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The holder of copyright has exclusive rights to an item. This includes the right to reproduce and sell it, and to make derivative works from it. For example, derivative works might include artistic representations, such as a painting of the original. Copyright also covers the right to display the copyrighted work in public. Read on to find out who owns the copyright for the art displayed on Acquire Art.
The artist owns the copyright for their own artwork. Copyright legally belongs to the artist from the moment of creation. The artist retains it long after the sale of the artwork.
Buying original art means you own the painting but not the right to copy it. A copy usually refers to digital copies and prints. However, if you create your own artistic representation of the artwork to exhibit or sell then you could be in breach of copyright here too. The artist may choose to sell the copyright to you along with the artwork, but this is not usual. Typically the artist retains the copyright but provides certain permissions for their work to be copied, used and distributed. Furthermore, limitations will usually apply regarding the number of copies, how the copies will be used and for what period of time.
To obtain permission to make a copy or multiple copies of an artwork, you should write to the artist. You’ll need to state how many copies you wish to make and for what purpose. Also state whether you wish to make digital copies, prints, or an artistic copy. Usually, permission will be granted for a small fee and/or under certain conditions.
If an artist has already made prints of the artwork you will probably not be granted permission to make your own prints. In this instance, the artist will instead offer to sell you the prints they have produced themselves. Remember that prints are copyright protected and the copyright is likely to still be held by the artist.
You should not copy images of artwork that you find on websites without permission from the artist. The images of artwork displayed on Acquire Art are copyright protected. You must ask permission from the artist if you wish to make a copy of an image of their artwork. The artists on our site have provided permission for visitors to share pages on our website that display their work. The shared link only provides a thumbnail image of the artwork and links back to the original source on Acquire Art. Therefore, the image and the artwork description can only be viewed fully on the page that was shared. With sharing the content is always linked to its source, whereas copying would separate the content from the source and not provide any link back. The latter is not allowed without the artist’s permission.
You can find out much more information about copyright on the DACS website. DACS is a non-profit organisation that campaigns for artists’ rights.