New York New York Legal Blog

Attorneys must follow the rules of professional conduct

Attorneys have a set of rules of professional conduct that they are expected to follow. The rules, created by the American Bar Association, were adopted in 1983. Professionally known as the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, these rules are the model for professional ethics in most jurisdictions where attorneys practice. Prior to this set of rules, older models included the 1908 Canons of Professional Ethics and the Model Code of Professional Responsibility from 1969.

What kinds of rules are covered in the Model Rules of Professional Conduct?

Are street artists protected by copyright law?

Many artists here in New York understand that copyrighting their work helps protect their intellectual property. Copyright law exists to help artists make a legal claim if a person or company misuses or steals their artistic work. It's used by artists of all types, including painters, musicians, photographers and more. A recent copyright claim could update the rules on what kinds of artistic works can be protected. Several street artists from out of state are fighting a suit from Mercedes-Benz, claiming that the automaker used their work without permission.

The claim involves four artists who sent threat letters to Mercedes-Benz after they claim the company used photos with their street art in the background on its Instagram account. The company has gone to court, claiming that the photos fall under fair use or that it is protected by the Architectural Works Copyright Protection Act. That act says that a copyright claim on architecture can only be filed if someone builds an exact replica of an architectural structure. Mercedes-Benz argues that, under this act, photos of the building are protected.

Ariana Grande accuses Forever 21 of intellectual property theft

Many people might assume that famous celebrities don't need to protect their artistic works, but that is not the case. It is vital for artists of all mediums and at all levels to ensure that their creations have copyright protection to deter others from profiting off of their intellectual property. However, violations still occur and New York artists have to deal with them. Singer Ariana Grande is in just such a legal battle right now, with clothing retailer Forever 21. She alleges that the retailer stole her likeness, song lyrics and other intellectual property.

Representatives for Grande say that she was approached by the retailer and a related beauty brand known as Riley Rose just last year. They wanted to work with Grande to create an endorsement deal. She and her team declined the offer, feeling that the retailer wasn't willing to properly compensate her based on her worth as an artist.

Can common words be intellectual property?

Artists and businesses of all kinds here in New York have to take care that their work isn't misused or stolen. If they don't, they could experience significant financial loss. Sometimes, larger companies and businesses can make matters difficult for artists and business owners who do not have the same level of means. Putting a trademark on one's intellectual property may be the best way to protect a product or artwork. However, some larger companies and organizations are attempting to trademark small, common words, which could have significant impact on many people.

Two different entities, fashion designer Marc Jacobs and Ohio State University, have filed a trademark for the word "the." Marc Jacobs' application was filed first and thus will have priority, though it is still under review. If the fashion label has its claim approved, OSU may have to take extra measures to enable its own right to use the word.

Get to know these common copyright myths

Copyrights are an important way to protect your work. Not all the things you've been told about copyrights may be accurate, though.

There are many myths about copyrights and when they take effect. There are also myths about how to get copyrights. Here are four myths to learn the truth about.

Will YouTube's new rules violate copyright law?

The modern online world offers people multiple ways to make money. Many content creators produce online videos, with things like tutorials or opinion pieces, or using them as a way to market their own artistic creations. One of the biggest distributors for this content is YouTube. There are people who have found great success putting their content on YouTube, but up until recently, some of the rules regarding the usage of music prevented some creators from sharing their videos. YouTube has changed their rules going forward, and many are hopeful that it will help content creators, though some are concerned that it could harm other artists and violate copyright law.

Previously, if someone uploaded a video to YouTube that contained part of a song, it could get flagged for removal by the company that owns the song. Though this was a helpful way to protect artists, some content creators argued that their videos could get flagged for something as simple as music coming from a passing car. Flagging prevents a video from being shared or it may stop the video creator from receiving any profit. Content creators either fought back against the claim, or took down the video. In some cases, larger companies received the profits that the content creator would have gotten.

Your attorney can help you with a legal malpractice case

As someone who had a very obvious claim, you couldn't believe it when your attorney told you that you couldn't seek compensation any longer. You had provided paperwork and documentation early on in the process, so what happened?

After looking into the situation, it turned out that your attorney had waited too long to start the case. After all that hard work and effort, you lost the chance to file your claim because of their mistake. The lawsuit had been misplaced, and instead of asking for new documents, your attorney simply ignored your calls and pushed off the situation.

MLB mascot subject of copyright law claim

Copyrights are important for New York musicians, but they are also useful for artists of any kind. That could include writers, photographers, visual artists and many others. Those who create puppets and costumes often need the protection of copyright law, too. This is evident in the recent civil claim that one Major League Baseball team brought against a married pair of artists responsible for creating a recognizable team mascot known as the Phanatic.

The costume was created by a husband and wife team who creates puppets and costumes. They created the character back in 1978 and were paid less than $4,000, though they retained the copyright. In 1984, the team purchased the rights from the couple for $250,000 and claimed the agreement was supposed to last indefinitely. The law says that artists can renegotiate copyright agreements after 35 years have passed, which is what the artists are attempting to do.

Artist claims Walmart, Degeneres committed copyright violation

Creating an original design or other work of art can be deeply meaningful for artists. As a result, it can be anger-inducing when that design appears on someone else's products or otherwise used without permission. In some cases, this type of scenario could involve a copyright violation, and legal action could be warranted.

New York readers may be interested in a claim that was recently filed by a street artist. The artist, Julian Rivera, has filed a lawsuit against Ellen Degeneres and Walmart after one of his designs appeared on clothing that Degeneres created for sale at Walmart. The design in question is a line drawing of a heart with the word "love" inside in cursive writing. Rivera claims that the use of his design in this commercial way could damage his reputation and diminish the value of his work.

Do I have a good reason to file for legal malpractice?

When you hire a lawyer, you do so because you trust that they will have the competency and loyalty required to protect your best interests. If you are dissatisfied concerning the outcome of a legal process, you may have reason to believe that your lawyer underperformed or did not adequately fight for you. As a result, you will have lost significant damages.

If you believe that your lawyer did not act competently, it is important to consider whether legal malpractice occurred. If you can prove that your lawyer did not represent you skillfully and that they caused you harm and financial losses, you may be able to recoup damages by making a legal malpractice claim in New York. The following are common situations that can lead to a successful legal malpractice case.


Tell Us Your Story

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Office Location:
134 W. 29th Street, Suite 1006
New York, NY 10001-5304

Phone: 212-714-1200
Fax: 212-714-1264
New York Law Office Map