Art Law

Written by Briffa | July 3, 2019

IP Contracts

As an artist, it may seem like a daunting task to seek to make a living from your creative work. One critical step on the way to becoming a commercially successful artist is ensuring that your Intellectual Property is adequately protected.

This will not only allow you to commercially exploit your art through the sale of one-off pieces and prints, collaborations, and licensing agreements, but will also allow you to enforce yourself if someone steals or copies your work without your consent.

Whether you are graphic designer about to set up a website to sell prints, or an established painter organising the next exhibition at a major gallery, Briffa are here to provide you with the expert, art industry-specific legal advice you need.


As an artist, you will come across various contracts throughout your career. It is crucial that you take appropriate legal advice before signing any deals – failing to do so may result in accidentally giving away more control over your art than you intended, losing out on potential income streams, or vulnerable to your work being reproduced or copied without your consent.

Briffa can advise on all contracts you may need to negotiate and sign, including licensing agreements, collaboration agreements, agency agreements, contracts with galleries, and much more.

Art disputes

Briffa have a proven track record of acting for artists to enforce their rights against the unauthorised use of their work. If your art has appeared anywhere without your consent, this may be an infringement to your rights for which you may be entitled to compensation.

We also frequently act for artists whose work or signature style has been stolen, copied or misappropriated by another artist. Although it is notoriously difficult to establish the line between inspiration and theft, Briffa are there to advise and explain the legal issues to you in a way which will allow you to decide whether it is worth taking legal action.

Artist’s Resale Right or Droit de Suite

If you are selling works of graphic or plastic art (such as picture, photograph, collage, painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramic, item of glassware etc.) for over €1,000 and this work is later sold on for a greater value, you may be entitled to a share of this resale value, in the form of an Artist’s Resale Royalty. Briffa can advise on whether you are entitled to this, and assist with the contractual and administrative steps which need to be taken to collect this royalty.

Protecting your other artistic work

More and more artists are active in more than one area of the arts. If you are a musician, author, actor, model, dancer, photographer etc. in addition to being an artist, it is important that you take legal advice from someone who has experience in the relevant industries.

Our expertise spans various media and entertainment industries including music, TV, film, fashion, design – so we are always there to advise and assist, no matter which part of your creativity you need to protect.

Securing rights to art

If you are a company, agency or designer wishing to secure the rights to an artist’s work, Briffa can also assist in advising, negotiating and finalising this deal, as well as conducting any required due diligence to ensure that your interests are protected. Our industry-specific expertise means that we are particularly well equipped to anticipate which issues may arise, and advise on the measure required to minimise your risk.

For more information on the above and to arrange a free meeting with one of our solicitors, please call +44 (0)20 70962779 or fill out our contact form.



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