We receive a fair amount of e-mails and letters and phone calls and faxes and messages conveyed by smoke signal at The Pastel Journal from artists in search of information. We look for patterns and trends in the questions as a way of determining what’s in the air. It’s a bit like forcasting the weather–part instinct and part science.  Lately, many of you have been asking legal questions.  And while we may not be able to tell you how much to ask for your collection of paintings in your divorce settlement, we can draw upon our considerable resources at the magazine to answer questions like these: Do artists need to have permission to paint the people they photograph in public places? The short answer is yes. And be sure to get permission in writing to prevent argument later. Why? As it happens, our sister publication The Artist’s Magazine tackled this question fairly recently.  Here’s their take on the matter:

As a general rule, if a person is recognizable in one of your
works of art, you should first obtain that person’s consent to use his or
her image. Every individual has a right of publicity that protects against
the commercial use of his or her name, likeness or personal attributes. This
right of publicity is determined by state law.

What legal questions are you struggling with as an artist?

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