Since 2003, Artquest has been helping artists with their legal problems via our Artlaw service.
Individual artists living and working in London can send us a legal query, which we pass to our arts legal specialists Henry Lydiate and Lubna Gem Arielle.
In this section we present responses to some of their most frequently asked questions, covering many aspects of an artists career – contracts, copyright concerns and other general queries which we are asked most often.
Legal queries sent to Artquest may be rewritten (to preserve confidentiality) and placed in this section.
- What works are covered / protected by copyright?
- What can I do if my work is used without my permission?
- When can I use copyright material without permission?
- How do I get permission to use copyrighted material (film, photography, literature, music etc)?
- What issues should I be aware of if I wish to use photographs in collage / painting?
- What material (film, photography, literature etc) do I not need permission to use?
- I’ve heard it’s OK to use short exerpts of music / film without infringing copyright, is this true?
- What if I want to use a board game / company name or logo in my artwork, what legal issues should I be aware of?
- What legal issues should I be aware of if I want to include cartoons in my work?
- What legal issues should I be aware of if I wish to use film clips in my work?
- What is copyright infringement?
- How can I prevent unauthorised use of images of my work that are published on the Internet?
- What legal issues surround the use of legal tender, i.e. notes and coins, in my artwork?
- What can I do to protect my work from being copied when I submit a prototype to a potential buyer?
- Can I sell my copyright?
- Is my work protected by copyright or design rights?
- Will I be able to exhibit and sell photos of my performace if I haven’t taken the pictures myself?
- What if I want to include information about other people in my artwork?
- What if I want to use an image of a celebrity in my work?
- If I use a pseudonym for my art can I sign documents and contracts with a gallery under my legal name?
- When selling work for reproduction, what can I do to ensure that any prints clearly record my signature and details of the work?
- What should I include in a licensing agreement?
- If two or more artists collaborate on a work of art, which one of them will own the copyright of the finished work?
- What if there has been a creative partnership between two artists and one of them wishes to leave the collaboration, leaving the other artist to continue the work alone?
Galleries and exhibitions
- How do I get my gallery / dealer to return unsold works?
- What should I do if my dealer / gallery goes bust?
- Can the organiser of an art show subsequently decide to remove a work from the show on the grounds that it is offensive?
- If I sell artwork through a gallery located abroad, can the gallery deduct ‘withholding tax’ on my earnings?
- What issues should I consider if before hiring space for a group show with other artists?
- If I hire a stand at an Art Fair to sell my own artwork, what can I do if the event is cancelled?
- What can I do if my work is damaged as a result of submitting it to a third party, such as a dealer or art competition?
- How to recoup money you are owed through an Online Court Claim
- Do I have to pay tax on the grant or award I have received?
- I have been commissioned to produce a piece of public art. Can the body commissioning the artwork subsequently terminate the agreement?
- What should I do if a commission is rejected after it has been completed?
- Can I negotiate the lease / licence with my prospective landlord?
- What counts as an affordable rent?
- How much deposit would I expect to pay?
- What other costs might I be liable for when renting a studio?
- What kinds of contract might I be expected to sign when taking on a property?
- What is a ‘break clause’?
- In what circumstances can I sublet or share my studio space?
- What kind of access can I expect in a studio or property?
- What health and safety considerations are there?
- What materials might I not be allowed to work with in a public studio?
- What is the difference between a work / live and a live / work space?
- Where can I find lists of studio providers?