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Academic Writers Get Fair-Use Friendly Contracts

Art Journals

The fair-use movement in academic publishing just got a huge boost. The College Art Association (CAA), which sponsored the creation of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts, has changed authors’ agreements for its prestigious academic journals.

In the old days, as in most academic publishing, authors had to show that they received permission to use all illustrations. In art scholarship, this requirement could mean delays, high costs, and even result in censorship by estates protective of an artist’s image.

 CAA’s new contracts, by contrast, encourage scholars and artists contributing to its journals to employ fair use for third-party works in copyright (such as images and quoted text) according to the principles and limitations outlined in CAA’s Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts. “By adhering to the principles of fair use in this new policy, CAA leads the way for other scholarly publications and presses to similarly embrace the doctrine of fair use,” said executive director Linda Downs. “CAA is enormously proud to be a leader in the reliance on fair use in its publications.

The journals affected are Art Bulletin, Art Journal, and caa.review. In its new author agreements, CAA states that after careful review of the Code the author must determine whether or not fair use may be invoked. If an author decides it is, CAA will publish without requiring permission. As well, the author need not indemnify CAA for claims of copyright infringement with respect to the use of a third-party work which he or she has determined is a fair use. The author’s signature on the document certifies that she or he has read the Code and considered the limitations of fair use as outlined in an addendum to the agreement. Authors will still need to obtain permission for third-party works that are not employed under fair use.


Samples of the new contracts will be available soon on the CAA website.