Art Law

All too often we seem to see people making copyright claims over public domain works. It’s especially egregious when we see museums do this kind of thing, as happens every so often.

While museums in some other countries like to try to claim that they can create a new copyright on the digital scan of a public domain image, in the U.S. it is generally considered settled law that museums cannot create such a new copyright. Public domain is the public domain….

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(c) Image by Juri H. Chinchilla.

With the snow melting in Sochi, “On Remand” looks back to one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. Tomorrow is the 34th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice.”

In February 1980, the XIII Olympic Winter Games were underway in Lake Placid, New York. But a little-known group of hockey players had been practicing together for months, skating themselves to exhaustion learning coach Herb Brooks’s new, fast, and grueling style of play. Most of the players on Team USA were barely old enough to order a beer, and hardly any had played hockey professionally. In a few months, several would be playing in the NHL. But on February 22, they were underdogs against a Soviet team that had won the gold in every Olympic contest since 1956 — except for 1960, when the Americans stood atop the podium. A week before the 1980 games started, the Soviets had trounced the Americans, 10-3, in an exhibition game.

“Unless the ice melts” or some team “performs a miracle,” a sports writer quipped, the Soviets would win the gold medal again in 1980. And, for most of the U.S.S.R. versus U.S. game, that prediction appeared accurate. But with 10 minutes left in the game, Mike Eruzione, Team USA’s captain, scored a goal from thirty feet, putting the Americans up 4-3. They never relinquished the lead. As the clock ran out, ABC broadcaster Al Michaels delivered his now iconic play-by-play

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Would you wear these to court?

The plot of The Shawshank Redemption revolves around the line, “I mean, seriously, how often do you really look at a man’s shoes?” Should I have prefaced that with a spoiler alert? No, you’ve had 19 years to watch it.

But poor Andy Dufresne might still be incarcerated if he were in Romania, where a judge slapped a lawyer with a fine in excess of $1,000 for wearing sneakers to court.

And the whole thing went down during the criminal trial over a high-end art heist.

Romania seems way more interesting than the U.S. these days….

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* Yesterday marked day two of jury deliberations without a verdict in the John Edwards campaign-finance violations trial. The former presidential candidate says he’s “doing OK,” but you know he’s secretly pissing his pants over going to prison. [ABC News]

* Martin Weisberg, a former Baker & McKenzie partner, pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy to commit securities fraud. He faces up to 15 years for both crimes. Like he wasn’t earning enough as a Biglaw partner. [New York Law Journal]

* A judge told two fashion houses to leave it on the runway, and not in the courtroom, but that’s not going to stop Gucci from collecting its due. Guess owes the company $4.66M for trademark infringement. [Bloomberg]

* If you’re wondering what you’re going to have to do to get your student loans discharged in bankruptcy, it’s really quite simple. Get diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, and you’ll be set. [National Law Journal]

* What’s the difference between looted art and art looted by the Nazis? The Hitler part. Proposed art legislation will ban all museum recovery claims, except those of families affected by the Holocaust. [New York Times]

* “”I can’t believe f**king Allred called you!” In a total attention whore battle royale, Okorie Okorocha has sued Gloria Allred for allegedly stealing both of his clients in the John Travolta gay sex scandal. [CNN]

* It’s hard to get a mortgage if you have a lot of student debt, even if you make a lot of money. Who needs a house anyway? Your advanced degree will keep you warm. [BusinessWeek]

* A civil trial over BP’s Gulf Oil spill was supposed to start today, but it was postponed at the last minute. Is it just me or does it smell like settlement in here? [New York Times]

* As if anyone needed another reason to never take a Carnival Cruise…. [CNN]

* The Catholic Church just couldn’t handle sharing its ignominious spotlight with Penn State any longer. Attorneys allege that the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, former Archbishop of Philadelphia, destroyed a list of 35 active priests accused of child sexual abuse. [Washington Post]

* Some movie with no sound, color, explosions, or giant robots won a bunch of Academy Awards last night. I can’t say I care too much. Here’s a rundown of some classic cine con lawyers instead. [ABA Journal]

* Advice for art collectors: CHECK YOU PROVENANCE. [New York Times]

* Michael Rothenberg, executive director of New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, RIP. [New York Law Journal]