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What Is Consignment in Relation to Copyright?

inside of art store with prints and shelves

If you’re an artist, there are probably a number of reasons you do what you do. However, one of those reasons may be to make money! As such, understanding how to sell your work while ensuring it remains protected by copyright is crucial. One option many may consider is selling on consignment. Keep reading to learn more about the positives and negatives of this option and discover how copyright infringement lawyers can assist you with any issues you face.

What Is Consignment?

Consignment is a way for artists to sell their work in a form similar to licensing. Generally, an artist will sell work to a store or retailer. When the store sells the artist’s work, they keep a pre-determined percentage for themselves, while sending the rest back to the original artist.

This allows an artist to avoid the hassle of opening up their own retail location, which is an often expensive feat, without transferring ownership of the work to the store. While they hold the physical piece, they do not own the right to the actual creation.

What Protections Are In Place?

It’s important to understand that the Uniform Commercial Code was enacted to provide protections to artists who sell work via consignment. The most prevalent protection is that it can hold the store responsible if their negligence damages the work.

However, consignment can also be risky for artists. Unfortunately, if the retailer selling your work files for bankruptcy, your work can be seized as payment, even though the store does not own the copyright to the work. As such, it’s essential to create an agreement before agreeing to sell work on consignment.

If you are creating a one-of-a-kind, completely unique, expensive item, it may be in your best interest to file a UCC-1 form in the county where the store is located. This places a lien on the art, placing you at the head of the line of creditors should the retail location file for bankruptcy.

What Should I Do if I’m Experiencing¬†Issues?

Unfortunately, some stores may try to sell your work without having the right to through consignment. This is often common for those who steal your artwork and reprint it as their own or who buy your art in bulk to place it for sale as if they own the property. As such, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

If you discover that your consigned artwork was seized by a creditor or someone is selling your work without a consignment agreement, you may not know how to proceed. At CopyCat Legal, our dedicated team is ready to help you with any copyright issues you’re facing. Contact us today to learn how we will fight for you.

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