The time dilemma and the publication date

When is an Artwork born? When it's the "birthdate" established? When it is "made public". At least, this is what the Berne Convention says. We are talking about a treaty that offers natural protection of author's rights from the birth of the Artwork, signed in 1978. But what does this mean in the digital age?

It used to be easier in the past. The artist asked the Artwork to be published on a magazine, or provided the record company with the track, and once this became physically available for purchase, it was simple to saying it was "made public". But in the past few years, everything became a lot more complicated.

An artwork can be made immediately public all over the world in a few moments thanks to social media, radically changing the meaning of "birth". A track can be composed, mixed and made available for download in a few days, if not hours. A book can be finished, laid out and sent for printing to a website that will immediately make it available for download in digital format.

But Internet is not the only dangerous point under this aspect: let's think of the "demo" tracks that are sent to record companies (on CDs or via e-mail). And then they reject the track, but then take ownership of the track. Unfortunately, these are real cases we've been told about.

We already talked about how Internet made it easier for people to share, but the available tools do not seem to be many. How do we establish the "birthdate" of a digital artwork?

In Rights Chain, this is the first point we took care of, creating the functionalities that allow Artists to register their Artworks in the easiest way possible. For instance, they have the opportunity to associate their works with a Creative Commons licence, and a link to view the conditions to use that Artwork.

With this first step, already available for the artists that subscribe to our service, illustrators and photographers can register their Artworks by attributing to them a birth certificate including the name (or pseudonym) of the Author, and the date when it was registered within the system.

Want to know more?

  1. Sharing with care (from our blog)
  2. The uncontrolled moderation of social media (from our blog)
  3. What we don't read in the terms and conditions of websites (from our blog)
  4. Full text of the current version of the Berne Convention
  5. Money Laundering Via Author Impersonation on Amazon?
  6. Google's Image Search Attempts to Reduce Copyright Infringement

About the Author

Sebastian Zdrojewski

Sebastian Zdrojewski

Founder, (He/Him)

Worked for 25 years in the IT industry facing cyber security, privacy and data protection problems for businesses. In 2017 founds Rights Chain, a project aiming to provide resources and tools for copyright and intellectual property protection for Content Creators, Artists and Businesses.