works are not available for sale or other uses. If a work is exhibited in a private gallery for the purpose of selling or renting, the artist receives no royalties. CARFAC and RAAV publish annually a Minimum Fees Schedule establishing recommended monetary compensations for the public exhibition of works of art.

    NOTE: Many artists and professionals in the field of visual and media arts talk of “artist’s fee” or “exhibition fee”. The proper term to use is exhibition royalty because the payment an artist receives for exhibiting his/her work publicly derives from the Exhibition Right enshrined in the Copyright Act of Canada.

Reproduction Right
The most common way to exploit the Copyright on an artistic work is to reproduce it and sell these copies while retaining the original. Only the holder of the Copyright in a work may copy or reproduce his/her work or authorize someone else to do so. Artistic works can be reproduced in various ways and transposed on various material supports. For example, you can photograph a painting or an illustration and reproduce it on a poster, a garment or in a book that will be subsequently sold. One can also scan a work and save this virtual copy as a JPG, TIFF or PDF file. The digital copy can then be used in many ways: computer or cell phone screen, websites, social networks, etc.

Communication or Telecommunication Right
Communication Right deals with the presentation of a work publicly by means of telecommunication, whether on TV, in a movie or on a website.. For example, if you see a sculpture or an original vase created by a glass blower on TV or in a movie, the producer of the show or the movie had to ask the author for permission and pay for this use. The same principle applies for example for the costumes that the actors are wearing on a TV series or film, or the props they use as well as if a work is displayed in the home page of a museum’s website. The original creators must receive compensation for their works to be made public by telecommunication.

Moral Rights
Moral Rights are defined in the Copyright Act and are linked to the reputation of an author. One moral right is to have the author’s name associated with the works of art he/she has created; another is the right to have the integrity of their works respected. There is a violation of the right to integrity of a work when it is, in a manner prejudicial to the honour or reputation of the author, distorted, mutilated or otherwise modified.

Moral rights establish also that only the author can authorize the use of his/her work to promote a cause or sell a good or a service. Doing so without the permission of the author is allowing the public to believe that the author supports this cause or benefits from the sale of these goods or services. The author's reputation is tainted and he or she may request a withdrawal of the advertisement, public apology and monetary compensation for the misconduct.

In Canada, Moral Rights are inalienable but one may renounce the right to exercise them in exchange for financial compensation. An artist cannot sell Moral Rights outright to anyone else. At death, the Moral Rights are passed onto his or her estate. Waiving the exercise of these rights allows another person to modify all or part of the work, and to associate the work with a cause, a produce or a service. In Canada the duration of Moral Rights is the same as that of Copyright lasting up until 50 years after the author’s death.

Artist’s Resale Right
This right does not exist yet in Canada although more than 70 countries worldwide have already integrated it into their Copyright laws. The resale right allows an artist to claim a percentage of the resale price of his works. This is therefore a right that applies in the secondary market for works of art, where a collector or an art dealer sells a work he has in his possession. It does not apply during a first transfer of ownership between the artist or gallery and a purchaser.

RAAV and CARFAC have been working for several years to have the Artist Resale Right incorporated in the Copyright Act of Canada.