© 2020 Hesther van Doornum
The ‘reproduction’ of a work of art means not only making copies or reproductions, but also making an image or photograph of the work. Publishing or distributing photographs of works of art therefore usually requires the permission of the copyright holder. I have outsourced the granting of licenses (permission to depict my work) to media and all kinds of other users to Pictoright.
Image needed for public exhibition or sale
The following applies to drawing, painting, building and sculpture works and works of applied art: unless otherwise agreed in advance with the copyright holder concerned, the owner / owner / holder of such a work may reproduce and / or make public to the extent necessary for the public exhibition or public sale thereof. For example, the owner of a painting may use an image of that painting in a catalogue or flyer to announce an exhibition. In that case there is no question of copyright infringement, even if a reproduction of the work is made.
Unless otherwise agreed in advance, the maker of a painting remains authorised to create exactly the same painting, even after his copyright has been transferred to someone else. The new copyright holder cannot therefore take action against such a reproduction.
Visual artists, like all other creators, have so-called personality rights. The artist retains these rights even if he has transferred his exploitation rights to another person. A work of art may not be altered just like that and the artist has the right in principle to oppose the deterioration or mutilation of his work.
A visual artist who sells his work simply retains his copyrights to that work. The buyer – and new owner – of the artwork will need your prior consent for anything other than simply placing the artwork in his home or office. For example, the buyer/owner may only display the artwork in his company’s annual report if he has obtained your permission to do so. The artist may agree with the purchaser of his work that he transfers the copyright to the work (in whole or in part) in writing to the purchaser. He can attach (financial) conditions to this. When he transfers the copyright to his work, the purchaser becomes the new copyright holder and the artist loses the exploitation rights to that work himself. It is also possible to agree a licence with the purchaser. In that case, the artist retains the copyright himself and provides the purchaser with a right of use.
The resale right has been in force in the Netherlands since 1 April 2006. The resale right is the right of the maker of an original work of art to receive a small percentage of the sale price when his work is resold through the professional art trade. This right also applies in many other European countries.