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If I sell my work to a collector, gallery or museum, will I still be the owner of the copyrights on my work ?

Articles L111-1 and L111-3 of the Intellectual Property Code are clear: the ownership of the material form of the work and the immaterial property, namely the copyrights (right of reproduction and representation) are separate and distinct from each other.

This is why the sale of the material form of the work shall not give rise to the automatic transfer of the copyright over the work in question to the buyer. In other words, the buyer of the physical medium of the work will not be granted the right to reproduce and represent the work by virtue of the mere fact of having purchased the material form of the work.

The buyer of a painting should for example acquire the copyrights under a contract if he/she wishes to legally reproduce the painting as posters.

In general, the creation of a commissioned work should only be undertaken following approval of a quotation by the commissioner and the signature of the contract setting out the obligations of each of the parties in respect of the conditions for the creation and sale of the original work.

The transfer of copyright, if requested by the commissioner, should be expressly indicated in the contract and should contain the compulsory statements as provided for in Article L131-3 of the Intellectual Property Code (identification of the rights transferred, the extent of the transfer, the destination of the transfer, the territory and term of use). In addition, the invoice should be detailed by item to avoid any ambiguity (distinguishing between creative fees, the sales price of the work and the price of the transfer of copyright).