Since 2003, Artquest has been helping artists with their legal problems via our Artlaw service.

Individual artists living and working in England 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.

As a self-employed artist, will the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affect me?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective from 25th May 2018, is a hot topic amongst businesses at present, and this FAQ offers key points about if and how it is likely to affect artist… Continue Reading As a self-employed artist, will the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) affect me?

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What should I know about copyright as a freelance artist/educator who facilitates workshops?

As a freelance artist/educator who develops and facilitates workshops and projects for institutions, what should I know about copyright and how can I protect my copyright and intellectual property (IP… Continue Reading What should I know about copyright as a freelance artist/educator who facilitates workshops?

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What does creating an Inventory or Catalogue Raisonné involve?

The inventory should relate to all works of art, copyright (the artist should be aware that unless there is an agreement to the contrary, he/she will have retained copyright ownership in any works he/… Continue Reading What does creating an Inventory or Catalogue Raisonné involve?

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If I sell artwork through a gallery based abroad, can they deduct ‘withholding tax’ on my earnings?

‘Withholding tax’ is an amount held by the party making a payment to a payee, which will be paid to the taxation authorities. It is usually withheld from payment because the paying party has an agreem… Continue Reading If I sell artwork through a gallery based abroad, can they deduct ‘withholding tax’ on my earnings?

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What should I consider when deciding whether or not to sign a written agreement with a gallery?

In particular, should I agree to a 12 month notice period and a commission on sales at exhibitions outside the gallery? The wisdom of signing any business agreement, and especially such a sensitively… Continue Reading What should I consider when deciding whether or not to sign a written agreement with a gallery?

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Can I sell an artwork that uses letters from an existing font, e.g. from a word processing program?

There are two key legal issues to consider here: whether the work will infringe copyright and the terms of the licence under which fonts are used. The position will vary according to which font is use… Continue Reading Can I sell an artwork that uses letters from an existing font, e.g. from a word processing program?

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Can I illustrate a mass-produced object such as a toy in an artwork without infringing copyright laws?

The answer is highly complex but an indication of the issues involved is given by the following simplified comments on a highly complex set of copyright provisions under UK law, chiefly governed by th… Continue Reading Can I illustrate a mass-produced object such as a toy in an artwork without infringing copyright laws?

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Is it discrimination under UK law to advertise an opportunity for artists under a certain age?

An opportunity states that it is only open to artists under or over a certain age. Is this discriminatory under UK law? UK equal opportunities legislation exists alongside various EU Directives and po… Continue Reading Is it discrimination under UK law to advertise an opportunity for artists under a certain age?

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My gallery had agreed to return my work months ago but now they seem to have lost it.

Where a gallery holds works that are owned by the artist, the gallery holds them as a “bailee” under what is known as a duty of bailment. The effect of this duty means that the gallery, as bailee, is… Continue Reading My gallery had agreed to return my work months ago but now they seem to have lost it.

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