Collaboration in art
Many artists choose to work together on their works. Well known joint authors include Gilbert and George and Jake and Dinos Chapman. There are many reasons why artist choose to work this way, from inspiring each other to encouragement for taking risks.
Artists have also worked with studio assistants who often take on the majority of the work in a piece leaving the lead artist to simply add the final touches.
The advantages of working in these ways are that it can save artists valuable time, allow them to include skills which they cannot achieve in their pieces, enable artists to produce larger volumes of work and thus make more money. There are also however, a wide range of problems that arise when artists collaborate. These can be emotional issues but can also be complicated in the eyes of the law.
In collaborations it is important to try and come up with a written agreement. An agreement should include first and foremost, who the author/authors are of the work. Without having this in writing it can be incredibly hard to discern who was involved in the making of the work and the extent to which they did. A written agreement should explain whether the collaborator is an assistant or a joint author before work begins. This will make it clear who to attribute the work to and save on any disagreements when the work is complete.
If you are collaborating with someone who you will class as a joint author of the piece, as opposed to an assistant it is important that you explain in your agreement how any money involved with the piece will be divided and what would happen should one of the authors leave the collaboration. Disputes often arise when joint work becomes successful so it is advisable to have an agreement in place before you even start on the work as everyone involved is more likely to be fair and willing to compromise at an early stage.
The death of a member of a collaboration can also cause problems if a clause for this has not been written into an agreement beforehand. The problems arise when it comes to deciding who has the right to complete or release any work that was undertaken before the member of the collaboration passed away.
Intellectual property rights such as copyrights and moral rights last for the length of the last surviving joint authors life and 70 years after they die (unless the work is computer generated in which it will last 50 from the end of the year in which the work was created). To transfer the copyright to another owner, all the joint collaborators will need to agree in writing before it can be transferred. The same goes for issuing exclusive copyright licenses. Any of the members of a collaboration have the right to take legal action against something which they believe has infringed their copyright.
Artistic collaborations are an important part of the artistic community and it is important that those deciding to start a collaboration come up with an agreement to protect and clarify all elements of their work that may come under scrutiny should there be a disagreement. An agreement can also help outline where the collaborators wish to go with their vision and how they wish to achieve this.
Share your experiences
Please note: The views expressed in community areas of this site do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of Law on the Web, its owners, its staff or contributors.
The legislation concerning intellectual property in the media is important so the creator of an idea can claim ownership of their creative endeavour.Find out more
The concept of copyright is a formal legal statement of what many people take to be common sense nowadays, granting rights to the creator of a work.Find out more
Patents are most commonly associated with inventions and the subsequent protection an invention receives from having an application granted.Find out more