Ephemeral Art Creates Solid Contract, Copyright Issue

August 30, 2011 – In The News
Law 360

Intangible art can raise legal complications that are very tangible for lawyers structuring art deals. A self-described media producer purchased the Museum of Non-Visible Art's new work titled, "Fresh Air" for $10,000, which consists of a wing in an invisible museum where the owner can breathe "the most delicious, clean-smelling air that the earth can produce." Lawyers responsible for structuring such deals must deal with a host of contract- and copyright-related challenges in order to protect buyers and sellers from litigation and other disputes.

"As soon as you apply the title, 'art', it may create some value... whether or not [people] are able to see, touch or feel it," said Daniel Schnapp.

“Courts will have to wrestle with it and, as always, apply traditional notions of contract and misappropriation of property and intellectual property rights to what is a very ephemeral concept,” Schnapp said.

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