Craft a Career
Legal Resources for Artists
Sometimes, what may seem like a small issue that’s easy to overlook can later become a large legal issue that puts a business and career at risk. These resources help artists be better prepared on the legal front while also offering some options when legal conflicts arise.
The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation
A downloadable pdf book and updates resulting from a Visual Artists Estate Planning Conference sponsored by the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation and the Judith Rothschild Foundation.
Allworth Press provides practical information books for the creative community.
American Bar Association
Consumers’ Guide to Legal Help is part of the American Bar Association. This site helps you find legal services, some at no cost, in your area.
Alan Bamberger, art consultant
A no-frills site of useful articles, tips, and product reviews for both artists and collectors from art consultant Alan Bamberger
ArtHome helps artists build assets and equity through financial literacy and home-ownership. Online tools include a home buyer’s guide and home budgeting information.
Caroll Michels, artist's career coach
A listing of artists’ resources including free and for purchase publications on a variety of art business-related topics.
Articles on a variety of professional developments and topics, plus resource listings. Artist Trust also has grants and other resources for artists from Washington State
Artists Rights Society
The Artists Rights Society is a copyright, licensing, and monitoring organization for visual artists in the United States. Included at their website is information on copyright basics for artists. Of particular interest are these discussions of artists’ intellectual property rights: http://www.arsny.com/basics.html, http://www.arsny.com/other.html.
Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville
The Arts & Business Council (ABC) of Greater Nashville has a listing of legal and business resources for artists and is the parent organization for Nashville’s Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts. ABC has an excellent series of business and legal seminars for artists that is especially strong on intellectual property issues.
Harriete Estel Berman, metalsmith
An astute business and tech savvy blog from metalsmith Harriete Estel Berman. This blog has a wealth of information on all aspects of an artist’s business, including a set of professional guidelines developed by a stellar committee of craft professionals for the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).
A concise discussion of the legal issues surrounding consignment and how to keep your work from being sold to satisfy creditors in case a gallery goes bankrupt.
Lloyd J. Jassin, attorney
This site from an intellectual property attorney contains a number of free articles and forms dealing with a variety of intellectual property issues, as well as a bookstore of titles on copyrights.
Joan Mitchell Foundation
CALL (Creating a Living Legacy) Resources includes an Estate Planning Workbook for Visual Artists. This guide is designed to be a practical tool for artists and/or their supporters to use when carefully assessing and identifying the unique estate planning needs and concerns specific to the visual arts. CALL Resources also includes a career documentation guide described elsewhere in these listings. CALL is an initiative of the Joan Mitchell Foundation begun in 2007.
Nolo publishes books, software, and forms, and offers a website to help people handle their own everyday legal matters. The site contains articles and tips explaining a variety of legal issues.
This eGuide will help you sort out the legal issues involved in the ownership, protection and transfer of visual artworks. It includes information on laws that protect artists’ rights and ready-to-use agreements, including: Copyright Assignments, Work-Made-for-Hire Agreement, Permission Agreement.
Senior Artists Initiative
Estate planning information-SAI is a nonprofit organization that assists senior artists in understanding the need for and processes involved in organizing their life’s work and by developing programs that provide recognition for senior artists. The site contains several useful articles about how to help assure a favorable disposal of your artworks after death that are compiled in a pdf “Guidelines for Senior Artists;” http://www.seniorartists.org/images/Guidelines.PDF
U.S. Copyright Office
The U.S. Copyright Office offers information on copyright issues and law as well as information on obtaining a copyright.
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offers information on patents and trademarks.
Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
Many states have a Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts organization that provides free legal advice to qualifying artists. In addition many of these organizations present workshops on legal issues facing artists. This online directory will help you locate an organizaton near you. In addition, this website from St. Louis Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA) lists many resources for legal information and information on programs in the St. Louis area.