Theft of art and artistic ideas is a frightening and all-too-prevalent occurrence. Artists need to display their works for marketing purposes. However,  this leaves them open to copying and outright theft. There have even been Twitter threads created over people stealing — and reselling — stolen works as their own.

Don’t let fear of theft stop you from art collaboration or getting your solo work noticed. Protect your art with these simple tips.

art theft

Protecting Your Individual Artwork

There are many ways for artists who produce two- or three-dimensional works to protect them. One of them is to watermark any images posted online. And yet, watermarks can interfere with the quality of the images and you’re probably posting online to attract investors or customers. Instead of the customary logo or signature overlay, aim something unique. Try creating a scene featuring your piece, or allowing some of your tools and materials to creep into the photo. That way, no one can reproduce the image without also showing those unique and personal items.

Regardless, the most important thing you can do to protect your work is to copyright it. Performance artists, musicians, (and all artists, actually) should always copyright their original ideas to protect them from theft. This includes song lyrics, music, choreography, and any original artistic concept.

Protection for Art Collaboration, Too

Art collaboration is a great way to inject your artistic style. Gain fresh ideas and work with other artists to create something new and different. But it can open you up to idea theft if you don’t take precautions. When joining an art collab endeavor, make sure there’s a defined contract that all participating artists agree to at the start of the project.

This agreement will help govern the division of funds, use of the project, and copyright ownership upfront. Also, it will protect against artistic disputes down the line. In addition, don’t enter into a collaboration agreement without discussing why you want to collaborate. Consider the following on how you propose to create and distribute the work, and what your end goals are.

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