Case Studies/Artabase

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License Used
Image, MovingImage
Adoption date unspecified
art, community, gallery, events


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Page Importance: B-Class
Page Quality: Medium
Artabase is a beta social networking site for artists, galleries and art lovers, creating a ‘one stop shop’ for news of exhibitions and events.

In many ways Creative Commons is a perfect solution for post-modern creative production. — Rebecca Cannon, Artabase Director


Artabase is a beta social networking site for artists, galleries and art lovers, dedicated to the promotion and archiving of artistic exhibitions and events ‘because people love art.’ Operating from Australia since 2004 and with an online presence since 2007, Artabase speaks to/creates a global community: by nominating a region of interest, users can be kept up-to-date with up-coming events in their vicinity. Subscribers to the site are encouraged to create a free online profile showcasing their visual works, giving artists and galleries an opportunity to promote exhibitions in advance and to archive their activities. This creative database is available for use by art historians, journalists and collectors underscoring the site as enabling a collective definition of history.

Artabase’s ‘Arts Opportunities’ email lists announce arts jobs, competitions, calls for proposals, and funding rounds. Community discussions cover topics such as online arts resources and new gallery spaces. A ‘random’ browse through artists featured on the site reveals ‘videopoets,’ multimedia practitioners, photographers, and installation experts amongst others. The Artabase site is also able to be filtered by region and browsed by alphabetical listing.

License Usage

Artabase announced its decision to allow images to be licensed under Creative Commons in October 2007. According to Rebecca Cannon, Director of the site, approximately 12% of the images uploaded to Artabase to date have a Creative Commons licensed image. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike is the most common licence chosen. The site explains the reasoning behind its allowance of CC:

‘We… assist art fans and reviewers by offering Creative Commons licensing options on images which are uploaded to our website. This provides visitors to our website with an instant indication of the re-use rights available on any images they are interested in, thus making it easier to display an image on another website, or in a research article, or even in the new artistic, appropriative works, or even for commercial purposes, without first confirming permission from the artist – where the artist has indicated that those re-use rights are freely available.’

Reflecting on the application of Creative Commons licences on the site, Rebecca Cannon comments in an email interview with Rachel Cobcroft from Creative Commons Australia:

‘Philosophically I’m all for any copyright holder having the freedom to use Creative Commons licences, but as a business owner I do worry that we might be putting ourselves at risk as image hosts if our users chose Creative Commons without fully understanding the legal ramifications, as has happened on other websites.’

In addition, Artabase is a ‘big-time supporter’ of open source software. It employs Ruby on Rails for site development. At this stage, there is no Ruby on Rails Creative Commons API, so they are setting about developing their own, and intend to release it back to the world when ready.


Before commencing Artabase, Rebecca Cannon was involved in DIY creative productions, making video and hardcopy print zines amongst other projects.

‘Like many postmodern artworks much of the material was appropriative too, so we needed to free up the re-use rights of our own work to respect the greater gene pool of creative materials we were sampling. Creative Commons was a direct result of activities like this that we could all use and relate to.’


As of April 2008 Artabase has

  • 1170 Registered Users
  • 463 Exhibitions
  • 366 Artists
  • 157 Galleries

Other web traffic details are available via Alexa.


Artbase logo (c) Artabase under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 Australia License.

Used with permission.