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Art Law Journal

Author - Steve Schlackman

As a photographer and Patent Attorney with a background in marketing, Steve has a unique perspective on art and law. Should you have any questions on Intellectual Property contact him at [email protected] His photography can be seen online at Fotofilosophy.com or on display at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City.

How to Submit a Copyright Takedown Notice
Intellectual Property

How to Submit a Copyright Takedown Notice

If a U.S. website is using your images without your permission, the easiest and fastest way to stop the infringement is to send the website a “DMCA Takedown Notice.” DMCA stands for the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act.”  Websites that host user-generated material are immune from prosecution for infringement  (Safe Harbor) if the site implements notice and takedown procedures as provided for in...

How Important Is Reading the Terms of Service?
Intellectual Property

How Important Is Reading the Terms of Service?

Terms of Service lay out the rules for using a website and those rules aren’t always in your favor. Maybe, instead, you should be asking yourself if you still want to maintain the exclusive rights to your art? That may sound severe but it is something people need to consider, especially for sites like Flickr, Facebook, or SoundCloud where artists may be uploading their visual work or...

Copyright infringement is a high-benefit, low-risk business model
Intellectual Property

Copyright infringement is a high-benefit, low-risk business model

An increasing number of print-on-demand sites, such as Zazzle and Café Press, are popping up on the Internet. Users can create customizable products featuring their own photos or other graphic designs.  Unfortunately, there is very little stopping some of these users from creating products with stolen copyrighted designs and other art, with the copyright holder never even knowing that their work...

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...

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...

Need a Trademark? Here are some tips.
Intellectual Property

Need a Trademark? Here are some tips.

Picking a name for a business or product is one of the first steps for any new venture. However, many companies don’t register their trademarks during the start-up phase, usually waiting until a later time when sufficient cash is available if registered at all. That decision is a bit of a gamble.  In reality, businesses should prioritize trademark registration for their brands or company...