Code of Practice for Agents

Free Resource

Member Agents are reimbursed by a commission charged on the work handled by them agreed with the individual artists.  They must have fully marketed and represented by name, for no less than six months, the work of artists for whom they act.

They do not act as principals (by purchasing the artwork for the illustrator and selling it to the client), or as commissioners, and copyright remains with the Artist unless it has been specifically assigned to a Client with that Artist`s consent.

Member Agents agree to the following code of conduct:

  1. Agents shall negotiate the terms of any assignment with the Artist having the right, before commencement, to reject any assignment where the terms are found unacceptable or which they consider unsuitable. The AOI is opposed to any client requesting work on a speculative basis because of the inherent risks of exploitation in such circumstances and no member Agent should accept work on that basis. It is realised that there are times e.g. when clients are pitching for new accounts when limited budgets make the fixing of a realistic fee impossible, but in those instances, at the least an honorarium and/or expenses should be paid.
  2. All artwork samples provided to an Agent remain the property of the Artist and shall be returned promptly, subject to availability, after the termination of any agreement concerning representation. Whilst agreeing to use their best endeavours to secure the return of original artwork by clients, agents cannot be held responsible for the non-return of such work.
  3. On assignments secured by the Agent, the Agent shall be entitled to a commission based on an agreed percentage. The Artist shall be informed of the fee paid and rights purchased by the client and the percentage commission on every assignment and provided with relevant paperwork. On House Accounts (those that have been obtained by the artist prior to the commencement of their representation) there may be a reduced or nil percentage but comparable paperwork should still be supplied.
  4. The Artist shall be entitled to a written instruction on acceptance of commission detailing proposed fee, delivery dates and all other relevant details which the Agent should supply.
  5. The Agent shall make prompt payment of any fees collected on behalf of the Artist at mutually agreed intervals. Regular statements, showing all assignments, client`s names, fees paid, expenses incurred, the dates of payment and the amount of the Agent’s commission, will be supplied. The timing of payments and other documentation will form part of the initial agreement between the Artist and Agent.
  6. The Agent must share in the expense and pay at least the percentage of their commission towards promotional costs. The Agent must provide the Artist with proof of the promotional expenses at the time the promotion is arranged.
  7. The Agent is aware that the Artist, together with their financial adviser, has the right, in the event of a dispute, to inspect the accounts in respect of work done by that Artist at the place of business during normal business hours after giving reasonable notice. Such inspection to be at the Artist’s own expense, except if an error exceeding £100 in their favour is found.
  8. Representation may be terminated in line with the contracted agreement. If, after that date, the Artist receives any assignments from clients obtained by the original Agent commission shall be payable on that work for an agreed period. It would be expected that any professional enquiries for the Artist would be forwarded promptly.
  9. There is a particular threat to the industry to using royalty-free images. Member Agents must act with moderation and responsibility in engaging with this sector.  Agents should ensure that their artists are made aware of the threat to their livelihood.
  10. Any agent not conforming to the Association’s Code of Practice may have their membership terminated.

This code of practice has been written in conjunction with the Society of Artists Agent’s Code of Ethics.


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