Asia Art Archive (“AAA”) is an independent non-profit organisation initiated in 2000 in response to the urgent need to document and make accessible the multiple recent histories of art in the region. Through the course of its affairs AAA has produced and collected a large body of relevant digital material which it describes, preserves, and makes available to the public at no cost via the Internet and physical library locations. AAA holds these digital works but their respective creators or owners retain their copyright until the items lapse from copyright protection.


Because of the relatively short time period between the creation of the records and their retention at AAA the majority of the collection is still covered by one or more copyrights. As an organisation that wishes to employ best practices, AAA respects the rights of the copyright holder(s) and has a series of policies and procedures in place to ensure their rights are not infringed upon through AAA’s programmes and functions by others.


AAA acknowledges that the creator, author or assignee of an original work retains the copyright for a fixed duration as set out in the Hong Kong Copyright Ordinance (Cap. 528) or other applicable copyright law. These rights allow the owner to licence, grant, and restrict access to the work as well as the right to format the work across media including digitisation. For AAA to make its collections available to the public it acknowledges it must do so subject to the terms of relevant copyright laws.


Where AAA retains the rights to material it has produced, AAA will ensure the material is made available to the public by the most open license as reasonably possible. Where the rights are retained by AAA and any third party, AAA has or will obtain the relevant permissions from third parties and signed authorisations from copyright holders before making the works available. To meet this commitment AAA has adopted the Creative Commons licencing schedule and will licence the use of copyrighted works accordingly. If AAA is unable to obtain the necessary permission or authorisations, it will only make the deposited works available at its physical locations in Hong Kong or New York.


For works with no known copyright, or works where the rights holder(s) is untraceable (orphan works), AAA will make best efforts to locate and clear any rights subsisting in the work. If these efforts do not result in the locating of the rights holder(s), AAA will (in its sole discretion) decide if the work will be made available to the public and will bear the sole burden in the event of any claim of copyright infringement.


All deposited works, with known and traceable copyright holder(s), made available through AAA’s digital channels (website, applications, API, promotional materials) will have signed authorisations from the rights holder(s) giving AAA the right to make these available. If AAA is unable to obtain authorisation to make a work available online it will be restricted to access of the deposited work via Asia Art Archive’s physical locations (Hong Kong and New York).


AAA will not knowingly distribute, modify, or allow unauthorised access to copyrighted works in its collection without the authorisation of the rights holder(s).


If AAA wishes to use copyrighted works in any use beyond its existing agreements with the rights holder(s) it will obtain a new authorisation in writing.


Any requests for permission to access a copyrighted work by a third party beyond the existing AAA authorisations will be referred back to the rights holder(s).


In the event of a reasonable complaint relating to the copyright subsisting in a work, AAA will immediately remove the digital item from web-based access until it (in its sole discretion) has ascertained whether the copyright claim is valid based on documentary support provided to AAA. If the copyright claim is deemed to be valid by AAA, AAA will either make best efforts to obtain permission to make the work available or restrict access to the deposited works on-site only. If AAA deems the claim to be frivolous it will be in AAA’s sole decision to allow access to the work as well as the level of access tol be given to the work.


On the lapsing of the copyright protection AAA will make the works available as in the public domain ‘without copyright’ protection. AAA will not assert any copyright through the acts such as digitisation, migration across formats or platforms, or other ‘sweat of the brow’ measures which could create a new copyright in the work. Where a new copyright is justified, AAA will licence such work under the appropriate Creative Commons licencing regime.

AAA relies on your generous support to grow, activate, and make freely accessible our collection of materials on art in Asia. Please consider making a small donation to our 2021 Annual Fundraiser, ending on 29 Oct.