A fairly significant amount of income for artists in various fields is accumulated from copyright remuneration paid for the use of their works of art. The possibility of receiving copyright-based remuneration for use of artworks is less significant for visual artists than for those in other fields of art. With the exception of works in the audiovisual field and photography, the user of a visual-arts work does not typically pay compensation for use of the work as seen in, for example, the domains of literature and music.
This is why copyright remuneration in the field of visual arts differs from that in other fields of art. In addition to remuneration related to the use of images, these artists have the right to receive exhibition and resale remuneration.
Remuneration related to use of visual art
The primary rule is that use of a work requires permission from the creator or other copyright holders. This applies to works of visual art, for example, when someone wants to publish a photograph of a work online. Also, an artist needs permission if wishing to use another artist’s work as part of his or her own work.
A licence is always needed, except in situations wherein use of the work belongs to the sphere of specially mentioned limitations of copyright. For images, the licence is granted by the artist or by Kuvasto ry on behalf of the artists it represents.
Public display of a work is one form of enabling the public’s access to a work. The artist is entitled to ‘exhibition remuneration’ for the public display of a work or copy of a work in his or her ownership.
The remuneration is paid to the artist or to Kuvasto ry on behalf of artists it represents.
Audiovisual works too are presented at exhibitions. With regard to these, however, we speak not of a public display but of public performance. On the Artists’ Association of Finland’s Web page, you can find separate instructions on audiovisual works and other combination works.
The opportunity to receive remuneration for an increase in the value of the works is more limited for visual artists than in other fields of art. This is why, in addition to other copyright remuneration, visual artists are entitled to special remuneration – applicable only for works of visual art – also when the work is being sold on.
This resale remuneration must be paid when a professional in the art market sells a work of visual art. Resale remuneration is not collected for the first sale of a work (i.e., a sale of a work when it is still in the ownership of the creator).
Payment of the resale remuneration is the responsibility of the professional taking part in the sale of the work: the seller, broker, or buyer. Dealings between consumers are not subject to resale remuneration.
Resale remuneration applies for all works of visual art. These include works made by the artist him- or herself and copies made by the artist or with his or her permission, so long as these have been produced in limited quantities. Resale remuneration shall be paid, for example, for resale of the following works: paintings, sculptures, drawings, glass and ceramic art, graphic art, photography, handicrafts, textile art and products of industrial art, installations, and works of video art.
The right to resale remuneration requires the work to be within its term of copyright protection. In Finland, the term of protection extends to 70 years from the end of the creator’s year of death.
Collection and payment of resale remuneration is administrated by Kuvasto ry (the Finnish copyright society for the visual arts). In a contrast to other copyright remuneration, Kuvasto ry ensures that resale remuneration is paid also to artists who are not members of the society. Payment also is made to foreign artists when their work is being sold in Finland.
Additional information on resale remuneration can be found on the Web site of Kuvasto ry.