Complete Guide of Copyright on a Painting- Who Owns It?

The copyrights are the bundles' rights that subsist in the original work of the author. The copyright painting laws aim to protect your work from the infringers. It is one of the most powerful rights that safeguard your creative work from the third parties and enables to you control your work.

Copyright Ownership of Painting:

Copyright means that you are the owner of your work and you have only right to reproduce, distribute, publically displayed or sell. In the event, if someone does the same, you can use the rights to your advantages and file a copyright infringement claim against him. Hence, other people need your permission which is in a legal term called copyright licensing to do any of these work. That’s the reason why copyright ownership is different from ordinary ownership.

Let’s understand the advantage of copyright with this example. If you create a canvas, fixed and tangible expression. The physical work is the canvas with oil paint you used. You own it until you sell to someone. If you have sold to someone else, you lose your ownership of the physical painting, but still, you own the copyright to the image you painted. Buying a physical painting doesn’t give someone copyright of the painting until you transfer copyright painting in written.

The copyright painting ownership be with the author until-

He specifically signed over their copyright to a buyer.

It was done as work for hire.

The copyright has expired.

Just be sure, before selling or transferring copyright painting ownership to someone else. Make the ownership of the copyright clear to avoid ambiguity in future.

How a Painter can clarify his copyright ownership?

For a painter, it is very puzzling to state his ownership over his art. Anyone would think that it is fine to copy the design and reproduce it. Don’t let anyone take your credibility. You can stop this type of infringements by registering your work at the copyright office. It enjoys your piece of painting so much doesn’t mean they can steal your design. Protect your art with painting copyright laws. Because you published copyrighted arts no one can use your design until and unless you give him permission to do so.

What you can do as a painter to make this clear buyer? All you need is to do, add a concise copyright note at the back of the painting. In this way, you can protect your painting from future confusion and copyright infringement.

What does copyright painting protect?

Copyrights start when work is created, but it must be fixed and tangible expression. Any work which is created by your own can be protected by the copyright. In painting, there is some sort of copyrightable material that is listed below.

•    Paintings.

•    Drawings.

•    Sculptures.

•    Installations.

•    Cartoons and Graphics arts.

•    Maps and plans.

•    Photographs.

•    Engravings.

•    Craftwork.

How do I copyright my work?

In order to copyright your work, you have to submit an application at the copyright office. Along with the appropriate application filing fee and the copy of work to be registered. Once you have submitted your application and work. Copyright examiner examines your work with some strict measures. In the event, if they found your work is copied, they have the rights to reject your application. But, if your work is original and creative, copyright painting certification will be granted. The general rule for the copyright painting registration is, the application for registration should be submitted for each work together with a separate filing fee and deposit copy. Copyright painting registration is not as easy as it seems. It is advisable to hire a legal advisor who can do all the legal formalities on your behalf. And also settle the obstacles if it comes.

What is licensing?

A copyrighted artist has the right to transfer his original work to the third party by issuing a copyright license. If you allow someone to use your work, you should use a written license. For instance, if a theatre director wants to use your photographs and painting for the set play, you would ask them to draft a written contract which is called license.

What is copyright fair use in India?

An artist who has used your work for the non-profit educational purposes is known as fair use. To protect oneself from the painting copyright infringement “fair use” is a great defense object that saves you against allegations.

Some Copyright Fair use Guidelines:

•    The nature of purpose and how much portion you have reproduced, or publically displayed of a copyholder painter.

•    The effect of the use of the painting publically.

•    It will be satisfied if someone uses the copyrighted painting for non-commercial teaching purpose, or for reporting.

What is work for hire?

This is one of the daunting parts to understand. “Work for hire” means that you created work as an employee of a company, which directly refers to the ownership belongs to the company, not yours. If you are a freelancer, you create a painting for your client, the actual owner of the painting is your client, not you. This situation will come more often when you work as an employee and a freelancer.

Some Copyright painting Legal Tips:

•    Keep your work in a fixed and tangible form of expression like documented, or crafted on the paper.

•    Show you own copyright by adding “the copyright notice”, your name, copyright symbol, surname at the back and below of the painting.

•    You might own the copyright painting ownership if you work for someone else.

•    You might own the copyright painting ownership if you get paid for your work.

•    If someone reproduces, distribute, publically displayed your work without taking licensing you can take the strict action against it.

Final say:

When we create some work originally, we love to receive credibility. So, if you don’t want to let your credibility out of your hands, just copyright your work. It is one of the powerful weapons which protect your work round the clock from the copyright infringement.

Recent posts

Why choose Unilex?

Well with highly qualified professionals in our team along with the technology gives edge over others, as a result highly rated professional services with full customer satisfaction is assured. We help to grow and manage your business letting you to concentrate on your business.


MSME Registered

Unilex is registered with the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME), a part of Government of India.


ISO 9001:2015 Certified

Unilex is a ISO certified body, assuring the quality professional services to aspiring startups


Money Back Guarantee

Subject to our terms and conditions, money back is guaranteed if we failed to give 100% customer satisfaction


Google Partner

Unilex is a Google Partner. Google Partners are tasked with helping businesses market their service or products online.



Satisfied Enterprenuers



Team Strength


10 years+

Professional experience



Services delivered


Learning center

Learning never stops

Get yourself updated with various start-up/Entrepreneurship laws applicable in India. Dive into our well written articles/blogs by our experts and get more information on government regulations and company rules and regulations.

Start Learning