Bogatincopy2

Legal Guide for the Visual Artist

By Sue Greenberg, Executive Director

The art world has changed for the better since 1997, when Tad Crawford published the first edition of Legal Guide for the Visual Artist. Legal protections have expanded, and technology has changed the way art can be created and disseminated.

So, it is a pleasure to recommend the updated sixth edition of Crawford’s guide — a must-have resource for working artists. The 336-page reference book provides a comprehensive explanation of the many legal and tax issues faced by visual artists — broadly defined as cartoonists, craftspeople, graphic designers, illustrators, painters, photographers, printmakers, sculptors, video artists and textile designers.

Crawford’s co-author is M.J. Bogatin (above), a San Francisco-based art, entertainment and intellectual property attorney and longtime member of the California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA) board of directors. He provided a preview of the newly released edition during the national volunteer lawyers for the arts conference, which was hosted by CLA in October 2022.

New topics include the online copyright registration process, NFTs and the Copyright Claims Board, which offers a streamlined alternative to federal court. The authors also discuss business entities, recent fair use cases, the 5Points graffiti litigation and much more. Crawford is known for his Legal and Business Forms series and this book provides several straightforward sample agreements.

Of course, we appreciate the volunteer lawyers for the art network shout-out and the description of the mediation services collaboration that CLA spearheaded in 1989. Mediation continues to be in our menu of services.

Legal Guide for the Visual Artist is chocked full of reliable, plain-English information. But the book is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified attorney who can make sure your best interests are addressed. If you live in our service area, apply for assistance here. Live elsewhere? Find the national directory here.


Legal Guide for the Visual Artist
By Tad Crawford and M.J. Bogatin
Allworth Press, 2022 (sixth edition), $35