Code of Practice for New Zealand artists to be unveiled

29 August 2005, New Zealand

Industry body Artists Alliance is preparing to launch a new Code of Practice that ‘aims to build consistent, ethical practice among artists, dealers and gallery operators.’ Development of the Code follows an increase in the numbers of copyright infringements against artists. The Code of Practice was developed in consultation with the Contemporary Fine Art Dealers Association (CFADA), and will be launched at the Auckland Art Fair on 2 September. Said Artists Alliance Executive Director Maggie Gresson: “This year has seen a groundswell of unethical and illegal practices by artists, galleries and businesses who seek to profit by copying artists' ideas. It is shattering to the artist whose work gets copied. It can sully their reputation and that of the art sector in general." “The infringer is trading off the excellent reputation that artists have worked hard to establish and it may also cause confusion in the marketplace over whose work they are looking at and buying.” Ms Gresson added that the Code of Practice will set professional practice guidelines for both artists and dealers. Dr Owen Morgan, a specialist in Intellectual Property Law, has offered support for the introduction of the Code of Practice. “It’s important for at least two reasons,' he says. "Firstly, it raises the profile of artists and their rights and secondly, it has been developed after consultation with the dealers’ association and therefore has credibility." Both agree that the next step in the fight against the theft of artists’ intellectual property is the establishment of an ArtsLaw Service. “It is intended that in the first instance an ArtsLaw Service would take a ‘preventative medicine’ approach, supplying artists as well as dealers and people who commission artworks with copyright and contract information at the beginning of a project,” says Ms Gresson. “That way, there is less likelihood of things going wrong and requiring expensive legal attention.” Artists Alliance is a membership-based organisation, funded by Creative New Zealand, which serves to represent and advance the professional interests of New Zealand’s visual artists. To view the Artists Alliance website, CLICK HERE. For further information, CLICK HERE.