It is important for artists to understand the concept of Fair Use so that instead of being intimidated by copyright law, they are inspired by the use of found materials. The concept of Fair Use has a long history and is intended to advance and stimulate creativity. When you use copyrighted material in your work, the finished product must be transformative.
Transformative means that the original use, purpose, or intent of the material has been changed significantly into something substantially different in both appearance and objective. In my work shown here (as an example), the sculpture titled, 3M & m Candy Dispenser, the original tin can packaging for 3M Scotch tape, electrical tape, Scotchgard, and Spray Mount have been re-purposed into a candy dispenser as a pun on the words 3M and m & m candies.
Another example of transformative work is shown (below) from Emiko Oye. On the left are two views of an original Boucheron Necklace designed for Maharajah of Patiela (circa 1928).
On the right, Ms. Oye has recreated the design in LEGOs. She has transformed the original design and made it in her own style. In addition, the LEGOs themselves have been transformed beyond a children's toy into social commentary and a unique appearance.
Further examples of Fair Use under Copyright Law will be continued in the next posts including important points for jewelry artists to consider.
Harriete Estel Berman
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This post was updated on December 20, 2021