Different Point of View on the Copyright of Artwork Between Artist and Engineer


Session Title:

  • Creative Industries

Presentation Title:

  • Different Point of View on the Copyright of Artwork Between Artist and Engineer




  • I am a member of Media art group called PERFORMATIVE. In this group, people from different fields such as liberal arts, science and art together study and produce art works based on technology. As an engineer, I have been taking charge of technical part in collaboration with performers, video artists, and fine artists.

    It is a very interesting process of art works by discussing with them and using various technological elements. However, it is not easy to determine who has the copyright of produced art works.

    In 2009, PERFORMATIVE worked on Media Façade Project at Seoul Museum of Art with a team of two artists. The motive of the art work was suggested by them and we focused on the technical part of the project. The project was successful and favorably reviewed by the press and public.

    After the exhibition, the artists themselves tried to re-promote the project for another exhibition, but they had a different opinion with us. They insisted that they have the ownership of the art work because other engineers could participate and produce the same output for another exhibition. On the other hand, in our opinion, the art work should be owned by both artists and engineers as the project was progressed together from the beginning.

    The problem is this. It happens frequently in Korea. Does engineer have any rights of artwork which was made in collaboration with artists? Could the artists reproduce the same work with other engineers without restraint? On the contrary, what happens the engineers do the same thing in the art works? For example, video on the same technology they created?

    Recently, collaboration between the artists and engineers is very common in media art works, and they may think differently on the ownership and right of the produced work. The copyright of the art work will be more important issue as the collaboration between different fields will be increased. I think general interpretation of the copyright may not solve this complex problem. Therefore, I’d like to propose that we should understand the situation and think of the best alternatives on this issue.

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