From art to ad — the moral, legal and aesthetic consequences of a current trend

22 Sep 2009

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London College of Communication

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 1, 12, 35, 40, 45, 53, 63, 68, 100, 133, 148, 155, 168, 171, 172, 176, 188, 322, 333, 343, 344, 360, 363, 453, C10, P5
  • Bakerloo and Northern line
  • Thameslink to Elephant & Castle

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A trend has emerged for existing artwork to be re-used or used as inspiration to communicate ideas commercially. This has perhaps been encouraged by social networking and file-sharing sites such as YouTube and Flickr. Whilst some artists find these tools can be used effectively to raise their profile, they may also leave themselves vulnerable to having their creative work copied. For example, independent film makers use such sites to access new audiences and promote their ideas and films. However, by doing so they also leave their work open to those in advertising who sometimes use sources such as YouTube for inspiration or to find existing artistic ideas which they can utilise to communicate a commercial message. Legally, there is a fine line between copying and being inspired by other people's ideas but such practice also raises moral and aesthetic questions. Own-it has invited a panel of experts from both the advertising and film-making industries to discuss inspiration, copyright issues and the use of tools such as internet sites to promote creative work. Speakers include: Eliza Williams (chair), senior writer for Creative Review magazine. She also regularly contributes to other publications including Frieze and Art Monthly. Tom Cowling, partner in Swan Turton's Litigation and Advertising & Marketing Groups and adviser to a broad range of corporate and individual clients. Tom is an active member of Adlaw International, a global network of specialist advertising lawyers. Johnny Hardstaff, a director and designer, he has directed and designed innovative moving image work across a broad spectrum of both commercial and non-commercial strands of the visual arts. Mass media clients include Sony, Radiohead, Orange, Toshiba, Sony PlayStation and the BBC amongst others. Other speakers to be confirmed. Admission is free, however places are limited. To reserve your place you must register and book online at:

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