What Is Art Litigation?

Art litigation is a broad field of law that can overlap with criminal law, tort law, contract law, and property law.

When one thinks of art litigation, fine art is often what comes to mind, but literature, movies, music, and graphic design are also assets that fall under this category.

That means that attorneys who handle art litigation can represent very diverse groups of people including producers, artists, gallery owners, auction houses, copyright holders, estate owners, nonprofits, lenders, collectors and more.

Art law is a very unique field of law because of the emotional value that's often placed on artwork. Oftentimes, no financial compensation can make up for that personal relationship people develop to the artwork. As a result, art law has a special legal remedy, called special performance, that makes losing parties turn over the possession of specific pieces of art to the winner, when appropriate. This may occur in cases such as a breach of a sales contract.

Here are some examples of other art litigation cases besides breaches of contract:

  • Authenticity and fraud
  • Consignment work
  • Crimes and theft
  • Disputes over ownership or title
  • Copyright infringement
  • Buying and selling
  • Confidentiality agreements
  • Storage or shipping damages
Working with or acquiring artwork, no matter what type, not only has investment value, but personal value. For more information about your particular art law case, consult with an experienced litigation attorney.

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