What kind of licence is it? A close-up on licensing for visual artists.

What kind of licence is it? A close-up on licensing for visual artists.

If you’re thinking about signing up with CLNZ, you might have a few questions about how our auction house licensing scheme works, and what’s covered. Or you might be signed up already and just want a refresher.

Applications are now open for a visual artist to join our new Visual Arts Working Group

About the CLNZ licence

You probably already know the bigger picture: when you sign up with us as an artist, you agree we can license your art to auction houses who hold a licence and want to reproduce it and collect a fee, which we then pay on to you. We do the licensing work; you retain your copyright and it’s free to join – you only pay via a deduction to any fees collected.

Here’s more of the detail. There is one set of licence terms – we set these out in the agreement you sign when you join us and they are the same for every artist signed up, and for every auction house which takes out the licence.

How can your art be used under the CLNZ licence?
When you join, you agree that the ways your work can be reproduced are the same from work to work and auction house to auction house. Our terms focus on common ways art is reproduced when it is promoted on the secondary market – for example, in printed and online catalogues, on social media and in catalogue archives. The full detail of how you agree your work can be used is set out in the Rights Agreement you sign when you join – and that detail is the same in the licensing scheme the auction houses sign.

Fairness, clarity and smooth administration
We operate this way because fairness, clarity and smooth administration are important to us. Using one, clear set of terms means that in every instance, artists know what’s permitted, and so do the auction houses. It’s a common way of managing licensing collectively: similar licensing schemes are operated by organisations like CLNZ in many different countries.

How is the CLNZ scheme different from an individual licence?
Using an individual licence, terms can be agreed for each art work, or with each user of a creative work, each time. Individual licensing is best for one-to-one, artist-to-user licensing, while blanket licences like ours operate effectively when there are multiple artists’ works being copied, and multiple users of those works.

Is there scope for individual licensing arrangements?
One day, we hope to be able to offer additional services that could include individual licensing but it’s not something we’re able to offer yet. Our work in visual art licensing is in its early stages, and so one of the things we’re focused on right now is showing auction houses why it’s important to do the right thing and license.

But, we think it’s fair to say that working alongside visual artists, we can do great things. We believe that over time, as more and more artists join us, the more we’ll be able to achieve.

Sign up to our Auction House Licensing Scheme.

Find out more: Spot the difference: what’s a resale royalty and what’s licensing

Photo by Alex Perez on Unsplash

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