Art is breathtakingly powerful but who and what protects that power? For artists and the lawyers who counsel them, an understanding of how copyright law works is especially important, since it governs the rights in and to an artist’s work. With emerging technologies, defining what is art and how copyright law protects innovative forms of art adds a level of intrigue and necessary exploration. It is a foundational premise of intellectual property law that copyright is necessary for the progress of the arts.

According to the U.S. Copyright Office, the law protects original works such as “literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture” in both their physical and e-forms. The Federal Bar Association invites you to register today at www.fedbar.org/artlaw19 for the Art Law & Litigation Conference, held this year on February 7, 2019 in New York City, to uncover the latest cases and legislation involving art and copyright. This conference offers an important introduction and analysis to this area of copyright law with emphasis on issues such as intellectual property rights in art, defining art, fair use, moral and economic rights, drafting agreements for the transfer and commission of artwork, and licensing agreements for artwork.

Copyright gives artists who have created fixed, tangible works rights in those works. The rights provide both artistic protection and ensure that artists can profit from what they’ve made. A work is copyrighted from the moment of its creation although copyright registration is necessary in order to pursue a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

How does new technology provide artists with the ability to register and protect copyrights? Is there enough protection for artists under U.S. Copyright Law? What rights are granted to an artist when it comes to copyright? While copyright law prohibits the unauthorized copying, redistribution, performance or display of a copyrighted work, in the context of artwork, what happens when the buyer of the artwork seizes some of the rights belonging to the copyright holder, including the right to resell the work?

Panels at the FBA’s Art Law Conference shall discuss the scope of protection that U.S. Copyright Law affords to works of art, best methods for registering copyright, understanding copyright registration options, and enforcement powers.  In the panel titled “What is Art? Answers from the Copyright Office” panelists Margaret Wheeler-Frothingham (Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP) and Nancy E. Wolff (Cowan, DeBaets, Abrahams & Sheppard LLP) will explore the application of multiple areas of copyright law to the relationships, rights, transactions, and disputes among artist and other art participants.

The Art Law Conference is an excellent opportunity for lawyers, artists, gallery owners, buyers, auctioneers, museum curators and administrators, and more to come together to discuss legal issues within the art world. This February, join us in the big apple for the Art Law Conference on February 7, 2019 at the National Arts Club and then stay for the Fashion Law Conference on February 8, 2019 to explore the latest hot topics in fashion law. The FBA is excited to offer a special bundle discount to attend both conferences. Sign up now at www.fedbar.org/artlaw19 or www.fedbar.org/fashionlaw19.

The Art Law Conference provides a unique chance to explore a complex and interdisciplinary body of law that governs the creation, protection, ownership, licensing, transport, insuring, and sale of art. We look forward to seeing you in New York City this February! Register today at www.fedbar.org/artlaw19.


Stacy Slotnick, Esq. holds a J.D., cum laude, from Touro Law Center and a B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She performs a broad range of duties as an entertainment lawyer, including drafting and negotiating contracts; addressing and litigating trademark, copyright, patent, and other IP issues; and directing the strategy and implementation of public relations, blogging, and social media campaigns.