Understanding Exclusivity in an Artist Contract

If you happen to be an artist, and you are signing a contract, then you might come across some exclusivity terms. Most artists often overlook it because they are too ecstatic of the fact that they are about to make some money. However, the term exclusivity mostly refers to a condition that ensures that the artist cannot create or sell reproductions of the work that he or she has done. Which simply means that if you have just painted something for a client under the contract, once you get paid, you are basically transferring the ownership of that painting to the client, and no matter what you do, you cannot sell or recreate the same painting you just sold.

How Can I Tell?

Well, the thing is that the contracts that you sign follow a certain wording that can tell a lot of things. If the wording talks about how you are transferring the copyrights to the client, it simply means that you are signing the exclusivity part of the deal. Additionally, exclusivity can also be worded like stating that you are not allowed to sell any prints, or reproduce the same artwork.

If you are not sure about what the wording means or indicates, simply talk to the client, or better yet higher legal advice.

Should You Go For Exclusivity?

This is something that is entirely on you. Just keep in mind that if selling prints helps your business in generating any sort of income, you should keep in mind that signing the deal will rid you of that income source. You can compensate for that by increasing the price of the artwork that you are selling and see if the client agrees.

Can I Refuse The Exclusivity Request?

Well, of course, you can. As long as you have not signed the contract, the artwork belongs to you. However, there are certain situations under which you should simply refuse to sign the exclusivity contract.

  1. If you are simply not okay with signing away any rights to the artwork that you have just created. This is because you can still profit from the artwork in the form of prints, and by signing the contract, you are giving away your rights.
  2. In another situation, if you think that the money that the client is offering you is not enough based on the artwork that you have created, you can refuse to sign the contract. However, in a situation like that, if you are okay with letting go of the rights, but you want to be given more money just because you think that the artwork is worth more, then you do have the right to ask for more money.

Once you go through these, you will actually start understanding how the exclusivity section in the artist contracts works. Do not worry if you are overwhelmed at first, as many people are. Giving away rights is not always bad either.