Everything You Need To Know About Creative Exploitation

The Logical Indian

February 2nd, 2016

A world without artists is a world without courage, passion and dreams. Artists with their creations reveal the world to us. Art has become a manifestation of our deepest desires and anxieties. Artists work for their passion but sadly in the world where money makes the calls passion isn’t enough to sustain. Artists are as much part of the society as individuals working in other fields but they still find themselves at the receiving end of exploitation.

The cause of the artist couldn’t be more underrated and unacknowledged precisely because both artists and the society do not consider it important enough to be discussed. Artists continue to perceive it as a part of the game.

Exploitation happens in numerous ways, especially with beginners. Every agreement that is refuted, every payment that is held back, and every credit the is refused taints the industry. The creative world is extremely competitive and unpredictable but the rampant exploitation further discourages artists from taking up art professionally. 

So join Artist At Work Productions, as we refuse to stay quiet in our endeavour to End Creative Exploitation. The cause deserves the participation from artists and art lovers. Let us save the industry before another artist decides to bite the dust. You can fill the form here and share your experience of creative exploitation to help us find a solution.

What is Creative Exploitation?
Creative exploitation is not limited to a singular act of infringement of creative property as is often misconstrued by popular conceptions of the term. Infringement is an important aspect of creative exploitation as it denies the artist access and credits to his/her own work. But exploitation involves other multiple and sometimes subtle ways of treating the artist unjustly. Verbal and written agreements are dishonored, miscommunication from the clients end leads the artist to underperform which is used as an evidence against payment for services, the artist is manipulated into doing more than the stipulated amount of work. Peruse these illustrations for more examples, but every instance cannot be exemplified because every artist experiences exploitation differently.


Why are we raising this issue?
Many oppressed voices in the society have found expression through different campaigns.  

Artists themselves contribute to many causes and become the harbingers of multiple social movements. But, it is very rarely that the problems of the artist are acknowledged and addressed. The creative industry itself is already stigmatised as being a gamble, where success depends not on merit but on chance. This disallows artists from taking exploitation seriously creating a vicious cycle of complacency. Artists anaesthetize themselves against unjust treatment and while some still retain their passion and continue the struggle, others escape it by escaping their art. Artists themselves do not speak about exploitation, making non-artists understand the grim reality seems like a long shot. Hence, our campaign attempts to excavate narratives of exploitation shared by creative professionals from all over the world so that an acknowledgement of the process can help create awareness.


What should artists do to avoid being exploited?

Artists primarily need to be careful about the clients they associate with. Unreliable clients are more likely to cause miscommunication and end up exploiting the artist. But in an industry where work is scarce artists usually end up associating with the clients they do not have any prior knowledge of. In such cases artists should preserve work related emails, phone messages or record conversations to ensure that any deviation from agreements can be proved in a court of law. Any material that is represented on a piece of paper is automatically the creator’s property and its misuse or infringement can be taken up legally. Most importantly artists should also be aware of the legal redressal available to them and seek legal help. Most artists undermine their own worth and ignore instances exploitation which along with doing them harm, creates a negative impact on the community.


Is the problem limited to India?

The problem spans across all nations and affects artists everywhere. The creative community world over faces problems related to copyright infringement, flouting of the tenets of verbal and written agreements, miscommunication and other various forms of exploitation. Hence, our campaign seeks to address artists regardless of their age and nationality.

– Ashwini Rajpoot (with inputs from Anish Dayal, Advocate, Supreme Court who advises on art law).



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