View Full Version : Money, keeping it

12-01-1999, 01:18 PM
Illustrators will sometimes maintain rights to their work after publication. They still own the work, but have only licensed it for a certain period or specific use. It's very common in the music business, too.

I think all artists should make arrangements like this, even those selling work in galleries/exhibits.

It might go like this...once a work is sold, if it is resold, the artist should make a percentage of every sale after the first.

If the work is printed, say in a calendar, they should make a percentage.

If an artist's work begins to gain value, who deserves to benefit more than the artist? Auctioneers, dealers or exhibitng institutions?

Drew Davis
12-18-1999, 11:40 AM
The 2D visual artistic equivalent would seem to be the "limited edition print". Generally, artists retain rights to reproduction even when they sell an original. Musicians and illustrators are getting paid for the reproductions, not the originals. If you want to sell a lot of reproductions, that's easy enough, and you can keep the original if you think its value will go up.

12-26-1999, 02:24 PM
Sure, printing is the natural equivalent, but...

...licensing and leasing arrangements come in all sizes and shapes, from real estate to software. It's even possible to sell license for agricultural use of particular brands of soybean.

Why should artists ignore the possibility? Or any other that might bring in money?

Generally, I think this is a gap in art education, especially at the university level. Artists aren't supposed to be concerned with money. It's a stereotype that's out of date.

In every other discipline salary negotiation, consulting fees, copyright and marketing are part of training/professional development.

Instead, we're left trying to work out professional practice with hearsay.

12-30-1999, 01:53 AM
Oops..I have just receintly begun selling my watercolor paintings and did not think of resale $$..though I do feel they will go up in value..what sort of paperwork (or?) do I need to come up with?

12-30-1999, 05:49 PM
Don't have concrete answers for you, I'm in the smae boat, more or less.

You could check out this book:
Graphic Artist's Guild Handbook
Pricing and Ethiical Guidlines
isbn#: 0-932 102-09-3

It has info on pricing, examples of contracts, copyright protection, etc. I've seen it at Borders and Barnes and Noble.

They also have a web site:

They deal with "graphic art", illustration, design, etc, but it seems relevant to me.
Only thing I know of at this time.

12-31-1999, 10:30 AM
you should be familiar by now with the idea that what is taught in school has nothing to do with what you encounter in real life. in what one would think is the cut-and-dried life of computers,,,my wife is always re-educating people coming out of college with computer science degrees.
in art(generally), you're being taught by people who never made it. never knew the first thing about selling, business, and other unpleasentries. even in professional art schools, you get very structered assignments. the ONLY rule they should teach,they never do,,,,,,,deadlines.

12-31-1999, 06:36 PM
Yes, BH, I have heard of that particular book, Pricing and Ethical Guidelines...I think I check out my local library and see what I can come up with..
Bruin70, I am a self taught artist and I have done professional freelance work.. I had a good mentor some years ago who impressed the idea on me about meeting deadlines, i am very professional in that area..but the work I did was under "work for hire' contracts..this selling of my own work a fairly new area to me, I feel that I really need to be sure I am protecting myself on the resale $$..it could be an issue..thanks (I dropped out of school after failing 7th grade.. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif)and am doing quite well, thank you

Drew Davis
01-07-2000, 11:01 PM
California actually has a law specifying a 5% resale royalty for artists. See:


The issue is under consideration for US Federal copyright law, but currently there's nothing but the California law (which has been contested).

The European Union is trying to work out resale royalties. Some member countries have such laws, others do not. Proposed law allows up to 4%, continuing to heirs for 70 years after the author's death.

Legal jargon for resale royalties is "droit de suite", so that might be a helpful search term for research.

Some useful sites:


Ultimately, you're going to want a contract lawyer.

01-08-2000, 12:27 AM
kemshmi,,,that can easily be worked into your agreement. what you're paid, do you get the artwork back, if it is kept there should be a sale price, first print rights only, additional use can be structured to your benefit...in essense---total contol of your art and its future use....milt

01-09-2000, 02:26 AM
drew..thanks..I have been parousing about the web for info on contracts and laws etc..I plan to pick up the "ethical" guidlines book from the library tomorrow (today, literally speaking , if you are into clocks http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/biggrin.gif)

Bruin70..what i am referring to (at this point) is the private sale of paintings..I dont want a client to be able to sell copies of my work, (I should retain that right) whether it is a comissiond work, a piece i have in a store or something from my studio..

Soooo what i am concerned about possible future sales of the work ..(and you touched on this in the "contracts" thread which I started)..if the client should choose to sell the painting which they have bought, I think there should be something in the contract which provides me with a % of the resale, I understand that the sale of a piece does not imply release of copyrights...any guidelines??..maybe that "ethical" book http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gifwill give me some more clear~cut ideas..
I think I need to draw up a general contract for sale of work/art which I can fill in the specific details of the piece..but the contractural (sp?) paragraph should cover the above ideas..(and.. any others issues?)

thanks, Kemshmi

ps..i really liked looking at your paintings..planning to put a updated site with artist nation..or?

Drew Davis
01-09-2000, 10:15 AM
For specifically comissioned work, your contract should be very clear in stating that it's not "work for hire". (Which it is in some sense, of course, but we're talking about law, not real life.) Doing "work for hire" means that you lose the normal authorship rights, including the copy right, to the purchaser. Whether or not your comissioned work is "work for hire" depends on whether you're an employee and whether or not the work falls into some categories defined by the copright law. A normal portrait commission, say, isn't "work for hire" by default. But as with all things legal, it's best to make everything explicit.

You can get the Graphics Arts Guild's "Handbook: Pricing and Ethical Guildlines" free if you're willing to join their organization.


The dues are way more than the price of the book, so that's only an option if you really are interested in belonging to that professional organization.

There's no reason why you can't put a resale royalty clause in your contract, if you can get clients to sign it. You could put in clauses requiring them to paint themselves green and dance in the moonlight on the third of every month if you wanted. Monitoring will be a bit difficult. (I don't even want to think about enforcement.) Keep an eye on the California law, and the debate over resale royalties for US law. If the CA law is defeated, your contract clause is likely to prove unenforcable, too.