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 or on display at the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City.

Monkey selfie
Intellectual Property

The Monkey Selfie: PETA Initiates Infringement Lawsuit for Macaque

The Internet is once again fixated on the infamous Monkey selfie, after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) filed a copyright infringement suit against David Slater, the wildlife photographer who claims to hold the copyright.  For those that may not remember, here is how Art Law Journal described the monkey selfie story back in 2013: In 2011, nature photographer David Slater...

Mickey Mouse Copyright
Intellectual Property

Is Copyright Duration Too Long?

The United States has been waging a battle against several other countries over how long a copyrighted work should be protected.  Copyright duration has been one of the major sticking points in the massive free trade agreement, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) being negotiated in secret between the U.S and eleven other countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico...

Right of Publicity
Right of Publicity

Does the Right of Privacy Apply to Photos?

Freedom of Speech is one of our most cherished values: #1 on the Bill of Rights hit parade. It is so important that it tends to trump most other laws. Yet, Freedom of Speech is not absolute.  It is often limited in ways we do not expect or includes speech some people would think is prohibited, such as the ravings of the Neo-Nazis or the Klu Klux Klan. Supreme Courts Justice Oliver...

Licensing Art
Corporate Law

How to License Your Art Successfully

In part 1, I talked about several methods for finding companies that would be the most likely to license your art for us on their products.  The next step is contacting those companies. Licensing decision makers, especially those working in large companies, are inundated with people looking to speak with them about potential opportunities, so always think about how you can break through all that...

Popcorn Time
Intellectual Property

Popcorn Time’s Video Streaming Has It All, but Is It Legal?

Popcorn Time, a relatively new online movie streaming service, has just about all the media content you could want, from the latest movies to Amazon originals. the company has tripled its usage over the past 6 months, with enough users for Netflix to consider Popcorn Time a major competitor. One would think getting rid of an illegal service would be easy, but the way the software work, it will be...

Caravaggio Old Masters

Sotheby’s $15 million Caravaggio Disagreement

Whether a painting came from the hand of one of the Old Masters or is merely a copy made by a disciple will determine whether the work is exhibited in museums for centuries for the entire world to enjoy, or end up hidden away in a minor collector’s posh apartment. Appraising art is a difficult task, especially when a work is hundreds of years old. Despite amazing new scientific appraisal methods...

Eiffel Tower
Intellectual Property

Do Night Photos of the Eiffel Tower Violate Copyright?

A series of articles have been making their way around the Internet suggesting that taking photos of the Eiffel Tower at night could be a copyright infringement. Is this limitation real or hyperbole spewing from the overactive imaginations of the blogosphere? The answer depends on whether the Tower’s lighting is a copyrightable work of art or just a part of the structure. So before you allow the...

Corporate Law

Three Steps for Using LinkedIn to Grow Your Art Business

Just like any other startup, opening a successful art business benefits greatly from knowing the right people. For those creative people starting solo or small businesses, access to industry leaders, art attorneys, gallery owners, media publishers and others can help ensure their success. Unfortunately, startups as new entities in the industry, have not been around long enough to interact with...

Angry Birds
Intellectual Property

Advice for Artists in a Contract Negotiation

Making a deal to bring an artist’s work to the wider world can be nerve-wracking especially during the contract negotiation phase when the artist is pitted against a team of corporate lawyers. Too often, the artist doesn’t have enough money to hire a legal team to fight for contract terms on his or her behalf. The result is a lopsided agreement that favors the corporation’s...

Gillian Street Art Infringement
Intellectual Property

Terry Gilliam Sued by Street Artists

Did the AholSniffsGlue lawsuit against American Eagle Outfitters usher in more street artists standing up for their rights? This week finds director Terry Gilliam in hot water over the use of street art in his new movie, Zero Theorem. Gilliam is a master storyteller, with a unique aesthetic that he uses to drive the emotional direction of his narrative. Gilliam calls Zero Theorem the culmination...