Copyright of Art Piece – Who Owns It?

Copyright

Copyright of Art Piece – Who Owns it?

This is a very interesting question when it comes to buying artwork, reselling artwork, or making copies of that artwork. When an artist create an original work such as an art piece copyright automatically attaches itself to that work. Copyrights last the life of the author plus 70 years. I mention this because if the copyright of that art piece is up and in the public domain then copying the work is legal. However, if the copyrighted work is still active then the owner has the right to exclude others from reproducing and selling the copyrighted work. So, when using someone else’s artwork make sure you have a license to use or it is in the public domain before using. 

Selling Original Art

When an artist sells an original art piece they are selling that piece once with no copies made. The purchaser owns that sole piece of art as the original creating value in that piece. However, the artist usually does not transfer their copyright ownership in that piece when selling that piece. Therefore, the owner has a limit license to display and own that piece unless the artist assigns the copyright over to that individual. 

Creating Copies

Creating copies and selling them as prints of the original can give the artist the opportunity to get that piece out to the public instead of one individual. However, the copies that are sold only give the owner the right to own that copy and to not recreate that art piece and sell it unless it is in the public domain. 

 

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