Possible intellectual property violation over artist's mural

Artists in New York often dream of having their work loved by people far and wide. For those that are lucky enough to have that happen, they not only get the validation that others enjoy their art, but they are able to financially support themselves by selling their work or the rights for reproduction and distribution. When someone else profits from their creations without compensating them for their intellectual property, it can significantly and negatively impact their ability to make money from their own work. This is what one out-of-state artist alleges a gallery did with his uplifting mural.

The artist in question created a mural back in 2009 that appeared on the grounds of an art gallery. The mural read "Everything will be okay" and served as a point of inspiration for the local community. Recently, the artist alleges that the gallery reproduced the mural on smaller yard signs without his permission. The proceeds reportedly benefit artists who are struggling financially and the campaign has received national attention.

The gallery says it is in discussion with the artist after he sent a cease-and-desist letter requesting that it stop selling the signs. The artist says he has been selling products with replicas of the mural on his own website for similar charitable purposes and there could be confusion between the two. Everyone involved seems hopeful that resolution can be reached.

Though it sounds as though this particular case can be resolved amicably, other intellectual property cases often don't enjoy the same outcome. A company or another person selling an artist's work without his or her permission seems to negate the time, effort and training that artists often utilize to create. Any New York artists who are worried about keeping their creations legally protected would do well to talk to a copyright law attorney. 

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