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Still Art

Issues for Artists

As a painter, sculptor, photographer, sketcher, cartoonist or other creator of still art, the legal issues you face will usually (but not always) be copyright related. 

You will also at some stage be negotiating, performing and monitoring agreements relevant to your art which may well be fairly specific to the type of art you are creating.  Who owns the copyright in your work will depend upon a number of factors including the reason you created the work and the circumstances surrounding any agreement you entered into to create it.

However, unless you have assigned away your future rights for any reason (which is not very common, although still possible), you will be the owner of the copyright in any art you create by yourself for your own purposes and without being requested by anyone else to do so.

If someone asks you to take a photograph, who is the owner of copyright in it will depend upon things like their proposed use of it and your relationship with them, and there are also different rules that apply if they are a government agency.

Different rules again apply to other types of still art depending upon the circumstances.

Other Parties

If you are a commercial collector, exhibitor, curator, agent, auctioneer or broker, these same issues will apply, together with a host of other commercial issues usually contract-related.

You will need to be aware not only of your own rights and obligations, but often also of any rights and obligations attached to the art (and artists) you are dealing with.  This can be a much harder task where you are only relying upon what you are told.

Common Issues for Everyone

Irrespective of your role in the industry, contracts are there to ensure that the labyrinth of rights and obligations that can affect you are clarified at least to some extent.  However, a badly written agreement can just make matters worse.

While written agreements are always necessary to ensure that your rights are protected and that your obligations (and those of the other agreeing parties too) are very clear, you usually only get one chance to get them right - once they are signed, they are usually binding until they terminate, and you will often not have the choice as to when they come to an end.

It is important before you sign any agreement to ensure that the agreement properly preserves your intellectual property (and other) rights.

How Can We Help?

We are specialists in the areas of law that are relevant to the above issues, and have drafted and advised upon (and where necessary, enforced) many different types of agreements relevant to artists and those involved in the commercial exploitation of art.

We have acted for a number of high profile artists and for organisations dealing with artists and their art, in a wide variety of matters including drafting and advising upon (and in some cases, litigating) agreements, enforcing or defending against allegations of breach of copyright, and otherwise assisting clients to deal with some of those weirder commercial issues as they arise from time to time.

As specialists in intellectual property matters, we are also particularly well-placed to ensure that your rights are protected and that any agreements we help you with, in whatever form they take, will be drafted to protect those rights as far as possible.