Our Client’s Stories

  • Mandy Davis and her “Emu” painting

    Artists in the Black client Mandy Davis, has received a settlement from a company for their infringement of her copyright and her moral rights. The case is a great example of how AITB works.

  • Michael Meszaros’ “Distant conversations”

    Michael Meszaros is the sculptor who created the well-known piece ‘Distant Conversations’, which for 17 years was installed in the foyer of the Telstra Building in Melbourne and generally considered one of the top ten contemporary sculptures in the Melbourne CBD.

  • Mirvac: Licensing for Sydney CBD installation

    In 2013, Artists in the Black was contacted by an Indigenous writer seeking assistance with a contract he had received from Mirvac for the use of his published works in Mirvac’s new development at 8 Chifley Square in Sydney.

  • Mondo Rondo Jewellery licenses Indigenous artworks

    Mondo Rondo Jewellery designs and produces Australian jewellery for both the local and international market. Mondo Rondo approached Viscopy, as the organisation that is set up to represent the artists’ rights and manage copyright licensing. Viscopy assisted Mondo Rondo realise their ideas and vision for the Imprint Indigenous Collections.

  • Moses Mcabe: “Trumpocalypse”

    The election of US President Trump has undoubtedly stirred buzz in the Internet world and artists are responding to the impact he is having on the world. But this brings with it legal issues for artists, including for musician Moses Mcabe.

  • Sarrita King and Resale Royalty Rights

    Sarrita King is a contemporary Indigenous artist registered for the resale royalty scheme. The resale royalty scheme for visual artists is a new scheme, brought in by the federal government in June 2010.  Under the scheme, commercial resales of artworks must be reported and artists are entitled to a 5% royalty when their works are sold for at least $1000.

  • Shankari Chandran: The Benefit of Legal Advice on her Creative Contract 

    In 2023, Shankari’s third novel won the prestigious Miles Franklin literary award. A few years earlier, Shankari needed some legal help.

  • Simon O’Carrigan: Illustrator Negotiating Publishing Contract

    Simon approached Arts Law when he was offered a book illustration contract by a publisher he had not worked with before. He wanted to understand the contract he had been given, and how his rights were dealt with.

  • Snapshot of just some of the artists that Arts Law’s Artists in the Black service has helped

    Arts Law helps artists from many different artforms and areas of Australia. Here is a snapshot of just some of the fantastic artists we have assisted in the past.

  • Susan Schmidt: What can you do if your artwork is used without your permission?

    Susan Schmidt is a Queensland-based fine-arts painter, graphic designer and award-winning illustrator. Her works have featured in numerous exhibitions within Australia and overseas, including the Chelsea International Fine Art Collective in New York in 2012 and Contemporary Istanbul in 2014. Susan approached Arts Law in 2014 after she saw one of her artworks reproduced on a book cover without her permission. Susan had created the artwork in question as a commission over twenty years previously and was very surprised to see it on a book cover in her local library.

  • Switchflick Productions: getting permission to use archival images & footage in a documentary

    Switchflick Productions is the brainchild of Sophia Himi and Vivian Wong (pictured above; reproduced with permission), co-directors who produced a documentary about a renowned Former First Lady in Southeast Asia.

    The duo contacted Arts Law in relation to issues they were having with securing archival images and footage from the former First Lady’s public life, held in an international Archive. Sophia and Vivian were concerned that amendments to their own standard copyright clearance form required by the Archive would result in their film being published or reproduced without their permission. They were also concerned about unspecified copying costs required by the Archive.

  • Tanya Hendy: Navigating filmmakers through the complicated (but possible!) music licensing process

    Tanya Hendy is a filmmaker who approached Arts Law for advice about including an excerpt of an instrumental version of a very well-known 80’s pop song in her film.

  • The Brow Horn Orchestra: On the road to success

    The Brow Horn Orchestra (http://www.facebook.com/thebrowhornorchestra) is a six piece afro-electro funk band based in Perth, Western Australia. The band has garnered a cult following since winning Best Funk Act at the 2010 Western Australian Music Industry Awards and Best Live Act  at the Perth Dance Music Awards. In light of the band’s growing profile, founding members Nic Owen and Karri Harper-Meredith (who started out ‘The Brow’ as a street performing duo back in 2007) sat down with Arts Law Senior Solicitor Delwyn Everard at the 2011 WAMi Festival to get some general legal advice around band management.

  • The Dion Beasley Trust

    Dion Beasley is a talented young Aboriginal artist working in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory. Dion is profoundly deaf and suffers from muscular dystrophy. He has only a very limited ability to communicate. When Dion was 14, Barkly Regional Arts contacted Arts Law requesting help to establish a business structure to protect the income received for Dion.

  • The Town of Victoria Park: Best Practice in Public Art

    The Town of Victoria Park on the Swan River in Western Australia is a vibrant, urban community. Its local government authority understands the important role played by public art in shaping an exciting, creative and unique environment. The Town’s Public Art Masterplan envisages expenditure of over $700,000 on new public artworks in 2013-2015.  Additionally  the farsighted ‘percent for art’ policy requires developers of projects with a value of $5 million or more to make a monetary contribution of 1-1.25% of the value of the development to the Town for a public artwork or incorporate a work of art of that value into the development.

  • The moral (rights) of the story

    What do you do when infrastructure threatens your art? Arts Law recently assisted the creator of a number of large and well known mosaics in Sydney.

  • Tjanpi Desert Weavers and works on consignment

    The Tjanpi Desert Weavers are Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara women from eighteen desert communities who make baskets, sculptures, beads and beanies. In 2007, Tjanpi contacted Artists in the Black with a query about certificates of authenticity and the use by a gallery of images and biographical details about their weavers.

  • Tony Hollis: Performers’ rights to payment and royalties

    Tony, a musician, realised he had been paid below the industry standard rate for some voice work he did for a radio advertisement jingle. He contaced Arts Law to find out what his rights were.

  • Trade marks: A band needs to protect their reputation

    For any band, reputation is a crucial element. When another band uses a name that is the same or sounds similar to theirs, this can raise some reputational concerns. Arts Law was recently approached by a well established band that had this exact issue.

  • Trevor Richards: Blooming Wildflowers In Geraldton 

    Trevor reached out to Arts Law because he needed some help setting up a contract for a commission with a local Council.

  • Tyler Stackman – Licensing the Right Way

    Tyler was having issues with copyright licensing and infringement and needed legal advice to decide what to do. Arts Law was able to advise him on these questions as part of our Licensing the Right Way program.

  • UMI Arts: Creating Fair Employment Agreements

    UMI Arts is the peak Indigenous arts and cultural organisation for Far North Queensland. It is a not-for-profit company based in Cairns and managed by an all-Indigenous Board of Directors. In January 2012, it approached Artists in the Black (AITB) for support with reviewing its employment agreements.

  • Urban Smart Projects: Best Practice in Public Artwork Projects

    Urban Smart Projects (USP) is a street art initiative that engages local artists and residents to turn cities into brighter places by painting original artwork onto traffic signal boxes around Australia. USP approaches local councils to commission the project in their local area. Once commissioned, USP places a call out to the local community and artists who are interested in contributing submit an original design to USP for approval.  The artists are asked to sign a contract with USP which explains the obligations of both of the parties, including the copyright licensing arrangements. Once the contract is signed, USP provides the artist with the equipment to create their original artwork on a particular signal box in their local area. 

  • Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route

    In late 2006, the Perth-based non-profit cultural organisation FORM initiated Ngurra Kuju Walyja – One Country, One People — The Canning Stock Route Project. The project began with modest aims to present an Aboriginal history of the Canning Stock Route through art and oral history and establish economic and professional development opportunities in remote communities. The project quickly grew to unexpected proportions. Within a year 110 Aboriginal artists and contributors were involved from 10 art and culture centres across 17 remote communities in the Goldfields, Pilbara and Kimberley, with a team of nine Aboriginal and five non-Aboriginal co-curators, multimedia crew and cultural advisors. The Canning Stock Route collection, which includes around 130 artworks, was defined by the curatorial team over two years and was acquired by the National Museum of Australia in December 2008.

  • Zoë Lea: Protecting original designs from copycats

    Zoë Lea is a fashion designer based in Melbourne. She operates the fashion label Unempire as a sole trader, selling her own designs online using the service Big Cartel. Zoë has noticed on a number of occasions that her designs have been copied by Chinese wholesalers and made available for purchase online and she wanted to know what she could do to stop it.

The information in these case studies is general. It does not constitute, and should be not relied on as, legal advice. The Arts Law Centre of Australia (Arts Law) recommends seeking advice from a qualified lawyer on the legal issues affecting you before acting on any legal matter.

While Arts Law tries to ensure that the content of this page is accurate, adequate or complete, it does not represent or warrant its accuracy, adequacy or completeness. Arts Law is not responsible for any loss suffered as a result of or in relation to the use of this information sheet. To the extent permitted by law, Arts Law excludes any liability, including any liability for negligence, for any loss, including indirect or consequential damages arising from or in relation to the use of our case studies.

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