If I’m a graphic designer who wants to design, produce and sell a poster for an upcoming concert, does the artist own the rights to his name in this regard or can I freely sell my product to the public?

I have read in some instances these posters would be considered art and therefore not subject to ownership of the artist; however, I have also read that the artist owns their name regardless of the circumstances.

Asked on February 4, 2016 under Business Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you are hired to make the posters, then they belong to the person or business which either employed you or hired you on an independent contractor/freelance basis. (They are, for example, "works made for hire.")
You of course own your own "name" and can advertise yourself as "Bob Artist, who made the posters for Big Concert" (unless you happend to sign a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement to not use the concert name to promote yourself; if you did, such an agreement is enforceable), but the posters themselves belong to the one who paid for/commissioned/hired you/etc. 
If you want to use the powers for self-promotion, or even sell the in some way, you need to negotiate that up front and get your right to do so in writing.

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