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Thursday, 1 April 2004

TRACEY EMIN UNCOVERED IN COPYRIGHT CONUNDRUM

The BBC reports on a dispute taking place between the artist Tracey Emin and an inner-London school. Ms Emin worked with the pupils of Eccelsbourne School in Islington in 2000 as part of the Art in Sacred Places project. Taking as her theme the title "Tell me something beautiful", she instructed the eight-year-olds involved to nominate their ideas of beauty and then to sew the keywords in felt letters on bright fabric squares which were joined to make a quilt. Now however the school is seeking to sell the quilt because it cannot afford the £4,000 needed to purchase a case to display it in and the proceeds would make a welcome addition to the school budget. However, Emin objects to the sale of the quilt and is seeking to have it returned to her. She has said that she will not authenticate it if it is sold, which will reduce its value.

From the IPKat’s point of view, there are potentially some tricky joint authorship issues involved and he would advise any organisation embarking on such a project to contractually lay our who has the rights to sell the resultant work in advance. He’s also a bit puzzled by the idea of Ms Emin not “authenticating” the work. Unlike France, in this country authors do not have a moral right to disclaim authorship of their works. In any event, the publicity resulting from her opposition to the sale will ensure that everyone knows that she was involved with the creation of the work.

Tracey Emin’s bed here
Tracey Emin’s quilts here and here
Quilting with children here
Quilting history here
Crazy quilts here

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