Status of the Artist and Contracts

Authors: Dr. Ulf Bischof, Denise Paetow, Bischof & Paetow Rechtsanwälte in Partnerschaft, Berlin

Status of Artists and Contracts

The status of artists and persons engaged in the cultural sector may vary by country. When it comes to international work, both individuals and any organizers who invite persons engaged in the cultural sector from abroad will quickly find themselves confronted with questions about status. This is because the respective status is used to derive information about the right to social benefits, as well as answers to questions regarding work permits, compensation, taxes, etc.
There are different types of contracts for the various employment relationships in the cultural sector. Especially when the contracting parties engaging in collaboration, joint projects, sales, etc. are based in different countries, several points must be considered.

Example 1:
A theatre ensemble based in Germany is doing a tour of Portugal and France with five of its employed dancers. The self-employed stage designer also travels with them. How are the workers remunerated? Do the performances abroad affect the compensation of the dancers and the stage designer?

Example 2:
An artist based in Cologne agrees to sell a work to a buyer for a price of X. The buyer, who lives in the Netherlands, takes the work with him immediately and promises to pay via bank transfer. This payment never arrives, as the buyer becomes insolvent. The artist also finds out that the buyer has resold the work in the meantime.

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Contact and advice

  • Beratungsstellen – Information Initiative Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft (German language)