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General Information about Intellectual Property Law

Slander and Libel

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...

Picasso Women of Algiers
Business Industry

Is Arthena the Future of the Art Market?

We recently discussed the proliferation of forged artworks in today’s art market, a billion-dollar industry that could be headed for troubled times due to an increasing unwillingness by art experts and authentication committees to certify the validity of an artwork. Much of the discussion...


Can You Spot a Fake? The Trouble with Authenticating Art

Today’s global art market is a billion-dollar business, with savvy collectors making investments in emerging and established artists for enormous profits. Though it may not be as volatile as investing in the stock market, it’s not without its risks: Authenticating artworks is becoming increasingly...

licensing art
Business Industry

Why Are Some People Great at Licensing Art?

Wherever you are right now, look around and you’ll likely see dozens of products that license some type of design element; maybe it’s a photo on the cover of a book, the geometric pattern on a scarf, the graphic design of a product label, or the illustrations on a holiday card.  We are so...


Will the Stolen Picasso from Art Miami Be Recovered?

This past week found thousands of art collectors, galleries and art dealers flocked to Miami for Art Basel / Art Miami, including at least one art thief who walked off with an $89,000 plate made by Pablo Picasso. The stolen Picasso, entitled Visage aux Mains,is a 16 1/2 -inch silver engraved with a...

Drone Photography Law

Why the FAA Drone Policies Are So Awful

Earlier this year, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) fined Raphael Pirker $10,000 for flying a small Ritewing Zephyr, a remote controlled plane that retails for under $200. The fine was based on the careless or reckless operation of an “aircraft.” As we discussed in our article, The Law of...

street art

6 Things You Must Know About Copyrights in Street Art

Artist’s rights in their street art, whether commissioned or guerrilla, has been in the news with some frequency lately, largely due to suits against American Eagle and Terry Gilliam. The slippery nature of copyright law has left many wondering where to draw the line between taking a photograph...

Pixsy and Infringement
Copyright Industry

Pixsy: Find and Get Paid for Image Theft

Visual artists consistently find themselves in a quandary: Should they upload their high-resolution images to social media? On the one hand, social media marketing is critical to success for many artists’ businesses. It is highly cost-effective and has great reach to many different types of...

Fine Art Van Gogh

A Fine Art Scam Gone Nowhere

ArtAssure, a New York based fine art dealer, thought it had a monumental deal in the bag: it was going to purchase a collection of paintings from Hiroshima Bank that included pieces by famous artists such as Renoir, Picasso, and Monet. The collection was apparently offered at the price of 350...

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart Sued for Using a Photo of Himself

In 1989, Rod Stewart was at the top of his game with his song, Forever Young, #12 on the Billboard charts, and his albums Out of Order, Rod Stewart’s Greatest Hits, and his anthology, Storyteller, all going Double-Platinum. Storyteller featured the now iconic photo Stewart, showing the back...

Angry Birds

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...

Police stop

Can the police stop photographers from taking photos?

The shooting of unarmed 18-year old, Michael Brown, in Ferguson County, Missouri has once again made police brutality a topic of conversation across the media landscape. Some may think that police brutality is on the rise, but more likely, its mobile technology that has brought these incidents to...

License agreement
Business Industry

Congress Makes Unlocking Smartphones Legal

This week, the Congress approved a bill allowing anyone to unlock their cell phones, regardless of restrictions may have been required when signing cell phone contracts. The Senate passed a similar version earlier in the month and President Obama will soon add his signature. Given the ease at which...

Noriega Right Of Publicity

Former Dictator Manuel Noriega Sues Over Call of Duty

In the latest installment in the Call of Duty franchise, Black Ops II, video game maker Activision took the bold step of moving away from the traditional terrorist or Nazi villain in favor of Former Panamanian Dictator Manuel Noriega. Ousted from power in 1989, Noriega has remained relatively quiet...

Etsy DMCA Safe Harbor

An Etsy Store Stole My Art. What Can I Do?

It has been about a year since I wrote about the excessive complaints permeating the web regarding copyright infringement on Etsy, the popular ecommerce site dedicated to handmade and vintage goods. Unfortunately, not much has changed since then, at least not from an anecdotal review of complaints...

Drone Photography Law

The Law of Drone Photography

Drone photography discussions seem to abound nowadays across the Internet. Today, for around $1600 anyone can buy a drone like the Turbo Ace X830-D, attach a Go Pro Hero 3 Black edition camera, and have an aerial studio which can fly around for 25 minutes, taking either 12 megapixel stills or 4K...

Upskirt Photography

Upskirt Photos No Longer Legal

There has been a lot of outrage this week over a Massachusetts high court decision that made it not against the law to secretly take photographs up a woman’s skirt.  The fallout of this decision created an outcry by the public demanding that the State Legislature to ban upskirt photography.  Only...

Phoenix Copyright Notice
Copyright Industry

Some Copyright Holders Are Ridiculous

While it is a good idea to enforce your copyright against unscrupulous Internet thieves, some copyright holders overreach their authority to their own detriment. Take the French Band “Phoenix,” and their label Liberation Music, who threatened to sue one of the most famous and well-respected...

Art law of stolen Nazi Degenerate art

Nazi Stolen Art Still Not Returned

In November, I wrote an article about a treasure trove of 1408 artistic works stolen by the Nazis during World War II. Unfortunately, while at the time, it seemed that much of this art would returned to their owners, not much has happened, although some new developments may see that change. The art...

Copyright Symbol all rights reserved
Copyright Industry

Do I Need to Use the © Symbol?

The copyright symbol © is one of the most recognized symbols in the world.  The reason it is so well known is that for quite a long time, it was required that creators display the © symbol on their artistic works to receive the benefit copyright protection. Look at any movie poster and you will see...

Art Law

Another 101 Images of Nazi Looted Art Released

German authorities have released another 101 images of artwork found in a Munich apartment which had been stolen by the Nazis.  This release, now totaling 219, include drawings and watercolors by Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne and Pablo Picasso as well as the painting Two Riders on the Beach by Max...

International Copyright

Is my Copyright Internationally Protected?

There is no international copyright protecting creative work in countries around the world.  Each country has its own laws and regulations.  However, most countries have signed on to one or more international treaties that provide protections for works within those contracting countries.  The...

Terms of service

How Important Is Reading the Terms of Service?

Or maybe you should ask 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 musical compositions. Yet...

Don't Steal My Art

Don’t Steal My Art! Webinar is Available On Demand

Thank you to the more than 225 people who watched our Google Hangout.  We hope everyone found the program entertaining and the information useful.  For those that missed it, the show is now available On Demand, right here on our site or on You Tube at .  So if you want to find out more about...

Leonardo Hidalgo

Parody, Fair Use, and Kiss My Ass

We talk a lot about copyright infringement on this site, but not every use of someone else’s work is an infringement. Copyright is subject to certain limitations found in the Copyright Act.  One of the more important limitations is the doctrine of  “fair use.” This doctrine was developed through...

Happy Birthday Copyright

Singing Happy Birthday Could Be a Copyright Violation

Did you know that putting your child’s Happy Birthday candle blowing performance onto YouTube is a copyright violation?  Well, that is if you believe Warner/Chapell Music, the claimed copyright holder for this timeless song.  It does seem a bit preposterous that a song which is over 120 years old...

work for hire in copyright

Who Owns the Copyright in a Work Made for Hire? Part 2

In part, I discussed the ownership of copyright for those artistic creators that were employees at the time of their creation.  But what if you are an independent contractor hired for a particular creative endeavor?  This is where the rules get a little messy and are often in favor of the artist...