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CARFAC (Canadian Artists’ Representation / Le Front des artistes canadiens) is an artist-run organization founded in 1968, by artists for artists.  It is certified as the national representative organization of professional visual and media artists in Canada.  Founded in 1990, RAAV (Le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuals du Québec) is the organization representing professional visual and media artists from Quebec at the federal level.

CARFAC and RAAV are obligated to represent the interests of Canadian visual and media artists, and to establish standards and fee scales in this sector.  Our founding principle and continued concern is that artists, like professionals in other fields, must be paid fairly for their creative output and services.

The CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule is widely recognized as the national standard for remuneration of visual and media artists in Canada. These payments include royalties for the exhibition and reproduction of an artist’s work, as well as various professional services fees.

The CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule was developed from rates established by artists Jack Chambers and Tony Urquhart in 1968. It has been updated through negotiation and usage, and it includes annual increases to reflect the cost of living. All royalties and fees are considered minimum payments for the use of the copyrights and/or the professional services of visual and media artists.

About Copyright Visual Arts

Canadian Artists Representation Copyright Collective (CARCC) was founded by CARFAC in 1990 to assist artists in administering their copyrights. In 2015, CARCC restructured as a non-profit association which now operates under the business name Copyright Visual Arts – Droits d’auteur Arts Visuels.  CARFAC and RAAV now play equal roles in its management as an extension of their commitment to the payment of royalties to artists for the use of their copyrights. Copyright Visual Arts have offices in Ottawa and Montreal.

Copyright Visual Arts negotiates and issues licenses that allow the legal use of its affiliated artists’ works. They collect royalties and pay their affiliated artists. Affiliation with Copyright Visual Arts is separate from membership in CARFAC or RAAV.  Any artist from Canada may affiliate or register with them. In order to exhibit or reproduce an artwork by an artist affiliated with Copyright Visual Arts, a license must be obtained from them for that use.

Copyright Visual Arts uses the CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule only as a reference for the negotiation of licenses for their members. Copyright Visual Arts always request more than the recommended minimums for its members. Details about their services may be found at

General information on copyright

Disclaimer: The following information is intended to provide guidelines only. It is not professional legal advice, which may be required under certain circumstances.

Author’s Rights and Copyright

In the language of the Canadian Copyright Act, visual and media artists are “authors of artistic works”, to distinguish them with authors of musical works, literary works, etc.. Visual and media artists are therefore, basically, authors. The expression “Authors’ Rights” is used internationally  because it covers the full scope of the rights creative artists hold on their work, such as the Exhibition, Reproduction, or Telecommunication rights, as well as the moral rights.

Moral rights

It is always recommended that licenses state that the user of a work obtain authorization, prior to the issuance of a license, for any alteration of a work as represented (changes of colour, proportions, cropping, over-printing of text, and so on).  Any alteration permitted is subject to approval by the artist prior to final production. Any user wishing to associate a work of art with a social or political cause, a product, a service, or an institution must obtain special authorization in writing by the artist. These requirements refer to a moral right, outlined in the Copyright Act.  Moral rights rest with the artist unless a written waiver has been provided.

License to use an artist’s copyright

In accordance with the principles of Canadian copyright law, all public exhibitions and all reproductions (whether in whole or in part) of a work created by an artist must be authorized, ideally in writing.  Written authorization is a license.  All unauthorized (unlicensed) uses are in contravention of the law.  Licenses do not transfer ownership of a work, nor do they transfer copyright.  Licenses define the limits of what a user may do with a work of art.  CARFAC and RAAV generally recommend that artists or their authorized agent(s) negotiate non-exclusive licenses, so that the artist (and their agent, as applicable) retain all rights outside those granted by the license.


Crediting an artist for the use of a work is a requirement included as a moral right, the right of paternity, in the Copyright Act. All uses of any work by any artist must be credited in some form, unless the artist has waived the right, in writing. Licenses should require that each reproduction or exhibition of a work by an artist be accompanied by a notice containing the following information:

Title of work, year of creation © Artist name – year license issued

Such accreditation must appear in the immediate proximity of the reproduction and/or exhibition of the work or, if inappropriate, in the index of illustrations in a book or catalogue indicating the page on which the reproduction occurs. Failure to include the information in an integral and legible manner may result in legal action.

Transfer of ownership of a work does not mean a transfer of copyright

When a work of art is purchased, or acquired by gift, the new owner is not the owner of copyright in the work, unless there is a signed agreement that transfers copyright from the creator to the new owner. Owners of works of art who do not hold copyright must negotiate uses such as reproductions or exhibitions with the artist or their agent.

Fair Dealing and appropriation

The Copyright Act does not define the concept of Fair Dealing, which means that infringement does not occur when a work is copied for certain limited purposes. Courts would look carefully at cases involving disputes over Fair Dealing to determine whether infringement has occurred. Fair Dealing includes copying for private study or research, for purposes of criticism, review or news coverage, satire or parody, or the limited use of small portions of a work (sometimes called incidental uses). Any claim for a fair dealing exception for educational uses should be carefully examined as to the fairness of the proposed use. In all cases the work must be fully credited as to the source and the name of the creator.

Some artists create works by using the works, or part of works, created by other artists. This type of use, commonly called “appropriation” requires an authorization from the artist and/or rightsholder. A violation of this rule may result in a legal recourse.

Copyright on a photograph of an art work

Unless specified by a contract between an artist and a photographer, the copyright on the photograph of an artwork remains with the photographer, following a 2012 change in the Copyright Act. This means that artists requiring a photographer to take pictures of their artworks must enter into an agreement specifying the authorized uses of these photographs by the artist. RAAV has developed a standard contract for that purpose, which can be obtained on request for free if you are member of CARFAC, RAAV, or a Copyright Visual Arts affiliate. A payment of $20 is requited for all others.

Recommended Minimum royalties and fees

All royalties for copyright uses and fees for an artist’s professional services listed in the CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule are considered minimums. An artist may request or accept a higher royalty or professional fee than the listed rates.

Like all other forms of copying, transmission, or presentation, the permission of the rights holder, usually the creator, is required in Canada for the exhibition of works of art. This includes works that are owned by parties other than artists themselves; therefore, works in permanent or private collections are subject to the law if no other written agreement has been made. CARFAC and RAAV maintain that copyright is an important source of income for artists, and that royalties must be charged when permission is granted to exhibit a work.

Copyright Visual Arts always request more than the recommended minimums for its members, and they charge the user an administration fee, rather than the artist. Therefore, artists who are represented by Copyright Visual Arts may receive higher royalties than independent artists.

All rates shown in the Fee Schedule are in Canadian dollars and do not include PST/GST/HST.

The CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule is voted on by CARFAC members, and any changes to these fees are generally applicable in January of the year following the vote.  Royalties and fees are normally raised on a yearly basis.  CARFAC-RAAV reserve the right to make changes to the Fee Schedule at any time.

Definition of copyright royalties

Copyright royalties (sometimes described as artist fees) are listed in the CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule, and apply to the reproduction, exhibition, or presentation of works.  The Copyright Act does not prescribe what copyright is worth. It defines what uses are subject to copyright; in other words, where permission of the copyright holder is required.  By implication, the holder of copyright may charge a royalty for the use.

The CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule provides recommended minimum payments for most types of uses of visual and media works.

  • For exhibitions, royalties are determined by the length of the exhibition, its scale, and the operating budget or nature of the exhibiting institution, and some other factors. The inclusion of the Exhibition Right in the Copyright Act is unique to Canadian law. It became part of the Act in 1988, after much lobbying on the part of CARFAC and other artists’ organizations. The Exhibition Right applies to the exhibition of works of visual art not presented for sale or hire, which were made after June 7, 1988 (the day the Act was reformed).
  • For reproductions, the royalties are determined by applying the scale, factoring in variables like the type of support, size of print run, duration of license, territory of distribution, and so on, as required.
  • Artists’ Professional Fees are not copyright royalties; rather, it is compensation that that an artist receives in exchange for presentation or consultation services, participation on a jury, installing artwork, writing tasks, or preparation of support for an exhibition.

Promotion by sales venues

When works are exhibited solely for the purpose of sale or hire, the party exhibiting the work is not subject to payment of exhibition copyright royalties, but they may choose to pay the artist or their rightsholder voluntarily. Reproductions related to promotion of such exhibitions are still subject to copyright, notably when these uses are made to promote the commercial institution.

Advertising use – commercial or promotional

Use is classified as advertising when the work is used to promote a service or product other than the work itself, the artist, or an exhibition including the work. For example, advertising use occurs when a work is used to promote a museum or gallery. Items – such as calendars, mugs, agendas, t-shirts, brochures – promoting the institution or company (bearing the name of such) are classified as advertising whether or not they are offered for sale.

Regardless of the above, exhibition promotional items (invitations, brochures, etc.) will be classified as advertising if no exhibition copyright royalties have been paid to the artist(s) within the framework of the exhibition project.

Proof of Print Run

An authorization for reproduction is usually for a specific print run. An artist has the right to demand and receive proof of the print run (such as a copy of the print invoice).

Non-profit cultural organizations’ royalties

The CARFAC-RAAV Minimum Recommended Fee Schedule recognizes differences in scale of the various institutions it serves. Small museums, exhibition centers, artist-run centers, cultural publications, and so on, benefit from these categories.


Invoices issued by an artist for licenses should be paid within 30 days of receipt.

Penalty for unauthorized use

When works are exhibited or reproduced without the appropriate copyright use authorization by the artist(s), the artist may invoice the user retroactively. A penalty may apply.