I am donating a large print of mine of a baseball stadium to a museum that wishes to display it (yes, pat pat on back). If anyone has done this do they have an idea of the form of agreement that should be used? The museum wants to simply say it is for display/educational purposes and won't be sold. I would like to make it clear that I retain copyright ownership and all commercial rights. Anyone done anything like this?
Re: Museum Donation
Alan, since there's no answer... can't say that i had the honor of museum donation, but from experience from either gallery/exhibits or other subjects than photography (paintings, sculptures...) related to museum, here's my take fwiw:
You're right about commercial ownership and rights, though there's a few snags attached to the nature of exhibited work.
- exhibition catalogs: for this you usually simply have to waive all rights for this specific purpose. Notwithstanding, each reproduction should clearly stipulate the artist's name and copyright.
- all other advertising material for the exhibition (posters, press packages, website...) fall pretty much under the same kind of deal, but have their own particularities, for example (possibly) watermarks for the website.
- Posters need to be strictly separated in two kinds: 1/ communication&marketing material and 2/ items fo sale. On the latter, if you want to retain commercial rights the contract should feature details such as fees and/or royalties, possibly specific prints size and forms and, depending on the size of the exhibition, duration of the agreement.
- (it's less a problem now that they're not as trendy as before, but the same goes with video and interactive media such as "CD-ROM", DVD etc.)
- a tricky matter: material photographed or filmed by visitors... this should be taken care of by the museum, either by enforcing a "no photography" policy or by stating clearly to all visitors that such captures should be restricted to private use.
- insurance: it might be less a problem in the digital age for photography material than it used to be, or still is for many art forms, but if the artwork has any value (including printing costs, framing etc.), the contract should feature a detailed insurance policy. At least the topics of destruction (fire, water), damages (visitors, staff, maintenance) and theft should be covered with respective values and means of evaluation (typically if there's a disagreement on damage level or responsability after the fact).
Obviously i'm no lawyer, so all this is in layman's terms.
Normally all museums and serious galleries have some kind of agreement model covering these points.
If they dont, and you're willing to make 100% sure of your rights, there's no way around a lawyer. In most cases though, if the artwork is not too critical, or commercially valuable, then an less formal written agreement covering some of the points listed above and who's taking responsability for what, will do fine.
After all, it's always nice to have work displayed in a museum or gallery, and generally can't hurt an artist's recognition (nor ego)
By the way... Congratulations!
Last edited by Corlan F.; 25th September 2010 at 02:47.
Re: Museum Donation
Thanks Corlan, I am a lawyer myself but not in this area of the law, so I am consulting with someone. As of now, all I am donating is the print, and I will reserve all other rights, including reproduction. There is a another museum that wants a copy for their research archives but not to display (the two museums are fine with each other having what they want; I've checked).
I am pleased to say the least. As an amateur, I've been in shows but nothing like this.
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