In praise of the Rauschenberg Foundation, champions of fair use

This is relatively old news, now that we're hip-deep in 2017, but last year, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation did something unprecidented. They rolled out a new fair use policy that embraced education and encouraged the sharing of Rauschenberg's massive and influential body of work.

It's no secret that the copyright of artist's work is a contentious issue. While we fully support and respect intellectual property, organizations like the Artists Rights Society (ARS) and DACS have throttled the ability of educators to share the works of great artists, publish educational books, and contribute to the artistic dialog by charging liscening fees that are simply out of reach for most academic institutions. There's a vast difference between putting a Warhol painting on a t-shirt, and teaching students about Warhol, yet the lack of resources and definitions around Educational Fair Use have left educators fearful of copyright protections, fees and lawsuits. According to a report by the College Art Association, a third of their surveyed academics and artists have abandoned a project due to an actual or perceived inability to obtain permission to use third-party works (source). Our culture is poorer and our education is weakened by the lack of transparency and openness by copyright institutions.