When art and digital meet each other (3/3)

Previously, we’ve seen the different technologies attached to digital art : interaction, motion capture, augmented reality and 3D-printing. In this last part, let’s talk about the legal framework around digital art and especially copyright.


Source : http://delimiter.com.au/2012/04/05/australia-to-review-digital-sections-of-copyright-act/

Authors and works can benefit from protection under French law. In a world where counterfeiting proliferates, it is essential to have an appropriate legal framework, although as soon as we dabble the digital area, things get complicated.

Copyright and digital art.

In France, every author or artist enjoys protection since the creation of his work which is called copyright or intellectual property rights in literary and artistic property. The principle is simple : copyright emerges with the creation. To this special right, other rights are applicable : right of authorship, the right to disclosure, the right to integrity of the work and the right to withdraw. All of these rights compose the moral rights, which are inalienable and perpetual. Then we can add the property rights : right of reproduction, right of representation and right of adaptation. These rights are assignable, time-limited and enter in the public domain in theory 70 years following the author’s death.

Copyright on the softwares.

In France, softwares are protected by copyright. Elements that can be protected are : preparatory design material, program (source code and object code of the software), user documentation and screen page. About the property rights, we can notice three prerogatives : right of reproduction (to protect the work against permanent or temporary reproduction of a software), right of modification (to allow or not translation, adaptation or any other software modification) and the right to place the software on the market (whether it’s for sale or free of charge). In addition, the author of the software disposes of two moral rights : right to a name and the right of disclosure.

Special case of 3D-printing

A printed object is protected by copyright if the original object is free from all rights. On the contrary, if the original object is indeed covered by copyright, there are two possibilities : the 3D-printer is in a private accomodation and not subject to collective use, or the machine stands in a professional environment such as a company. In the first case, without permission by the author to make a copy, the Intellectual Property Code provides an exception for “private copying”. In the second case, without the author’s permission, there is no exception. Moreover, the design law is applicable, with the same distinction between private and professional environment.


IMG-20140310-WA0002Mathilde FRAIN

Etudiante en Master 2 Commerce Electronique à l’Université de Strasbourg, adepte des nouvelles technologies et du monde numérique.

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