Protect Your Art

Your art is your business.
Knowing how to protect your art can save you a lot of money and headaches down the road.
NOTE: this page only provides brief summaries, and should not be used as a sole resource.

law + Money


  • Before making any art, make sure you have a written contract signed by you and the receiving party. Either party can provide the contract.
  • Remember contracts are negotiable.
  • Make sure you review the contract before signing. 
  • Save that contract in a safe lace, and have a digital copy.


  • Litigation is when someone doesn't pay you. 
  • You can hire a lawyer to help you tackle litigation. 


  • This is especially useful if you plan on sending art to galleries.
  • Insurance can be affordable, as low as $300/yr. 

slander + libel

  • Be aware of what you say.
  • If you had a bad transaction with a gallery or client, the event could find its way online from a third party.
  • If necessary, you can hire a lawyer to help you with slander. 


  • Infringement is when you use or sell other's works or designs without permission.
  • An example of infringement is selling fan art that is not public domain.
  • Other's works become public domain after...
    • 70 years after the death of an author, or for corporate works, anonymous works, or works for hire
    • 95 years from the date of publication
    • 120 years from the date of creation

trademark and copyright

  • Copyrights provide protections for things you created.
  • Trademarks are for audience benefits, and establish where a product is initially from. 
  • Copyrights can aid you on government rights. Note, you're not getting any new rights. You're just documenting them.
  • It's often recommended you copyright your collection/body of work 1-2 times a year. Some artists do this by creating a digital book, and copyrighting that. For example: The Art of [insert name], [year] Edition.

get a lawyer

  • Good lawyers typically average $450/hr. 
  • Try looking for a lawyer that is willing to work contingency.
    • Contingency means taking a percentage if they win the case.