Artists Legal Issues

Looking for some legal advice? The best monthly paid resource for inexpensive legal support is through Legal Shield. However, in lieu of that, here is a short list of books that might be of some help.

Business and Legal Forms for Crafts – Tad Crawford

9781581154139_p0_v1_s260x420Business and Legal Forms for Crafts
The second edition of this popular guide contains 30 of the most essential business and legal forms to meet the everyday needs of today’s successful crafters. Each form is accompanied by step-by-step instructions, advice on standard contractual provisions, and unique negotiation checklists. New forms for employment, non-disclosure agreements, and lease agreements have been added to this updated edition.  Other forms include contract of sale, invoice, commission contract, contract to create a limited edition, distribution contract, licensing contract, copyright application; and much more. In addition, a CD-ROM contains the forms in popular word processing formats for both the PC and Mac platforms. This book is available from

8764486This highly acclaimed reference book presents a comprehensive overview of the legal issues faced by anyone working in the visual arts. The narrative text is arranged into twenty-four chapters covering: copyright, contracts, censorship, moral rights, sales (by artist, gallery, or agent), taxation, estate planning, museums, collecting, and grants. This book is available from

Tad Crawford, President and Publisher for Allworth Press in New York City which he founded in 1989, studied economics at Tufts University, graduated from Columbia Law School, clerked on New York State’s highest court, and represented many artists and arts organizations when he actively practiced as an attorney. Included among the dozen books that he has authored or co-authored are The Writer’s Legal Guide, Business and Legal Forms for Authors and Self-Publishers, and The Secret Life of Money: How Money Can Be Food for the Soul. The legal affairs editor for Communication Arts Magazine, he has written articles for magazines such as Art in America, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Lapis, The Nation, New Age Journal, and Self. He has also appeared as a guest on television programs such as Fox on Money; The O’Reilly Report; Good Day, Wake Up; and It’s Only Money as well as numerous radio shows including New York & Company.

Allworth Press publishes business and self-help books for artists, designers, photographers, writers, and film and performing artists, as well as books about business, law, and personal finance for the general public. Founded in March 1989 by author, attorney, and artists’ rights advocate Tad Crawford, the press began as a one-man operation with the publication of a revised edition of Crawford’s classic Legal Guide for the Visual Artist in Fall 1989.  Currently, Allworth Press publishes 30-35 titles annually and has a staff of twelve.


Copyright Guide (The): A Friendly Handbook to Protecting and Profiting from Copyrights – Lee Wilson

41Z+DS8n1KLThis prized legal companion is the definitive handbook for anyone looking to understand and benefit from copyrights in the Information Age, from artists to musicians, software designers to writers, craftsmakers to photographers, and entrepreneurs to media moguls. Updated and expanded to reflect important recent changes in U.S. copyright law and the impact of the Internet on copyrights, this revised edition covers what can and cannot be protected under current law.  It also provides information about the duration and scope of protection, notice and registration, how to avoid infringement and what to do if you suspect infringement, how copyrights are exploited in the marketplace and much more.
Lee Wilson is a Nashville writer, intellectual-property lawyer, and publisher. A graduate of Rhodes College, she has worked as a newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter and producer, and free-lance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she served on the board of editors for the Tennessee Law Review.


Fair Use, Free Use, and Use by Permission: How to Handle Copyrights in All Media – Lee Wilson

9781621531968_p0_v2_s260x420Finally, a plain-language guide that explains the rules of using copyrighted images, music, and words! Readers will find the answers to questions about when they need permission, what constitutes fair use, how to get permission, and when they can use work without permission.  Also, how to protect work if someone wants permission to use it, and much more.  For everyone who ever uses the copyrighted works of others including writers, photographers, illustrators, business people, musicians, songwriters, filmmakers, teachers, researchers, advertisers, Web designers, and many others, this books explains copyright basics, copyright infringement, public-domain materials, finding copyright holders, and more.  This book is available from the

Lee Wilson is a Nashville writer, intellectual-property lawyer, and publisher. A graduate of Rhodes College, she has worked as a newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter and producer, and free-lance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she served on the board of editors for the Tennessee Law Review.


How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation – Anthony Mancuso

9781413318968_p0_v2_s260x420 Do you want to create a nonprofit in your state without a lawyer?

The process of becoming a tax-exempt organization may appear intimidating, but with How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation, you can do it quickly, easily and with confidence.

This bestselling book includes complete instructions for obtaining federal 501(c)(3) tax exemption and for qualifying for public charity status with the IRS. It will help you:

  • complete an IRS tax-exemption application
  • prepare articles of incorporation
  • write the bylaws of your nonprofit
  • fill in minutes of the organizational meeting
  • understand your state’s specific nonprofit requirements

The 8th edition is completely updated to provide the latest federal and state rules. It also provides the latest forms you need, including the new IRS Form 1023, Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(3)(c).  This book is available from Amazon.
Anthony Mancuso is a corporations and limited liability company expert. He graduated from Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, is a member of the California State Bar, writes books and software in the fields of corporate and LLC law, and studies advanced business taxation at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He has also been a consultant for Silicon Valley EDA (Electronic Design Automation) companies, most recently working on a C++ open-source integrated circuit database project team. He is the author of several Nolo books on forming and operating corporations (both profit and nonprofit) and limited liability companies. His titles include Incorporate Your Business, How to Form a Nonprofit Corporation (national and California editions), Form Your Own Limited Liability Company, The Corporate Records Handbook, and LLC or Corporation?. He wrote and programmed Nolo’s LLC Maker and Incorporator Pro software programs, which generate state-by-state articles and other forms for organizing corporations and LLCs. His books and software have shown over a quarter of a million businesses and organizations how to form a corporation or LLC. He also is a licensed helicopter pilot and has performed for years as a guitarist in many musical idioms.


Law (in Plain English) ® for Crafts (The) – (6th Edition) – Leonard D. DuBoff

1581154240The sixth updated and revised edition of this definitive guide is for craftspeople who want to understand the law and successfully tackle the business and legal issues they face every day in their field.  Considered by many to be the pioneer of art law, Duboff takes the reader step-by-step through the legal aspects of a crafts business, discussing everything from trademarks and copyright to contracts, consignment, taxes, product liability, working at home, and getting the right compensation for his or her work. The book offers valuable legal advice that can save thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees, and also tells how to find good legal assistance when it is needed.  This book is available from

Leonard D. DuBoff is a business lawyer in Portland, Oregon, specializing in intellectual property and corporate law. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on art law. He has pioneered the field, written extensively on the subject, and lectured all over the world.


Licensing Art & Design, Rev. Ed. – Caryn R. Leland

926783-MWhether you are a designer, illustrator, photographer, or fine artist, you can increase your income by licensing your creative images.  This book will show you how by providing expert coverage of the following areas: how to protect your ideas with copyrights, patents, and trademarks; model licensing agreement; a negotiation checklist to evaluate deals; how to maximize royalties; how to find manufacturers and distributors; and licensing in cyberspace. The revised edition now covers the licensing of multimedia and electronic rights.  This book is available from
Caryn R. Leland is an attorney practicing in Soho in New York City. Her clients include design studios, graphic designers, illustrators, architects, and fine artists. She has taught art law at the School of Visual Arts in New York and lectures frequently to groups of artists and attorneys on copyright and licensing.


New Tax Guide for Artists of Every Persuasion (The) – Peter Jason Riley

9781585103454_p0_v1_s260x420Peter Jason Riley, CPA is the author of this book.   It is a complete tax guide specifically for the working artist.  The purpose of this book is to give the artist an overall understanding of the unique aspects of taxation for people in the arts.  Some chapters in the book include “Income”, “What can I Deduct?”, “Setting Up a Business Entity”, “The Audit Process, Record Keeping and Your Taxpayer Rights” and “Tax Planning”.  More details about this book can be found at the website below, and the book can be ordered through and Barnes and
Riley and Associates is a company founded by Peter Jason Riley, CPA.  This company specializes in income tax information and guidance for artists of all venues – – actors, directors, performers, musicians, singers, writers and visual artists.  The website listed above provides detailed descriptions and explanations of all things pertaining to taxes.


Trademark Guide (The): The Friendly Handbook for Protecting & Profiting from Trademarks

9781581153903_p0_v1_s260x420This timely do-it-yourself resource will help businesses and individuals maneuver through the intricacies of trademark law with ease and at little cost. Coverage includes what can and cannot be protected, duration and scope of protection, notice and registration, how to avoid and evaluate infringement, and how trademarks are used and exploited in the marketplace.  In the appendix, readers will find an updated list of state trademark agencies and extended lists with resources on legal institutions, counselors, and websites/newsgroups on trademark law.  This book is available from :

Lee Wilson is a Nashville writer, intellectual-property lawyer, and publisher. A graduate of Rhodes College, she has worked as a newspaper reporter, advertising copywriter and producer, and free-lance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she served on the board of editors for the Tennessee Law Review.

About Lisa Canning

“Vowels are to words what creativity is to the world~ basic and necessary.”

What motivates you to explore your creativity? Follow me @IAEOU

For daily inspiration and creative education join me on Facebook:

Need a magic creativity wand? Let’s start with the clarinet and see what it inspires you to dream and do.

Lisa Canning is the founder of Lisa’s Clarinet Shop, IAEOU, the Institute for Arts Entrepreneurship (IAE) and Entrepreneur the Arts.





Artists Legal Issues

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