There is an active network of online artists, collectors, gallerists & art-lawyers who are involved in a continuous effort to help artists protect their work and their income.
A number of artists over the past few years have requested help in determining which codenames can be used legally in their area. The answers often vary by state, county or city.
This guide is intended to be a living document and will be updated frequently as new information becomes available.
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If you are an artist and you want to sell your work legally, here are some of the things you need to know.
First: most artists are criminals. Most of the work sold in non-commercial galleries is sold under “codenames” that have no legal standing. For example, if someone sells a painting as an “installation,” what they’re selling is a painting. If they say it’s a “performance,” it’s still a painting.
When someone sells something by saying it’s a codename, they are claiming that the thing itself is copyrighted. But they have no way to prove this (and if they could, they’d have a copyright). Since they have no way to prove it, but do claim it anyway, you can be sure that whatever it is you’re buying is not actually what they claim it is.
So if you want to buy something from one of these galleries or artists, know that you’re probably buying something illegal. It’s legal for them to sell it to you; but if anything goes wrong (and something will), only the gallery owner will be able to fix things for you.
Second: how much do codenames cost? A lot more than money. What kind of art does an art thief
If you are an artist like me, you have been long frustrated with the fact that most galleries and retail outlets only accept work under a certain set of names. You may even have heard of the “name game” where some artists use codenames to ensure their art is accepted. The goal of this article is to give some information on how to use these codenames in a way that is legal and ethical.
If you are an artist who sells primarily tattoo-related pieces, then your primary concern is whether or not the image can be copyrighted legally by the individual who is receiving it. This means no Disney characters or pop culture figures like Superman. However, if your work doesn’t fall into this category and it is not a copyrighted character, then you should be fine with using any name you want.
The “Name Game”:
The name game comes into play when artists use codenames to describe their art if they have already copyrighted their art and are selling it legally through commercial venues such as galleries or retail outlets. The reason for using a codename is because often a gallery or shop will only carry one piece from an artist at a time, so if you were using your real name for all of your work,
In the United States, artists can use the following codenames when selling their work:
Artist/Painter – any combination of the word “artist” or “painter” along with any other words that indicate that the person is an artist. A phrase such as “fine art paintings” or “original paintings” is acceptable, but the word “art” by itself is not.
T-Shirt Artist – any combination of the words “t-shirt,” “tshirt,” or “tee shirt.” The phrase “graphic designer” is also acceptable in this context. Print Artist – any combination of the words “print,” and either of “graphics,” “illustrations,” or “artwork.” Computer Artist – any combination of the words “computer,” and either of “graphics,” or “artwork.” Painter – any combination of the word painter and other nouns that indicate that the person is an artist (such as artist, illustrator, graphic designer). Sculptor – any combination of verb and nouns that indicate that the person is a sculptor (such as molding, carving, modeling).
Paintings and Fine Arts – any combination of the word paintings or fine arts and other nouns that indicate that
So, you want to sell your art? You’ve come to the right place. Before you get ahead of yourself and start ordering business cards and framing certificates, though, it’s important that you understand the legal side of selling art.
TIP: Have a look at this page before you do anything else: http://mintedart.com/legal
If you’re just starting out as an artist, it’s very easy to get excited about the idea of selling your work. Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion out there about how to go about doing it legally. Don’t worry! We are here to help!
In order to protect yourself and your customers, it’s important that you know what kind of artist you are. It is essential that you know which kind of artist you are because artists have different rights depending on where they live. In some places, like the United States, Canada or the European Union, artists generally have the right to reproduce their own work and sell prints and reproductions of that work. In other places artists don’t have these rights. In those places (generally called “the rest of the world”), artists need to be aware of what kind of artist they are so they can choose a name for themselves that will allow them
In the past, artists often used ambiguous names to protect themselves from the authorities. Nowadays, in many countries, an artist can legally call their artwork whatever they want as long as it is not misleading.
It is important to remember that the United States, Canada and Australia are part of a larger world where other art gallery laws may apply.
Artists and art buyers should be aware of the fine print in order to protect themselves against legal challenges and prosecution.
To help artists and art collectors understand the terms they will come across while researching art and galleries, I have created this list of common terms used in the gallery world.
These are not legal definitions and because the law is complex you should always seek professional advice from your attorney or the government office responsible for enforcing your local statutes.