Using books for an art installation

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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xtinae1
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Using books for an art installation

Post by xtinae1 » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:32 pm

Hi there, I think I'm a bit lost in this grey area and would really appreciate your help.

We aim to produce an art installation (kind of like a sculpture of stacked books) using approx. 25-50 books from a number of female authors. This installation will be mounted on the wall and displayed in a private (academic) building. This is not for a temporary exhibition, it is decorative and put together by interior designers so no one is claiming authorship over the piece. The books will be fixed in place, we can't claim that they are there for students to borrow.

Do we need to obtain copyright licenses for each of the books most are not in the public domain)? It seems far fetched to me, but because this is for an academic institution we need to be compliant and do our due diligence.

It has also been suggested that we create dust covers with the title and author and wrap then around the books (most are leather bound and we would like a more colourful piece). Do we need to obtain special permissions to create our own dust covers using the name of the book and author?

Any information you can provide would be extremely appreciated.

ATMOSBOB
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Re: Using books for an art installation

Post by ATMOSBOB » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:03 pm

If you are mounting them on a wall they will not be read so I would have thought that you do not need to ask permission of the author. However the covers would be a different matter and I would ask permission of the publishers to use the cover artwork in this way. I cannot see any reason for them to refuse.

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AndyJ
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Re: Using books for an art installation

Post by AndyJ » Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:16 pm

Hi xtinae1

There is no copyright in the titles of books or the authors' names, so creating your own dust jackets would not infringe any copyright. You may find that there is a copyright notice inside some or all of the books which states that the partcular book is sold on the condition that it is not re-sold or lent out in a diffrent cover to the one it was issued with, but since you do not intend to sell or lend the books which form part of this installation, that can be ignored.

On the wider issue of using the books in the way you propose, there are no copyright implications in this, since nothing is being copied and you are not making the works available to the public in the way which the law restricts that activity.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

ATMOSBOB
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Re: Using books for an art installation

Post by ATMOSBOB » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:11 pm

There is no copyright in the titles of books or the authors' names, so creating your own dust jackets would not infringe any copyright.

I have just remembered that some authors are now trademarking their titles or sub-titles. Would that not cause a small problem?

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AndyJ
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Re: Using books for an art installation

Post by AndyJ » Thu Jan 17, 2019 1:49 pm

Hi ATMOSBOB,
No there's no problem with trade marks in the context of the OP's project. Trade marks can only be infringed if they are used in the course of trade, and an art installation obviously isn't in the course of trade.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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