When an artist here in New York or elsewhere partners with a gallery, it is meant to mutually benefit both parties. The artist has a chance to showcase his or her work, and the gallery makes a commission on any sales of the work. There is a sense of trust between both parties that they will act in one another’s best interest. Violating that trust isn’t just morally wrong, it may be unlawful. An out-of-state artist recently filed a copyright infringement claim against a gallery owner, alleging that the owner copied her paintings.
According to the artist’s civil claim, she and the gallery owner partnered last year to showcase several of the artist’s paintings at the gallery. The artist took several paintings to the gallery where they stayed for about a week. The artist claims the gallery owner asked her to come pick up the work, which she did. The artist then took the paintings to another showing because she said she was not under contract with the gallery owner.
The artist claims that soon afterwards, the gallery owner was selling paintings that looked very similar to hers for a much lower price. She says that she reached out to the gallery owner in a letter, and the owner responded that she would take the works out of her gallery and off of her website. However, the artist alleges that the paintings were not taken off the owner’s website for several months. The artist is now suing the gallery owner for copyright infringement.
This case shows just how important it is that artists of all mediums ensure that their work is legally protected. Copyright law exists to safeguard artists from those who might misuse their work without proper monetary compensation to the person who originally created it. Filing a copyright infringement claim with an experienced attorney here in New York can help artists ensure that their creations are distributed as they see fit and that they profit accordingly.