Do I need a release form for commissioned portraits?

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PostDo I need a release form for commissioned portraits?

by Mr Purple Poverty » Thu Jul 14, 2011 1:04 am

Hi I'm new here.

I have a couple of legal questions about paintings for anyone who might be able to answer or has had experience of this kind of thing:

1) If I have painted a portait of someone who has commissioned a painting from me, do I need to obtain a release form in order to display a photograph of the painting (as part of my portfolio either online or elsewhere) which contains their image? The subject of my painting doesn't wish to have the painting shown publicly either on my website or on social media because they think it is an extremely private affair (the work is not a nude or anything like that, but just a completely normal painting).

I know that with photographs, you normally have to obtain a release form and get the subject to sign it if it is showing a picture of them, otherwise it might be seen as invasion of privacy, unless used for private, research or educational purposes (ie anything non-commercial). However, is it the same for paintings as for photographs? The whole essence of a painter's work is to display their work for others to see, particularly any commissioned work they may have undertaken, and precisely for commercial purposes to attract new business. It would be a serious limitation and hindrance if you can't even show your own work to others. It would be like gaining experience in a job/ gaining a qualification, but never being able to show it on your CV, which amounts to you not having the experience at all.

Should I have obtained a release form? It is too late now, because the subject has already indicated that they aren't willing to have it displayed, so it is highly unlikely they would want to sign a release form now. However, as the artist, am I still legally entitled to show the work that contains that person's image?

2) If the person who has commissioned the painting has bought it from you, are you effectively assigning your copyright in the painting to that person by the fact that they have paid for it, or do those intellectual property rights still remain with you, the artist? If they still remain with the artist, shouldn't I have the right to display my own work? I would've thought that while I may be assigning the physical property rights through the sale of the painting, the intellectual property rights remain with me.

Any help or suggestions appreciated.
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PostRe: Do I need a release form for commissioned portraits?

by marystubberfield » Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:53 pm

the designers and Artist Copyright Society are experts (DACS) you can see their website and ask for advice:
I don't do portraits so am not sure about release forms!

Good luck
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PostRe: Do I need a release form for commissioned portraits?

by martinstone » Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:57 pm

its actually the other way around, the copy right of the art work remains the creative property of the artist to do with as he wishes unless you being the artist, gives it to the client via a negotiated arrangement, if you do give away the copy right, you should negotiate very hard and bare in mind that the art work will be around for a lot longer than you, thus you will be assigning the copy right and any future revenue made by the marketing or mass production of that image to a client family and future family and thus depriving your family and any future relations, or offspring of future revenue, via the mass production or other means of the image and may even have an effect on artist resale rights. in short i would not do it.
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