Independent artists-authors enjoy special social protection regulations. For fine artists, drawers, the Maison des artistes is in charge of the collection of contributions related to specific regulations.
For photographers, playwrights (etc.) the AGESSA (Association for the Management of Authors’ Social Security) is in charge of the collection of social security contributions.
The type of remuneration and its status is determined by the nature of the activity. The artistic activities required of an artist must be considered.
The Production of Works : Remuneration with a note of assignment of copyrights
For an artist, a primary type of activity is to create works, to sell them, to get copyrights from it. With this type of activity, we are at the heart of a specific social security system for fine artists established in 1975 : the AGESSA.
The AGESSA is a social insurance structure that ensures the management of artists-authors’ rights ; manages the rights of authors of literary, musical and photographic works, plays and illustrations.
In principle, the collection of fees is connected to a free performance, meaning when an artist works for free, no matter how long, where, why and how. Such is the case for instance when an order is placed by a structure during a residence. The free artist will be subjected to the regulations reserved to independent workers, which implies a triple approach :
to the Urssaf (Union for the collection of Social and Family Allowances) for personal family allowances contributions, the CSG (General Social Contribution) and the CRDS (Contribution to the Reimbursement of Social Debt) ;
to the Disease Insurance Fund for independent workers, in case of disease or maternity ;
to an national organism dealing with the risks of ageing (for liberal professions).
Moderation : remuneration with a salary
A second type of activity exists : lectures or workshops, so long as it is done regularly and constantly, the Maison des artistes is not in charge here, the General Regulations for employees are. The employing structure will be in charge of declaring the employment beforehand, of drawing up a working contract, of editing pay slips, of paying employers fees and the deductions of wage contributions proper to the general regulations of employees. When trainings represent less than 30 days a year, for each training or teaching organism, the wage-earning lecturers benefit from a funding of contractual share (decree dated 28.12.1987 and 07.06.1990). According to the instruction of the Ministry of Employment and Solidarity dated 02.04.1998, artists-authors affiliated to the Maison des artistes are authorised within this regulation to declare independently their non-regular revenues issued from subsidiary activities.
The taxation service and URSSAF must differentiate several activities. You invite an artist for a residency. If, at the end of this residency, the created work is sold, the remuneration belongs to that of the sale of a work. If rights are exploited, the remuneration takes the form of copyrights, thus taken in charge by the Maison des Artistes. If, during this residency, the artist gives lectures, he/she is considered as a wage earner. There are a certain number of administrative facilities implemented by URSSAF in order to pay an artist according to the laws.
Moreover, an exception exists in the case of activities considered as supplementary. When an artist gives classes in his/her workshop and receives a direct remuneration from students, and within the limit of 4176 euro a year (4243 euro in 2005), this sum can be considered derogatory and therefore included in the calculation of his/her non-commercial benefits.
Which artistic activities come under the maison des artistes ?
The Maison des artistes is, along with AGESSA, one of the two organisms recognized by the state for the management of social insurances for artists-authors. It is in charge of collecting social contributions due from artistic revenues and perceived by the creators of graphic or plastic works : painters, sculptors, designers, carvers, illustrators other than illustrators of literary and scientific works, creators of tapestries or wall textiles, of mosaics and stained glasses.
• Maison des Artistes
90, avenue de Flandre
75943 Paris Cedex 19
Tel. 01 53 35 83 63 / Fax 01 44 89 94 43
Which activities come under AGESSA ?
L’AGESSA is, along with the Maison des artistes, one of the two organisms recognized by the state for the management of social insurances for artists-authors. It is in charge of collecting social contributions due from artistic revenues and perceived by authors who do not come under the Maison des artistes, such as photographers, illustrators of literary and scientific works, creators of softwares and audio-visual works.
• AGESSA (Association for the Management of Authors’ Social Security)
21 bis, rue de Bruxelles
Tel. 01 48 78 25 00
The declaration of artistic revenues by the broadcaster buying or using the work of art
Contrary to what is applied for other independent workers, the structure (called broadcaster) is in principle in charge of paying the Maison des artistes or the AGESSA :
any deducted contribution paid to the artist-author (deduction) ;
its contribution as broadcaster.
Any physical or moral person (including the State, public structures, territorial communities) who commercially broadcasts or exploits an original work, whether as main or a subsidiary activity.
These are usually firms or other organisms using a work, acquiring the right to broadcast it, to sell it, to commercialize it and paying the artist-author in copyrights. It can also be the purchase of a work of art.
Are therefore concerned, all organisms that :
purchase a work of art ;
N.B. : The commercial transfer of the material property of the object used as support (e.g. : the canvas of a painting) does not necessarily imply the transfer of exploitation rights to the benefit of the buyer.
pay “creation fees” ;
N.B. : It is the remuneration paid as compensation for the conception and the production of a work, for instance for the takings of photographs.
N.B. : This is the remuneration paid as compensation for the transfer of the artist’s patrimonial rights on the intangible property of his/her works (e.g. : reproduction rights of a drawing, a photograph...).
The deduction constitutes the obligation for a person who pays an artist in copyrights to deduct the contribution at source and to pay them to AGESSA or to the Maison des artistes. This remuneration will be “deducted” and given to the social insurance company, so as to create allowances for those who need it. This deduction is about 15%. The deduction is always the initiative of the person who pays the artist or the author.
The administrator of an art centre defines, according to three criteria, whether the creator comes under an insurance regulation for artists-authors ; meaning : does he/she have an independent activity, does he/she work as a creator and whether this remuneration takes the form of copyrights ? If these three conditions are fulfilled, the broadcaster deducts three contributions : the CSG, the CRDS and a sickness benefit. He/she pays these three deducted contributions at source to the recognized organism and completes his/her contribution with his/her share as employer, whose ratio is fixed at 1%. If the artist provides the administrator with a copy of the form S2062, he/she will then not need to deduct.
Should a contract be drawn up ?
In order to protect the author, the transfer of copyrights is subject to strict rules (articles L. 122-7, L. 131-1 and following of the intellectual property code).
Thus, the transfer must be the object of a written contract. This contract will have to define the scope of the transferred rights (article L.131-3 of the intellectual property code) : their geographic scope, their destination (the supports used), their place, and their duration.
N.B. : The global transfer of future works, meaning the transfer of rights on yet uncreated works is worthless (article L.131-1 of the intellectual property code).
The contract must make provision for remuneration in compensation for the transfer of rights. It is based on a proportional remuneration basis, with receipts issued from the sale or the exploitation (percentage on the work’s public sale price).
However, it can be a flat-rate remuneration when it is impossible to define a proportional remuneration due to the conditions in which the work is exploited (the calculation base of the proportional participation cannot be practically determined or the means to control it are missing...).
N.B. : The transfer of copyrights can be done for free ; nonetheless, the formalism provided in the article L. 131-3 of the intellectual property code would have to be respected. A written contract should therefore be drawn up, in which it should be said that the artist transfers for free his/her reproduction rights and/or his/her representation rights, to whom it should be transferred, which supports will be used, the geographic scope and the duration.
The amount of the remuneration
The offered rate per hour for an artist’s intervention includes the preparation, the consultation and the effective intervention time. The amount of the remuneration is established in negotiation with the artist. The artist receives a net salary within a bracket ranging from 38 to 53 euro per hour. A graduated student is paid like other professional artists.
Precise example of an “artist-in-residency” ?
The notion of artistic residence differs from one residence to another and from one artistic field to another, in terms of duration, content and realities. Three main types of residence can be defined according to their primal goal :
To offer a research place devoted to one or several specific projects ;
The provide material for an exhibition or an event devoted to the works created during the artists’ stay ;
To organise actions aimed at raising awareness.
Most artist residences combine these three axes. Some residences give the artist total freedom to create a work of his/her choice. In other cases, the artist is invited to work on a theme, or to integrate his/her work within a pre-established program. Less common is to have a mutually agreed upon project between the artist and the host structure.
Some residences are devoted to one form of artistic expression, while others host all sort of disciplines, sometimes intertwined. The conditions of artists’ selection vary too from one residence to another (Examination on an application form, audition, selection jury…). Residences usually rely on an exchange basis : the artist is offered an accommodation and/or a workplace in return for his/her investment in the residence’s projects and his/her participation in several events. However, it is necessary to see to it that the time the artist devotes to his/her creation and the time during which he/she participates in other events remains balanced.
No matter the nature of the artistic and cultural project of the residence, it is important to define the objectives and the modalities of the artist’ stay. A contract will specify the respective obligations of the hosted artist and of the host structure : objectives, definition of the project and of the artist’ expected actions, exhibitions, production of one or several works, moderation of conferences or actions aimed at raising awareness, edition of a catalogue, purchase of one or several works and the terms of the stay (duration, host conditions, technical, logistic, human and financial means offered by the host structure).
While some artists are offered complete creative freedom by the residence that hosts them, others are subject to more or less restraints to the extent that a subordinating relationship could exist between the artist and the host structure.
This can be the case, notably, when the work(s) must respond to a specific theme or be part of a precise project, with the host structure overseeing or accompanying the artist’s work according to a certain number of guidelines. The existence of a subordinating relationship in the case of subsidiary performances imposes the conclusion of a contract. This subordinating relationship would usually occur in the case of subsidiary performances required of the artist : as in the case of the supervision of a workshop. These performances must be paid with a salary, unless they are occasional and are part of the artistic activity.
The fact that the compensation provided for the artist’s performance only consists in a benefit in kind, such as the disposal of an accommodation or a workshop, is not incompatible with the existence of a work contract.