OTTAWA, ON.- The National Gallery of Canada
(NGC) wishes to clarify its position regarding the December 2, 2009 statement by The Canadian Artists Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens (CARFAC) and le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec (RAAV).
Canadian artists are directly protected by two areas of legislation: the Status of the Artist Act, 1992, c.33 and the Copyright Act, C-42. The first legislation oversees professional relations and compensation for artists services, such as mounting art installations, giving lectures and tours, attending media events, etc. On the other hand, the Copyright Act is a property right legislation that includes governing the use of artworks either on display or in reproduction situations.
The NGC is currently negotiating with CARFAC/RAAV under the Status of the Artist Act. CARFAC/RAAV are legally authorized to represent all living Canadian artists under the Status of the Artist Act without further authorization from individual artists. The NGC looks forward to defining acceptable terms of engagement in the first-ever collective agreement of its kind for the visual arts. The NGC has paid artists for their professional time in association with the NGCs activities for over twenty years and is pleased to formalize these practices and provide leadership in this area.
The NGC conforms fully and proactively with the copyright legislation and is vigilant in its defence of the rights of the artist and copyright holder to negotiate with the NGC and other users on matters covered by the Copyright Act. The NGC has contractual understandings in place with artists, copyright collectives, and artists estates on works in its collections and negotiates long-term and short-term licences for the use of artworks in all situations. The NGC is aware of the significance of compromising the legal rights of copyright holders by negotiating these issues inappropriately and is mindful of similar concerns by Canadian art museums across the country. CARFAC/RAAV are not copyright collectives and any commitment with them on these matters may negate the individual rights of artists and collectives.
The breakdown in negotiations with the CARFAC/RAAV under the Status of the Artist Act results from CARFAC/RAAVs interest in concluding agreement on copyright issues outside the boundaries of their certification. The NGC is fully prepared and very committed to resolving the important issues, including terms of professional engagement and services, which are covered by the Status of the Artist Act.
The NGC has long played a leadership role in encouraging and protecting living artistic culture in Canada but it cannot do so outside the Canadian laws and of the long-established regulation process regarding property and copyright.
Mediation was proposed by the NGC in an effort to finally conclude an agreement. On the first day of the mediation process, CARFAC/RAAV put an end to the discussions and announced that they were reviving a complaint they had filed at the Canadian Artists and Producers Professional Relations Tribunal (CAPPRT) in early 2008.
So far, CARFAC/RAAV has not responded to the NGCs invitation to resume discussions on all outstanding issues.
The NGC reaffirms its dedication to conclude a collective agreement by way of negotiation and mediation.