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To copy or not to copy – copyright law

To copy or not to copy? That is a question many new artists may ask. Lets talk about copyright law in South Africa.

Some are under the impression that because photographs of artworks is visible online or somewhere displayed that they can copy it. Or even worse copy and sell the original artwork as their own.

In a nutshell. Copyright stays with the original artist and are not transferred when artwork is sold. Only the original artist has the right to copy (or make prints) of his artwork in any form. The copyright will still be applicable up until 50 years after the artist’s death.

For a clearly stipulated and detailed explanation of copyright laws in South Africa please visit VANSA (Visual Arts Network of South Africa) to learn more.

Copyright infringement is serious. Criminal charges will be made against you.

So to answer the question to copy or not to copy. Make sure you know the law. Make sure you don’t use what does not belong to you. If unsure, then rather ask.

Artists spend countless hours creating their artworks. Sales from their artworks is what puts food on their table. They pour their hearts in their work. Do the right thing!

Article by Maryna Moolman


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