Copyright is limited not only by contracts signed by the artist but also directly by law. Limitations to copyright resulting from legislation are compulsory. You cannot, by means of agreement, expand your exclusive rights where the rights have been directly limited by law.

Copyright limitations only apply to published worksLimitations do not apply to any works kept in your studio or drawer that are not yet published. The main copyright limitations applicable to visual arts:

Personal use is the most significant limitation of copyright. This allows private individuals to copy the work for their own personal use. However, copying an illegally copied work is prohibited even if it is for personal use.

Right to quote allows people to quote a copyright-protected work. In visual arts, this mainly applies to the use of images. Photographs of works of art may be taken for the purpose of journalistic reporting when the photograph is used to illustrate text, provided that the work was not produced for a newspaper or journal.

Quoting images is allowed outside news reporting as long as the image is used fairly in accordance with proper usage and only to the extent that is relevant in the context. Whether the use of an image is permissible is decided on a case-by-case basis. When this is assessed, the intended use and the relationship between the quoted part and the entirety of the work are considered. With images, a quote can include the entire work.

Proper usage means that the quote supports the work of the person quoting it. The quotation cannot be completely unrelated or separate from the rest of the work and it must have an actual connection to the work of the person using the quotation. For example, using a quotation simply to illustrate text is not considered proper usage.

The name of the work and its author must be stated in connection with the quotation in accordance with proper usage.

Images of a published work of art may be included in a review or scientific presentation if it is relevant to the content. However, under this limitation, it is not permissible to, for example, photograph a statue for an art book where the photographs are clearly the main content of the book.

Photographing a work of art without the author’s permission is usually allowed if the work is permanently located in a public space, such as a park. However, such photographs may not be used for for-profit purposes, for example, as part of a book in which the statue is the main subject of the photograph and the book is being sold. You usually do not need permission if the work of art is only shown in the background or is not the main focus of the photograph. In an advert in which a work of art is deliberately included as part of a staged scene, permission is required even if the work of art is not the main focus.

The use of photographs taken of a work of art may also be allowed without the permission of the author in the case of a composite work intended for educational use, i.e. a textbook. Photographs of published works of art may be taken and included in relevant text created for educational purposes. The author is entitled to remuneration when his or her work is used in this way.