Friday, March 4, 2016

Freely Available Art Work for Educational Use Encouraged by Artist's Foundation

Another sign of the power of the digital age is that free, non-commercial use of an artist's images is being promoted by his foundation to further understanding of his work ("Rauschenberg Foundation Eases Copyright Restrictions on Art," The New York Times, February 26, 2016). The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation wants a prospective user to request high-resolution images from them, so the best depiction of the artist's work is "on display" with correct attribution. This new practice of the allowing free use of the artist's images will cost the foundation "nearly half its image-rights income which has been slightly more than $100,000 a year." But foundation executives believe that the deceased artist himself would want to foster scholarship with this new policy.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Do you applaud this foundation's new practice of promoting free use of Robert Rauschenberg's images for nonprofit use? Why or why not?
  2. Do you think if other artists followed the Rauschenberg Foundation in making images available for free nonprofit/educational use, that they would lament the fact that they are losing income? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think this action will make Rauschenberg's works more popular and in turn, encourage more for-profit use of his art?