Legalities relating to selling your work as a fine art

Most artists and their customers are unaware of the rights and obligations they each have when an artwork is sold. Many sophisticated high-end art collectors, still think that they can even make copies of paintings they buy, or that they can alter the works.

Besides, most artists and buyers, and even many professional art dealers, are unaware of the resale royalty. And many artists are not aware of the implied warranties that might attach to sales of their work. 

Most artists give their customers a simple receipt when they buy an artwork instead of a more comprehensive sales agreement. That's not a good way that  you can let your purchasers know about your continuing rights in the artwork, and protect yourself from potential claims that the artwork is defective. 

Some comprehensive sales terms that address these concerns:

 Ownership. Artist must retain title to the Artwork until the payment is made in full.

 California Resale Royalty. If Purchaser sells the Artwork, Purchaser shall pay to Artist a resale royalty of five percent (5%) of the amount of such sale, as required by the California Resale Royalties Act (Cal. Civ. Code 986).