What is it, and why is it important from our perspective.
'World Book and Copyright Day is a celebration to promote the enjoyment of books and reading. [...] 23 April is a symbolic date in world literature. It is the date on which several prominent authors, William Shakespeare, Miguel de Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. This date was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books.'
As we start working with the medium of book and the people behind them, we want to talk about the most 'cliche', yet the most prevalent struggle shared between artists and authors: Copyright.
Copyright has become increasingly complicated in the digital age. If you're browsing the internet, it's not difficult to find texts or visuals being used without permission or crediting the original creator. While people are excited about the possibilities behind Chat GPT and AI art, their popularity reveals major concerns behind machine learning: behind the training of each AI model, the works from numerous creators are being used without consent. And, as it stands for now, creators can't do anything about it when an AI company takes their work to train AI, or when the AI model produces highly similar results to their original work.
While you automatically get copyright protection in the UK, it can still be difficult for a small creator to protect their work. Bigger companies can afford a team of Intellectual Property professionals to help them crack down on copyright infringement. Small independent creators simply won't have the money and energy to do so. Every time you see an uncredited work on your social media timeline, or when an AI produces something, there is a real possibility that a creator will lose money and struggle to make ends meet this month (which, FYI - the overall median hourly pay for a UK artist is £2.60 per hour).
We created our 'Make Your Own' series of events, as we want to make a platform where you can explore small creators and buy from them. Art doesn't have to be inaccessible: a small artist might be living on the same street as you, selling their beautiful and original work at an affordable price. If you wish to decorate your room, we believe you should visit the small artist instead of Amazon. Our next event, 'Make Your Own Book' will feature indie creators who are making incredible in-betweens of arts and books. We hope that by presenting this event, you can find the next thing in your room & reading list by people from the place you live in, at the place you live in.
While you will be able to find and purchase their indie creators at MYOB, we also encourage you to buy directly from them (e.g. order from their websites). We also encourage you to get in touch with them yourself - you don't need to be a wealthy art investor or a big publisher to contact a creator. If you'd like to buy something from a small artist you like, or just really love their work, email them and let them know. Even if it turns out that you can't afford to buy anything, they would still appreciate that someone enjoyed their work and made an effort to reach out.
Below is a list of MYOB creators and their websites (A-Z):
UNESCO. World Book and Copyright Day. https://www.unesco.org/en/days/world-book-and-copyright
The Verge. AI art tools Stable Diffusion and Midjourney targeted with copyright lawsuit. https://www.theverge.com/2023/1/16/23557098/generative-ai-art-copyright-legal-lawsuit-stable-diffusion-midjourney-deviantart
GOV.UK. How copyright protects your work. https://www.gov.uk/copyright
It's Nice That. Report reveals a median pay of £2.60 per hour for UK artists in public sector. https://www.itsnicethat.com/news/industria-a-n-the-artists-information-company-structurally-f-cked-creative-industry-170423