Surfacing Connections: Ownership Rights and Open Data

Workshop - register now

Wednesday, April 01, 2020: 1:30pm - 4:30pm -

Rachel Wright, CultureTech, USA, Stan Sater, Founders Legal | Bekiares Eliezer LLP, USA, Ron Gard, Tulane University, USA

When releasing open data about their permanent collections, museums create transparency around the vast number of objects that they own and preserve. With information about millions of objects now available, combining these open data sets will represent one of the world’s largest sources of art ownership records. New information will surface to speed research and access, including insights about the breadth of an artist’s work, as well as connections between objects, private collectors and cultural heritage institutions.

When combining these records, consideration is required around a secondary issue: the intellectual property inherent in works of art, including copyright and moral rights. With findings from the CultureTech initiative to combine data from more than twenty museums, we will explore issues that arise in combining, augmenting and sharing ownership information, along with methods for verifying information and sources to build trust in shared data.

A Conversation on Art, Museums, and Blockchain
Tulane Journal of Technology & Intellectual Property, Vol. 21, No. 35, 2019

Stan Sater
Tulane University, Law School, Students

Rachel Wright

Date Written: June 19, 2019

Museums are places that bring people together from all walks of life to explore, consume, and interact with all types of curated art. These interactions don’t always take place within the walls of a museum. Instead, people may access art and exhibitions through other mediums, such as the Internet, via publications and consumer products. Museums extend their reach with licenses that grant the right to reproduce images of artwork in their collections and utilize data sets about the works themselves. We see the opportunity for data sharing between museums moving their historical records to a distributed ledger backed by blockchain technology. In this format, ownership and copyright data will be complete and shared among cultural institutions and the public facilitating greater access, exploration, and connection of cultural objects and works of art. This Discussion is a conversation on why we see the possibility from a personal perspective and is a broader debate on questions worth addressing individually.



Overcoming A Market Failure: Fine Art & Museum Licensing
Presented by Rachel Wright

May 15, 2018
American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) 2018 Annual Conference

The early adopters and biggest movers in blockchain may not be where you expect. They’re probably in the backroom of what may be considered a dusty, old institution–like a museum.

For centuries, museums have catalogued, celebrated, informed and protected the very record of human achievement that is art. Together museums maintain the ownership registries of billions of objects, entwined with the intellectual property rights of creators and subjects. And yet, the system they employ today to manage collection access and distribution is still a pre-Internet business process.

Museums may not be considered at the forefront of technological innovation, but if you look a little deeper, their role in art licensing presents a use case for blockchain technology that can unlock all kinds of possibilities for rights holders. This is an ecosystem of owners, creators and
enthusiasts established over centuries, working within an analog registry ready to be transformed. Implementation of blockchain technology and smart contracts can unlock access for academics and creatives alike, expanding reach and market opportunity for museums, artists,
and rights holders.