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Every person constructs ideas and art upon the foundations of culture, heritage, education, and experience: a work of art is a personal perspective on a collective understanding and a collective material world.  Trying to claim this image or idea is “my personal creation” or “my intellectual property” is like saying this air, because I breathed it out, belongs only to me.  Privatising images makes as much sense as privatising the air, or the water (and yes, that is being done too).

A created image is always intensely personal and individual, the product and expression of the person who made it.  Thus artists in the South African liberation struggle have stated:  “Art, like the land, belongs to those who works on it”.

But act of collective expression also must gain recognition. Especially this applied where the work is made  for a liberation movement or a trade union, to give voice to a community’s experiences, as a statement of belief.

In this context, proclaiming an individual’s (or, much more so, a company’s) property rights over creative art becomes actively destructive of creativity, both collective and individual.  Yet very often, as artists, we are told intellectual property copyright remains the sole process by which society will pay us for our labour and originality.

I argue that this "reserved intellectual property" approach is not necessary or viable.

Therefore, the following applies to the creative output on this site:

First, to recognize that where an artwork is made for a non-profit, community-based organization, as part of a collective, that work is part of public discourse.  These ideas and creative images must not be privatized, by either the individual “artist” or by the organization in question. (This does not exclude physical objects such as t-shirts or posters or drawings, that carry an image that emerged from a collective process, from being owned and sold as objects.)

 Second, all the work by Judy Seidman on this site is available for distribution under  “creative commons” copyright.  This mechanism is explained on the creative commons website (see The  “creative commons” license used in this site allows for use of images, graphics, and ideas for any non-profit purposes, including heritage, cultural, and educational use.   It further requests that where possible the originator of the work (that is, the art-maker, and the organization involved in the production  where this is relevant) should be acknowledged  when the work is reproduced.

I would ask, as a courtesy, that you notify me (contact details on this website) if you intend to reproduce the work for any cultural, heritage, educational, or other non-profit purposes.  Also, I am happy to make available images in larger jpeg or pdf format for such use.

- Judy Seidman, Johannesburg, 28 March 2011