California and federal copyright laws are designed to support and protect the unique talents of artists. The artist continues to hold the copyright to any original work of art. Copyright begins at the time of creation of the artwork and continues for the artist's lifetime and up to 70 years after the death of the artist.
Copyright ownership does not transfer with the sale of original artwork. The buyer cannot make prints or sell copies unless the artist grants permission in writing. The buyer owns the original artwork but will be liable for copyright infringement if the artist copyright has not been assigned in writing by the artist.