How do I sell my artwork online in the ‘right way’? 

Photo by John Schnobrich at Unsplash.
Photo by John Schnobrich at Unsplash.

Many artists who contact Arts Law sell their artwork online directly. It can be a bit daunting uploading your precious artwork for the first time for the world to see. As an artist, you want to make sure you and your artworks are adequately protected. There are also terms which must be in place to protect the consumer.  

Through our telephone legal advice sessions, Arts Law can talk you through what is required to draft a terms and conditions of sale for your artwork and advise you on how to promote and publish your artwork in a way which will reduce the risk of third party copying. An artist may wish to include their terms and conditions of sale on their website if they have one, or alternatively they can send such terms to an interested buyer upon enquiry. When determining the value of an artwork, it might be helpful to contact the National Association for the Visual Arts (NAVA) for guidance – 

Our client Jacqueline is a talented artist who has created an artwork which is culturally sensitive and personally close to her heart. She has made the decision to sell her work online and has sought advice on how to do this in a way which will ensure the integrity of her work is retained. Jacqueline intends on selling her artwork via YouTube and wishes to upload a slideshow to present to prospective buyers.  

The solicitor was informative, knowledgeable, forward thinking, and professional. 


She has decided to sell the work but not without ensuring the sale is handled in an appropriate and respectful manner. We were able to guide her through what to consider and include in a terms and conditions of sale template. We advised Jacqueline to consider including at a minimum the following terms and conditions: 

  • Description and background of the artwork. 
  • Price and whether it includes GST. 
  • Proof of authenticity. 
  • Dimensions and materials of the work. 
  • Copyright notice – setting out the fact that copyright ownership remains with the artist and the purchaser is to use the artwork for personal enjoyment only.  
  • Honouring of moral rights – that the purchaser will continue to credit the artist and not use the artwork in a derogatory manner which damages the reputation of the artist and the integrity of the work. For example, pulling the artwork apart or using it in an offensive manner. 
  • Cultural significance or Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) – whether there are any cultural sensitivities linked to the artwork which the purchase must respect by communicating the significance to third parties. 
  • Resale terms – whether as the artist you wish to have the right of first refusal to buy back the artwork or at a minimum set out the conditions under which the artwork is resold. 
  • Bank details 
  • Disclaimer wording for third party payment processing platforms such as Square or Stripe (if applicable)  
  • Freight insurance – whether the seller or purchaser covers the insurance during transit. 
  • Returns policy – whether a change of mind is accepted and what solutions to offer if the artwork is damaged upon receipt. It is important to bear in mind that there are standards to comply with in respect of returns and refunds under the Australian Consumer Law. 
  • Governing law – preferably being the residential or trading address of the seller as this is important if selling an artwork abroad.

Jacqueline is vision impaired. Arts Law gave her a copy of the advice given so that she had time to think about the issues.  Jacqueline wanted a law firm to help draft the conditions of sale for her artwork. Arts Law referred Jacqueline to a law firm with appropriate specialist experience.

Jacqueline decided she wanted to obtain the help of a law firm to draft the conditions of sale. Arts Law were able to recommend and refer Jacqueline to lawyers with specialist experience who can potentially advise her further and prepare the draft conditions of sale. 

Let us know if you have a query like Jacqueline.