What is copyright licensing?

Copyright licensing means you are granted permission by the copyright owner to use their artwork in a specific way for a specific purpose. Our licences are non-exclusive.

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How long does UK copyright last?

In the UK, copyright lasts for the lifetime of the artist plus 70 years after their death.

Other territories may give shorter periods of protection, but usually not less than the life of the artist plus 50 years. There are some special provisions which apply to older unpublished works.

Sound recordings, films, broadcasts and cable programmes are protected for 50 years from the date of making or the date of release if the release occurs within 50 years of it being made.

Copyright in typographical arrangements of a published edition lasts for 25 years from the end of the year in which the edition was first published.
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Which rights do you license?

We can license most rights in works by artists we represent and whose works are protected by copyright, as defined under the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 (as amended).

These include:

  • making a copy of the work

  • distributing copies of the work to the public

  • renting or lending copies of the work to the public

  • communicating copies of the work to the public

Our grant of rights is made on a one time, non-exclusive basis.


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Do you only deal with UK requests?

We are part of an international network of collecting agencies in 32 countries. This means that we can represent artists from these countries for use by UK customers. If you are based outside of the UK you will need to direct your request to the relevant collecting society in your country, who will liaise with us on your behalf.

This means that anyone wanting to reproduce artworks in those countries - whether a magazine in Tokyo, a television station in Australia or a book publisher in Germany - can speak to someone in their own language and time zone, and have a licence issued under their own country's laws. 

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Does the licence include the high resolution image?

A copyright fee covers the licence to reproduce a work of art only. There will be an additional charge for the supply of a high resolution image of the artwork.

We can supply high-res images of modern and contemporary art, together with a licence, through our digital image resource, Artimage. Browse Artimage.

If we don't have an image of the work you wish to license, then once you have received a licence from us, you must source the image from wherever it is held, which may be a gallery, image library, museum or similar.

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How are your prices calculated?

This depends on the specific licence, but generally, a charge is made per artistic work and for each use.

All our prices are based on the way in which an artwork is being used and how commercial the project is. For example, an artwork will command a higher fee the more prominently it is featured (eg on the front cover of a book, or in an advertising campaign).

For more specific advice, take a look at our price lists, select your industry and your anticipated use.

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How long do your licences last for?

This depends on the use. For example, book publishing licences last for ten years, whereas merchandise licences are usually for one year but can also be on a rolling contract.

To find out how long the specific licence you need lasts, take a look at our price lists, then select your industry and your anticipated use.

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What are your licensing principles?

We aim to protect the integrity of artworks by ensuring any licensed use meets the following criteria:
  • Colour is reproduced as faithfully as possible
  • The artist is credited as the creator of the work
  • The work is not cropped, overprinted or manipulated without the artist or estate's prior approval
  • The title of the work is cited accurately
  • The work is reproduced in its entirety
  • The work is not subjected to any derogatory treatment

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What's the process for issuing a licence?

This process is explained in "how to apply".

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What's the difference between a licence effective date and a planned date of use?

Copyright licences need to be in place in order for you to create a publication or product.

As soon as you start using an image during the creation of layouts or proofs your licence should be in effect. This is often before the print date.

The date that you start using an image should be entered in the Date licence needs to be effective from: box.
The Planned date of Use: refers to the date that the product goes live, is published, or is available to the public.

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