Protecting Your Leased or Consigned Photographs

Photographers often lease artwork to businesses or sell photos on consignment. But if the business or gallery goes bankrupt, your photos may become part of the bankruptcy estate. The creditors of the business or gallery then may seize your work without further obligation to you.

Some states have enacted laws to protect photographers in these specific instances. For example, the Uniform Commercial Code [“UCC”] has been enacted in some form in every state. Check with your local attorney to determine whether your state has adopted the specific UCC provisions that will protect your consigned goods from being seized.

Other states have passed laws purposely to protect consigned goods. Many of them require the consignment agreement to be in writing. Following are some necessary and other helpful items to include in the agreement:

  • who is responsible for damage to the photographs
  • prices to charge for the photographs
  • specific list and description of the photographs being consigned
  • the gallery’s fees and responsibilities
  • the requirement that the gallery post a sign that the goods are consigned

It may also help to include a clause in the consignment contract that states: “If any lien, attachment or bankruptcy petition is placed against the Gallery, this Agreement shall terminate immediately and the Gallery will return all of the Photographer’s works to the Photographer.” If the gallery files bankruptcy or becomes insolvent, get a lawyer to help you protect your property.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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