Anonymity and publicity

Advertising and anonymity

There are three stupidly expensive things in the world: what is on sale at an airport, what is related to a wedding party and advertising.

The first two have a simple explanation: state of necessity.

For advertising it is not that simple.

All copyright treaties say that moral rights can not be negotiated. And I insist that artists have an almost obscene fixation with moral rights. An unnecessary obsession, to say the least.

(Link the copyright does not matter)

But the reality is different. There is a moral right with which one trades. He disguises himself as something else and puts on contracts without blushing. The moral right of anonymity.

Advertising is worth three times more than a normal commissioned work because, in addition to the exhibition and use that the piece will have, the author is required to remain anonymous.

Well ... he is required to do it voluntarily. In the same way that the KGB asked for the favor of collaborating voluntarily. A voluntary act full of nuances.

More common than you think

The way to prove this is simple. When was the last time you saw a video commercial that has credits at the end? What do the actors mention? What do you mention the name of the director? The screenwriter?

- If someone has an example, we would be fascinated to receive it-

To date, we have not seen the first one.

Making a commercial for television - or for YouTube today - is not an easy task. Any high quality audiovisual production requires a production deployment, a creative effort of preparation and postproduction. Regardless of whether the final result is four seconds or two minutes. A television commercial is an audiovisual work by all angles by which you look at it.

And even so. No one appears in the credits. Unlike film or television where in the end roll credits with the name of the one who participated in the project - even the lawyer in some cases.


The answer lies in advertising contracts. Which most agencies include when they order a piece.

The clause says that the artist / director / creative / illustrator / editor will refrain from claiming authorship credits. That he will exercise his moral right to remain anonymous; and - here comes the poison - in case you want to exercise your moral right of attribution, you will have to pay a fine of jet-hundreds Thousands of dollars.

It is illegal?
Technically, no.

Is it abusive?
Yes, maybe a little three quarts and lots ... yes. In a way it is.

Why the fine?
To prevention. As moral rights can not be waived. To leave in writing that one wants to remain anonymous is a temporary remedy. At any time the author could demand that they give him the corresponding credit. He would have all the authority to do it. I could do it at any time and that would leave the agency - and the end customer of the campaign - in an unsustainable limbo. That's why they opt for the fine. Which is more of a threat than anything else ... like the KGB and its techniques of voluntary submission.

And why would someone accept that clause?
For a good price.

Victims or patients

I put this issue on the table for two reasons: (i) it gives me infinite tenderness when the copyright books say that moral rights are inalienable and that you can not negotiate with them; (ii) a poison taken voluntarily makes us patients and not victims.

Advertising is a huge market with multiple opportunities for creators in the orange economy. Like any market has its rules of the game. In this case: the assignment or limitation of specific rights.

The advantage: If the rules are known, the conditions (of use and economic conditions) can be negotiated better.


PD: In the end Taylor Swift is the ghostwritter of "Over" by Kings of Leon? Even in the best families sometimes the authors keep the credit.



Niels Steeman in Unsplash



The authors are important - the interpreters too - but always the question should be: who is the owner?

Fetish, the object cause of desire according to the psychoanalytic theory of Lacan. Be Author It's a fetish. Feeling causes of the work that we face. We live from the myth that the label of Author Is the only one that legitimizes the creative act.

For the right of entertainment, in the discussions of copyright, the author is important. The interpreter is important. But decisions are made on the basis of who the holder. They even take into account who is the owner of the specific right that is under discussion.

Continue reading "Fetish"