Art is a human creation with a certain feeling of abstractness to it. It is a physical form of the artist's subjective mindset, idea, and perspective, which is shown to the public.
When you picture a work of art, what exactly appears on your mind? Perhaps a painting or a sculpture?
Art is flexible. Anything can be considered art as long as it fulfills a certain criteria. In all honesty, it depends on each individual. What may appear as a work of art to some may be seen as the total opposite by others.
What about artwork with extreme simplicity to it? For example, fruit placed in a particular position is then referred to as a work of art. Take, for instance, Comedian, an artwork created by Maurizio Cattelan and shown at Art Basel, Miami Beach, the United States, in 2019. It is a banana plastered onto the wall with duct tape. The artwork falls into the category of conceptual art.
In 2021, Joe Morford sued Cattelan for allegedly infringing his Copyright by creating Comedian. According to Morford, the artwork resembles his artwork by the name of Banana & Orange, which was publicized in 2000 (based on information found on the US Copyright Office Public Catalog).
In addition, public information regarding the artwork shows that publication was also made through YouTube in 2008 and Facebook in 2015. Morford registered his work with the US Copyright Office in 2020. The case is still ongoing in the United States District Court for The Southern District of Florida.
Conceptual art is a fascinating part of the world of art. Clearly, in the US, Comedian and Banana & Orange are considered Copyrighted works. Let's imagine for a second that those two artworks exist in Indonesia. Would they be copyrightable?
Artwork & Copyright
Art has the capability of evoking emotions from those looking. Technically, anything can be considered art if there is a unique or interesting point taken from it, either by looking at it or pondering it.
Conceptual art, in general, is a type of art that requires more perception and thought than regular works of art. This is because what is shown is difficult to understand with just a glance. It can be said that the meaning of a conceptual art has more importance than the art itself.
Conceptual art, like Comedian, may be very simple at first glance or even at second glance. For someone to group Comedian as a work of art, they must know that Cattelan meant it to be an artwork. Understanding Comedian as a work of art means comprehending the meaning behind it.
After knowing that the banana and duct tape is a unit that falls into the category of conceptual art and knowing Maurizio Cattelan as an artist who often produces unique works, it is not difficult for those who see Comedian to categorize the work as a form of art.
Artwork is a form of creation that is protected by Copyright. If we look at Article 40 paragraph (1) of Law Number 28 of 2014 concerning Copyright (UUHC), the protected works are as follows:
As seen from the Article written above, all forms of artwork are protected by Copyright. The Article also mentions several examples of artwork, such as paintings, drawings, carvings, calligraphy, sculptures, or collages.
Conceptual art like Comedian and Banana & Orange falls into the category of collages. How come? Let us take a look at the Explanation Section of the Copyright Law. It defines collages as:
“An artistic composition made from various materials, such as cloth, paper, or wood affixed to the surface of a sketch or work media.”
Through that definition, it is safe to assume that if Comedian or Banana & Orange were to be publicized in Indonesia, it would obtain Copyright.
Art is the result of the creator's thoughts and emotions that are realized to be enjoyed personally or together with other parties. Something that can evoke emotions in the viewer can be categorized as a work of art. Each individual has a different point of appreciation. Therefore unique works of art such as conceptual art, no matter how strange they are, still fall into the art category. Copyright follows the emergence of works of art, but do not forget the process of recording them with DGIP to strengthen their position in the eyes of the law. This recordation will significantly help you in the future, should there be any legal problem.
If you, or anyone you know, has created or is planning on creating a unique work of art, be sure to add extra protection by recording it with DGIP. Any further inquiries you need in connection to IP issues, you can ask us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.