February 29, 2012 | Alyson Stanfield

Caution: You Do Not Own the Art Review

Catharine Carter received a nice review in the newspaper from the local art critic and wondered about the protocol for using it.
Could she reprint it, with credit, on her blog? On Facebook? Does she need permission?
What is the protocol for reprinting an art review?
©Catharine Carter, She’s Come Undone. Photomontage printed on Inkpress Baryta Paper using archival inks.
©Catharine Carter, She’s Come Undone. Photomontage printed on Inkpress Baryta Paper using archival inks.

You do not own a review of your art. Like your work, the words on that page or on your computer screen are copyrighted.
Always ask permission to reprint, but be prepared to be denied.
Publicity expert Joan Stewart says:

The “no reprint” rule is cropping up more frequently these days. Newspapers and magazines are trying to generate more revenue by denying reprint rights and, instead, offering their own expensive reprint services.

Your Options

If you're considering posting the article online, quote from it and provide a link to the online version, if available. This is legal and is better than reprinting the entire article.
You can comment on the quote and provide additional insight, which is what dialogue on the Web is all about. You're not just repeating, but expanding the conversation.
If you want hard copies, which are always nice to have, buy as many copies of the paper as you can or, as Stewart recommends, call the paper and order back issues. Do this as soon as possible after the print date. Then you can clip the article and share it freely.

Don’t Forget

Send the reviewer a Thank You note after the article has appeared. Gifts are inappropriate because of journalism ethics. Share your appreciation by sending a nice handwritten note with one of your images on the front.
Art reviewers and critics are dropping like flies these days as newspapers scale back their operations. We need for them to know they are appreciated as an important part of the art ecosystem.
How have you taken advantage of an art review?

13 comments add a comment
  • I’ve had a few articles in magazines and I always ask the journalist at the end of the interview about reproducing the article on my website once it’s been published. They usually say they’ll have to check back with their editor. Once it’s been printed I email them to say thank you and ask if I can have a pdf of the feature. They’ve almost all said yes as long as I credit them (which I would do anyway). Once it’s on my website I mention the magazine on my blog and social media pages and email the journalist to let them know. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but so far I haven’t run in to problems. It probably depends on the type of magazine and the type of information in the article whether they say yes or not.
    Even if the answer is no to reproducing the article you can still link to the magazine website from a blog to tell your followers you’re featured. Tell them which page it’s on too as some magazines allow limited online reading.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Good work, Jackie. I kind of think it’s the larger publications that are going to try to make money from reprints.

  • Thanks for the blog post. I have people send me full reviews all the time wanting me to post them to my art blog. I ask them just to write a notice about where people can see the review. It’s good to get the straight info out there. Thanks.

  • Thank you for clarifying this point. Things keep changing so fast on the web, that we need to stay up-dated on legal ways to share our information. Thank you so much.

  • I received a great review in Artweek a few years back. I sent the reviewer a note of thanks with a comment agreeing with one of her reservations, but a few years later when I was ready to use the review on a new website (arthurcomings.com > What people say) Artweek had ceased publication. So I went ahead and used it. Maybe I should have asked the reviewer, but I considered it to be in the public domain. If it happens again I’ll check with the reviewer.

    • Alyson Stanfield

      Arthur: It’s too bad Artweek went out of business. That’s was a good publication.
      I do think you’re fine to use it. If Artweek had a parent company that is still in business, they’d be another recourse.

  • Thank you for the timely article. Awhile back I was interviewed by MORE Magazine and the article is coming out next month. I had planned on posting a link to the article on FB; my blog and website but after reading this post, I am sending off a letter to my editor about their reprint policy.
    Thanks to you, I dodged a bullet and prevented a major copyright faux paus!

    • Alyson Stanfield

      JJ: A link is totally fine. It’s reprinting the entire thing where there’s an issue.
      Congratulations on the article! Will you shoot me an email with the link when it comes out?

  • Amanda Christine

    thanks for this, in my area many artists also write reviews for publications so it gets confusing for me at times! I do like being able to link to the reviews, and in the one instance of subscriber content, I was still allowed to share the photo.
    I too (i think this was mentioned above) wonder about publications that have changed/go out of business etc (what of sharing back content if you find it afterward?)

  • art exhibitions

    I think that a review or any other info on your work that is published in public space (web, print etc.) can be used – but a credit should be given. In the case of online reviews, you can promote the page that gives you a mention by using twitter, facebook and any other social media site – I don’t think the writer would have a problem with this – as hey…. he’s getting promoted too

    • Alyson Stanfield

      AE: It’s fine to link. It’s not fine (ever) to reprint an entire article.
      I don’t allow reprints of my posts here because Google doesn’t like duplicate content on the Web. I ask people to quote from my post and riff off of it. That is more helpful to all – AND more interesting.

  • Marie-Louise McHugh

    Years ago I used to reprint the reviews. Now I just mention the link to the publication if at all. Nevertheless I will mention that I was reviewed by XYZ and my followers can go read the review if they wish. There is so much information to absorb on the internet that I doubt that my followers will read long reviews anyway.
    Now, I reprinted an interview at one time or another and this is because I was asked to do so by the interviewer.

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