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Art Law Journal
Why Businesses Should Always Have a Model Release
Right of Publicity

Why Businesses Should Always Have a Model Release

Let’s start with some advice: Any graphic materials that promote something; whether products, businesses, or charitable causes, and the graphics contain images of recognizable people, — always have those people sign a model release. Of course, there are non-commercial uses that may also require a model release, (see When To Use A Model Release) but commercial uses almost always require a...

The Basics of Insurance for Artists
Corporate Law

The Basics of Insurance for Artists

There are many legal aspects of running an art-related business that could be fairly characterized as less than interesting, but few topics inspire more blank stares, or glazed-over eyes, faster than insurance. Like a lot of legal topics, thinking about insurance requires that we think about negative outcomes – what happens when things go awry – and so it’s natural to want to avoid the topic. But...

Who Owns the Copyright in Your Tattoo Art?
Intellectual Property

Who Owns the Copyright in Your Tattoo Art?

You’re considering a lot of different things when thinking about inking a new tattoo, but copyright infringement probably isn’t one of them. But copyright laws come into play in various ways when tattooing new work – whether you’re the artist whose designs are being inked, the tattoo artists drawing your own work, or an artist merely using the influence and inspiration of tattoo art...

Tips on Contracts and Licensing for Artists
Corporate Law

Tips on Contracts and Licensing for Artists

Every business needs a contract at one time or another.  They are everywhere.  Whether you are a struggling artist, world-renowned photographer, or a gallery owner, you will be inundated with contracts from art dealers, agents, exhibitors, publishers, ad agencies, museums as well as non-art industry members like landlords and contractors. If a contract is supposed to make sure that both parties...

When Do My Angry Statements Become Defamation?
Public Policy

When Do My Angry Statements Become Defamation?

Whenever an artist or writer portrays a living person in an unflattering light, they are likely to receive a letter or angry phone call saying things like “I am going to sue you for defamation” or “you’ll be hearing from my lawyer,” along with plethora of swear words. It sounds pretty serious and scary, but the reality is that it is usually just bluster; defamation suits are not that easy to win...

Who Owns Works Created by a Freelancer?
Intellectual Property

Who Owns Works Created by a Freelancer?

As a general rule, when an artistic or literary work is created, the author is the one that holds the copyright. Nobody can copy, distribute, or display the work without the author’s permission.  When a painting is sold, the buyer owns the painting itself, but does not have the right to use that image for anything else other than to hang it. But what happens if the artist was hired specifically...

Copyright for Architectural Designs
Intellectual Property

Copyright for Architectural Designs

It is a common misperception that you cannot copyright a building design. That is probably because, before 1990, there wasn’t much protection for building designs. At that time, anyone could reproduce buildings that looked identical to those created by others, as long as they didn’t actually use copied drawings to build them. With the passage of the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act in...