Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sold Original Painting: Who Gets Copyright?

Dear Rich: Is it possible to sell an original painting and keep ownership at the same time? For example, if I sell the original to someone and later contract for the work to be used in another area of entertainment, could I maintain ownership of work? Unless an artist has signed a written agreement assigning copyright to the buyer  or establishing a work for hire agreeement, the artist retains copyright ownership of the image. That is the "default" arrangement when an artist sells a work. The artist retains exclusive rights to reproduce, license or make derivatives of the work while the buyer obtains only property rights to the physical painting. To avoid any issues over this, some artists and photographers include a statement in their invoice to the effect that the artist retains all copyright in the imagery.