Rhode Island General Laws CHAPTER 5-62
Works of Art – Artists' Rights
Index Of Sections
§ 5-62-1 [Reserved.].
§ 5-62-2 Definitions.
§ 5-62-3 Public display, publication and reproduction of works of fine art.
§ 5-62-4 Artists' authorship rights.
§ 5-62-5 Limitations of applicability.
§ 5-62-6 Relief.
§ 5-62-7 Artists – Art merchant relationships.
§ 5-62-8 Exemption from seizure.
§ 5-62-9 Express warranties.
§ 5-62-10 Falsifying certificates of authenticity or any similar written instrument.
§ 5-62-11 Express warranties for multiples.
§ 5-62-12 Construction.
§ 5-62-2 Definitions. – Whenever used in this chapter except where the context clearly requires, the terms listed below have the following meanings:
(1) "Artist" means the creator of a work of fine art or, in the case of multiples, the person who conceived or created the image which is contained in or which constitutes the master from which the individual print was made;
(2) "Conservation" means acts taken to correct deterioration and alteration and acts taken to prevent, stop, or retard deterioration;
(3) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other group, however organized;
(4) "Reproduction" means a copy, in any medium, of a work of fine art, that is displayed or published under circumstances that, reasonably construed, evinces an intent that it be taken as a representation of a work of fine art as created by the artist;
(5) "Work of fine art" means any original work of
or graphic art of any medium which includes, but is not limited to, the
following: painting; drawing; print; photographic print or sculpture of
a limited edition of no more than three hundred (300) copies;
provided, that "work of fine art" does not include sequential imagery such as that in motion pictures;
(6) "Art merchant" means a person who is in the business of dealing, exclusively or non-exclusively, in works of fine art or multiples, or a person who by his or her occupation holds himself or herself out as having knowledge or skill peculiar to those works, or to whom that knowledge or skill may be attributed by his or her employment of an agent or other intermediary who by his or her occupation holds himself or herself out as having that knowledge or skill. The term "art merchant" includes an auctioneer who sells art works at public auction, and except in the case of multiples, includes persons, not otherwise defined or treated as art merchants in this section, who are consignors or principals of auctioneers;
(7) "Author" or "authorship" refers to the creator of a work of fine art or multiple or to the period, culture, source or origin, as the case may be, with which the creation of that work is identified in the description of the work;
(8) "Creditors" means "creditor" as defined in subdivision (12) of § 1-201 of the Uniform Commercial Code, § 6A-1-201;
(9) "Counterfeit" means a work of fine art or multiple made, altered or copied, with or without intent to deceive, in any manner that it appears or is claimed to have an authorship which it does not in fact possess;
(10) "Certificate of authenticity" means a written statement by an art merchant confirming, approving or attesting to the authorship of a work of fine art or multiple, which is capable of being used to the advantage or disadvantage of some person;
(11) "Craft" means a functional or non-functional work individually designed, and crafted by hand, in any medium including, but not limited to, textile, tile, paper, clay, glass, fiber, wood, metal or plastic; provided, however, that if produced in multiples, craft does not include works mass produced or produced in other than a limited edition;
(12) "Limited edition" means works of art produced from
a master, all of which are the same image and bear numbers or other
to denote the limited production of the work to a stated maximum number
of multiples, or are otherwise held out as limited
to a maximum number of multiples;
(13) "Master" when used alone is used in lieu of and means the same as such things as printing plate, stone, block, screen, photographic negative or other like material which contains an image used to produce visual art objects in multiples, or in the case of sculptures, a mold, model, cast, form or other prototype, other than from glass, which additional multiples of sculpture are produced, fabricated or carved;
(14) "Print" in addition to meaning a multiple produced by, but not limited to, such processes as engraving, etching, woodcutting, lithography and serigraphy, also means multiples produced or developed from photographic negatives, or any combination of these processes;
(15) "Proofs" means multiples which are the same as, and which are produced from the same masters as, the multiples in a limited edition, but which, whether so designated or not, are set aside from and are in addition to the limited edition to which they relate;
(16) "Reproduction right" means a right to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute copies of, publicly perform or publicly display a work of fine art;
(17) "Sculpture" means a three-dimensional fine art object produced, fabricated or carved in multiple from a mold, model, cast, form or other prototype, other than from glass, sold, offered for sale or consigned in, into or from this state for an amount in excess of fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500);
(18) "Signed" means autographed by the artist's own hand, and not by mechanical means of reproduction, after the multiple was produced, whether or not the master was signed or unsigned;
(19) "Visual art multiples" or "multiples" means
photographs, positive or negative, sculpture and similar art objects
in more than one copy and sold, offered for sale or consigned in, into
or from this state for an amount in excess of one
hundred dollars ($100) exclusive of any frame or in the case of sculpture, an amount in excess of fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500). Pages or sheets taken from books and magazines and offered for sale or sold as visual art objects shall be included, but books and magazines are excluded;
(20) "Written instrument" means a written or printed
bill of sale, invoice, certificate of authenticity, catalogue or any
written or printed note or memorandum or label describing the work of
art or multiple which is to be sold, exchanged or
cosigned by an art merchant.
(21) "On consignment" means that no title to, estate
or right to possession of, the work of fine art or multiple that is
to that of the cosigner vests in the cosignee, notwithstanding the
power or authority to transfer or convey all the right, title
and interest of the cosignor, in and to such work, to a third person.
§ 5-62-3 Public display, publication and
of works of fine art. – Except as limited by § 5-62-5 no person
than the artist or a person acting with the artist's consent knowingly
displays in a public exhibition a work of fine art of that artist or
publishes a reproduction of a work of the artist in an altered, defaced, mutilated, or modified form, if the work is displayed, published, or reproduced as being the work of the artist, or under circumstances under which it would reasonably be regarded as being the work of the artist.
§ 5-62-4 Artists' authorship rights. – (a)
as limited by § 5-62-5 the artist retains at all times the right
claim authorship, or, for just and valid reason, to disclaim authorship
of his or her work of fine art. The right to claim authorship includes
the right of the artist to have his or her name appear on or in
with the work of fine art as the artist. Just and valid reason for
authorship includes that the work of fine art has been altered,
mutilated, or modified other than by the artist, without the
artist's consent, and damage to the artist's reputation is reasonably likely to result or has resulted from this.
(b) The rights created by this section exist in addition to any other rights and duties which may now or in the future be applicable.
§ 5-62-5 Limitations of applicability. – (a)
Alteration, defacement, mutilation, or modification of a work of fine
resulting from the passage of time or the inherent nature of the
will not by itself create a violation of § 5-62-3 or a right to
authorship under § 5-62-4(a); provided, that the alteration, defacement, mutilation, or modification was not the result of gross negligence in maintaining or protecting the work of fine art.
(b) In the case of a reproduction, a change that is an ordinary result of the medium of reproduction does not by itself create a violation of § 5-62-3 or a right to disclaim authorship under § 5-62-4(a).
(c) Conservation does not constitute an alteration, defacement, mutilation, or modification within the meaning of this chapter unless the conservation work is shown to be negligent.
(d) This chapter does not apply to work prepared under contract for advertising or trade use unless the contract provides.
(e) The provisions of this chapter apply only to works of fine art knowingly displayed in a place accessible to the public, published, or reproduced in this state.
§ 5-62-6 Relief. – (a) An artist aggrieved under § 5-62-3 or 5-62-4 has a cause of action for legal and injunctive relief.
(b) No action may be maintained to enforce any liability under this article unless brought within three (3) years of the act complained of or one year after the constructive discovery of the act, whichever is longer.
§ 5-62-7 Artists – Art merchant relationships. – (a) Notwithstanding any custom, practice or usage of the trade, any provision of the Uniform Commercial Code or any other law, statute, requirement or rule, or any agreement, note, memorandum or writing to the contrary:
(1) Whenever an artist or craftperson, his or her heirs or personal representatives, delivers or causes to be delivered a work of fine art, craft or a print of his or her own creation to an art merchant for the purpose of exhibition and/or sale on a commission, fee or other basis of compensation, the delivery to an acceptance of the work or print by the art merchant establishes a cosignor/cosignee relationship as between the artist or craftsperson and the art merchant with respect to the work, and,
(i) The cosignee shall thereafter be deemed to be the agent of the cosignor with respect to the work;
(ii) The work is trust property in the hands of the cosignee for the benefit of the cosignor;
(iii) Any proceeds from the sale of the work are trust funds in the hands of the cosignee for the benefit of the cosignor;
(iv) The work shall remain trust property
its purchase by the cosignee for his or her own account until the price
is paid in full to the cosignor; provided that, if the work is resold
a bona fide third party before the cosignor has been paid in full, the
resale proceeds are trust funds in the hands of the cosignee for the benefit of the cosignor to the extent necessary to pay any balance still due to the cosignor and the trusteeship shall continue until the fiduciary obligation of the cosignee with respect to the
transaction is discharged in full; and
(v) No trust property or trust funds are subject or subordinate to any claims, liens or security interest of any kind or nature whatsoever.
(2) Waiver of any provision of this section is absolutely void except that a cosignor may lawfully waive the provisions of subparagraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section, if the waiver is clear, conspicuous, in writing and subscribed by the cosignor, provided:
(i) No waiver is valid with respect to the first two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) of gross proceeds of sales received in any twelve (12) month period commencing with the date of the execution of the waiver;
(ii) No waiver is valid with respect to the proceeds of a work initially received on consignment but subsequently purchased by the cosignee directly or indirectly for his or her own account; and
(iii) No waiver inures to the benefit of the cosignee's creditors in any manner which might be inconsistent with the cosignor's rights under this section.
(3) Proceeds from the sale of cosigned works covered by this section are deemed to be revenue from the sale of tangible goods, and not revenue from the provision of services to the cosignor or others, except that the provisions of this paragraph do not apply to proceeds from the sale of cosigned works sold at public auction.
(b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to have any effect upon any written or oral contract or arrangement in existence prior to September 1, 2000 or to any extensions or renewals of a contract, except by mutual written consent of the parties of the contract.
§ 5-62-8 Exemption from seizure. – No process of attachment, execution, sequestration, replevin, distress or any kind of seizure shall be served or levied upon any work of fine art while the work is en route to or from, or while on exhibition or deposited by a nonresident exhibitor at any exhibition held under the auspices or supervision of any museum, college, university or other nonprofit art gallery, institution or organization within any city or county of this state for any cultural, educational, charitable or other purpose not conducted for profit to the exhibitor, nor shall the work of fine art be subject to attachment, seizure, levy or sale, for any cause whatever in the hands of the authorities of the exhibition or otherwise.
§ 5-62-9 Express warranties. – Notwithstanding any provision of any other law to the contrary:
(1) Whenever an art merchant, in selling or exchanging a work of fine art, furnishes to a buyer of the work who is not an art merchant a certificate of authenticity or any similar written instrument it:
(i) Shall be presumed to be part of the basis of the bargain; and
(ii) Creates an express warranty for the material facts stated as of the date of the sale or exchange.
(2) Except as provided in subdivision (4) of this section, the warranty shall not be negated or limited provided that in construing the degree of warranty, due regard shall be given the terminology used and the meaning accorded the terminology by the customs and usage of the trade at the time and in the locality where the sale or exchange took place.
(3) Language used in a certificate of authenticity or similar written instrument, stating that:
(i) The work is by a named author or has a named authorship, without any limiting words, means unequivocally, that the work is by the named author or has the named authorship;
(ii) The work is "attributed to a named author" means a work of the period of the author, attributed to him or her, but not with certainty by him or her; or
(iii) The work is of the "school of a named author" means a work of the period of the author, by a pupil or close follower of the author, but not by the author.
(4) An express warranty and disclaimers intended to
or limit a warranty shall be construed, wherever reasonable, as
with each other, but subject to the provisions of § 2-202 of the
Commercial Code, § 6A-2-202, on parole or
extrinsic evidence, negation or limitation is inoperative to the extent that the construction is unreasonable.
(ii) A negation or limitation is deemed unreasonable if:
(A) The disclaimer is not conspicuous, written and
from the warranty, in words which clearly and specifically apprise the
buyer that the seller assumes no risk, liability or responsibility for
the material facts stated concerning the work of fine art. Words of
general disclaimer are not sufficient to negate or limit an express warranty; or
(B) The work of fine art is proved to be a counterfeit and this was not clearly indicated in the description of the work; or
(C) The information provided is proved to be, as of the date of sale or exchange, false, mistaken or erroneous.
§ 5-62-10 Falsifying certificates of authenticity or any similar written instrument. – A person who, with intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, makes, utters or issues a certificate of authenticity, or any similar written instrument for a work of fine art attesting to material facts which the work does not in fact possess, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
§ 5-62-11 Express warranties for multiples. – (a) When an art merchant furnishes the name of the artist of a multiple, or otherwise furnishes information required by this title for any time period as to transactions including offers, sales or consignments, the provisions of § 5-62-9 shall apply, except that the section is deemed to include sales to art merchants. The existence of a reasonable basis in fact for information warranted is not a defense in an action to enforce the warranty, except in the case of photographs produced prior to nineteen hundred fifty, and multiples produced prior to nineteen hundred.
(b) The provisions of § 5-62-9(4) apply when an
merchant disclaims knowledge as to a multiple about which information
required by this title, provided that in addition, the disclaimer is
unless clearly, specifically and categorically stated as to
each item of information and contained in the physical context of other language setting forth the required information as to a specific multiple.
§ 5-62-12 Construction. – (a) The rights and
liabilities created by this chapter shall be construed to be in
to and not in substitution, exclusion or displacement of other rights
liabilities provided by law, including the law of principal and agent,
where the construction would, as a matter of law, be unreasonable.
(b) No art merchant who, as buyer, is excluded from
the benefits of an express warranty under this chapter, shall be
of the benefits of any other provision of law by that exclusion.