Neil Podbery Fine Art

DACS - Valuing Visual Arts
*Commissioned Works

The issue of whether a work was commissioned is relevant to the question of the first ownership of copyright in the work. However, the duration of copyright protection for commissioned works is calculated according to the 1995 Regulations.

Works commissioned on or after 1 August 1989.

There are no specific provisions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 regarding commissioned works, and hence copyright in commissioned works vests in the Artist creating the work unless there is a written agreement to the contrary by which the copyright is assigned.

A commissioner, however, might well gain a licence to use the work, at least for the purposes contemplated by the terms of the commission.

Copyright is a valuable asset from which income may be derived after your death. Copyright in artistic works currently lasts for 70 years from the death of the creator. By retaining the copyright in your works throughout your life you then have the ability to pass the copyright to whomever you wish on your death. In order to ensure that your copyright passes in accordance with your wishes on your death it is important to make a clear provision in your Will regarding copyright and who you would like to inherit it (including the right to receive royalty payments). The recipients of the assets which form the subject of your Will are called 'beneficiaries'.

By virtue of the Regulations, Artist's Resale Right lasts for as long as the copyright in the work. In the UK this right currently only applies to living artists and will not apply to the beneficiaries of deceased artists in the UK until 2012.
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