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Art Law and Intellectual Property

Art lawyers provide legal advice and devise creative legal solutions for artists, arts organizations, and institutions including individuals, private collectors, artist run centres, galleries, museums etc. With a deep understanding of the creative process, the valuation of artistic works, and the time, heart and sweat equity involved in original expression, art lawyers are better equipped than most other lawyers to work with artists and understand their needs.

While art law can span across many legal practice areas (restitution, tax law, estates law, insolvency law, just to name a few), Heer Law is focused on the intellectual property aspects of art law including copyright law, rights acquisition, commercialization and arts related disputes and litigation.

In particular, we have advised:

  • Visual artists, multimedia artists, and photographers;
  • Authors, publishers, editors and copywriters;
  • Musicians, singers, and songwriters;
  • Dancers, actors and film makers;
  • Graphic designers, fashion designers, interior designers, commercial and industrial designers; and
  • Creative entrepreneurs.

Artists are trained to hone their craft, to engage in their practice and embrace the creative process. Deep immersion in this practice can result in leaving the business side of their work as an afterthought. Yet, to be successful, artists should recognize that protecting their rights may hold significance for their career and artistic legacy.

Our goal is to educate artists about their rights, and help artists and creative entrepreneurs protect and defend their original works and monetize their original expressions. We regularly support artists in understanding their rights and acquiring registered protection for their original works and for their creative businesses. We also assist artists in their contractual relationships with arts organizations, institutions, with other artists in the case of co-authored or multi-disciplinary works and by providing artists with protections when working on commission or directly for clients.

Trademark and copyright lawyer Toba Cooper is our key contact for artists and creative professionals.

Our art law services include:

Rights acquisition

  • Applications for federal copyright registration
  • Applications for federal trademark registration

Strategic consulting

  • Artistic practice management
  • Commercialization strategy division and implementation
  • Rights clearance and advice regarding fair dealing

Negotiation and drafting of industry specific contracts

  • Photography contracts, model release agreements
  • Consignment agreements, commission agreements, gallery agreements, exhibition agreements,
  • Licence agreements, waivers of moral rights
  • Publishing agreements
  • Independent contractor and freelance artist agreements
  • Graphic design contracts, interior design contracts, etc.

Prosecuting and defending infringement claims