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You Buy a Painting, Not the Copyright

By September 3, 2011

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I've been pondering what it is about buying a piece of art that makes people who wouldn't copy a book or film assume they're buying the right to make prints of a painting and sell these. Perhaps it's simply because it's relatively easy to do. Perhaps because it's a one-off, so having it feels as if you must own everything about it.

Who Owns the Copyright of a Painting?
Copyright for Artists FAQ


September 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm
(1) Starrpoint says:

This is something all visual artist struggle with. Why? There work just does not seem as important? Or that the issue has not be a vocally raised? Vocal artists, ea. those who work is audio or words are much better at conveying the idea of their rights, but even they are not as forward when it comes to the rights of visual artists.

September 5, 2011 at 2:35 pm
(2) Starrpoint says:

Just had a thought, maybe because they are buying the original? You do not buy the original song, only a copy of it, So the idea that someone else hold the original is there,

But when you buy a painting, you are holding the original, so the idea that you now own all of it, is much easier.

Does that make sense? People simply do not know what they are buying.

September 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm
(3) Ed says:

If you think there’s any possibility that your original art work might be suited for making prints, calendars, cards, or whatever, before selling it you should take the best photos of it you can. After you sell the original, the new owner might be reluctant to allow further photos to be taken, especially if they know it’s for purposes of commercializing the work they bought. While the original work is still in your possession you can compare your photos to it to check and correct the color accuracy, contrast, etc. of the photos that will be important in making quality derivative works. (And it could be valuable evidence in the rare event of a copyright dispute.)

September 9, 2011 at 11:49 pm
(4) dreamgardens91 says:

I put a statment on the reverse of the work that names me, the date, the copyright symbol and a ‘statement’ reserving all rights of reproduction and tranference of such rights to a separate written agreement-set forth contractually and attested and notarized between parties RELATING to the transfer of such rights. ALL RIGHTS TO (NAME OF WORK BY _ _ _) ARE EXPRESSLY RESERVED TO (ME) _ _ _. ( i ALSO tell THE ‘BUYER’).

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