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Read the Writing on the Wall: Street Art and Real Property Rights in the 5Pointz Era

Level: Intermediate
Runtime: 91 minutes
Recorded Date: July 31, 2018
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  • Case Study: Cohen v G&M Realty
  • Copyright Law
  • Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA)
  • Trademark Law: Lanham Act
  • Takeaway issues on Graffiti and Street Art
  • Rights of Property Owners and Developers
  • Land Use and Zoning Laws
  • Graffiti Abatement Ordinances
  • Case Studies: Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles' Wilshire Vermont Station; and the CA Dept. of Transit
  • Lesson Learned from 5Pointz Decision
  • Q & A
Runtime: 1 hour and 31 minutes
Recorded: July 31, 2018


This program provides an overview of the fundamental intellectual property rights related to street art, or graffiti, and the corresponding property rights of the building owner. Specifically, faculty will explore the copyright, visual artists' rights and property rights issues related to street art, and the 5Pointz ruling, which awarded $6.75 million to a group of graffiti artists for the white-washing and eventual demolition of their work by the building owner.

While traditional artists have been successful in protecting their work in locations with the consent of the owner, street artists have struggled with the "recognized stature"—until now. The 5Pointz decision set a new precedent—that street art cannot be removed without the written consent or proper notice to the artists. The discussion will also cover the evolution of street art as an art form; the history of public art and arts districts to promote redevelopment and enhance property values; the significance of land use laws on where art is made and displayed; and the impact of the 5Pointz decision on real estate development and the future of protecting street art.

This program was recorded on July 31st, 2018.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Lindsay Taylor Johnson

Associate Attorney
Offit Kurman, P.A.

Lindsay T. Johnson is an associate attorney in the New York office of Offit|Kurman. Her practice focuses on construction litigation and real property law as well as general corporate advising to professionals in the construction industry. Lindsay represents architects, interior designers, visual artists and other design professionals in dispute resolution proceedings and provides counsel on the preparation and negotiation of design contracts. She also regularly advises her clients with regard to state and board licensure requirements, intellectual property rights, and employment law matters.

Prior to working in the legal industry, Lindsay worked in the nonprofit sector, assisting art museums and galleries with their exhibitions and institutional operations. Lindsay is active in the pro bono arts community in New York, helping creative individuals and organizations with their legal needs.

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Alexandra Darraby

Founder & Principal
The Art Law Firm

Alexandra Darraby is a founder and principal of The Art Law Firm, a leading authority on arts, new media, technology, intellectual property, estates and trusts, insurance and risk management, and architecture. She advises collectors, curators, corporations, government agencies, insurance brokers and insureds on valuation, collection maintenance and management, exhibition and museum loans, and cross-border trade and duty.

Ms. Darraby authored the seminal art appraisal and valuation materials, taught appraisal law for the American Society of Appraisers, and the Appraisers Association of America, represents clients on valuation and appraisals on transactions and in court, and mediation. Comments, podcasts and interviews on the art markets, conservation, appraisal, museums and more appear in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Art&Auction,,, NPR The World, Smithsonian Institution. Ms. Darraby is a consultant and court appointed expert on criminal and civil matters and served as an art specialist in Russia for the U.S. Department of State, and a consultant to other federal and local governmental offices. Ms. Darraby is invited keynote around the world.

Ms. Darraby Chairs Ethics and is Founding Chair of New Media for the ABA, International Section, Governing Committee for the Forum on Entertainment & Sports, Officer of the California State Bar International Section and incoming Vice-Chair, and a member of the Editorial Board of the Entertainment Sports Law Journal. Former professor Darraby is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate, a B.A. from UCLA, a JurisDoctor from Boalt Hall, and a Master of Arts in East Asia from Berkeley. A Visiting Professor at University of Maine Law School and an adjunct at Pepperdine Law School, Ms. Darraby is the author of the comprehensive legal treatise anchoring the field, ART, ARTIFACT, ARCHITECTURE & MUSEUM LAW (Vol. 1 & 2: 18th ed.) published by Thomson Reuters West.

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