Brown Bag Lunch: What is Art?

When: January 23, 2019 at 12:30pm - 2:00pm EST - This event has passed


This panel will examine copyrightability as it pertains to works of visual arts. Examining the Copyright Office’s written guidance and relevant case law, the panelists will discuss the legal concepts of originality, creativity and functionality, and the tensions those concepts create in a modern art community that often values minimalism in its art.

New York Chapter Brown Bags are informal discussions on a range of copyright-related topics. In true brown-bag spirit, no food or drinks will be provided, so attendees are encouraged to bring their own. We keep the admission fee modest to encourage attendance by new or solo practitioners and law students, but all are welcome!

Nancy E. Wolff
Cowan DeBaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP

Experienced in copyright, trademark and digital media law, Nancy E. Wolff offers full legal support to a wide range of traditional and digital media clients, including individual creators and multimedia companies of all sizes.
She advises clients in areas of intellectual property, copyright and trademark. Because of her in-depth knowledge of copyright, trademark, privacy and publicity law, she provides guidance on best practices in using content, and offers pre-publication review of books, documentaries , films and television series. Nancy counsels on creative deal structuring, the acquisition and sale of properties and collections and reviews licensing and services agreements. She has successfully reached fair settlements through amicable dispute resolutions throughout her career and is a strong and dedicated advocate for her clients when the enforcement or protection of her clients’ rights requires legal intervention. Nancy represents clients in state and federal court, as well as in mediations.
She represents trade associations in advocating for changes to Federal copyright law and the protection of various licensing industries under state publicity laws.

Margaret Wheeler-Frothingham
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

Margaret Wheeler-Frothingham is a managing associate in the New York office. Her practice covers all aspects of copyright and trademark litigation, as well as counseling, licensing and prosecution.
While Margaret represents clients across a broad range of industries, her practice has a particular emphasis on the music, media and fashion industries.Margaret litigates copyright infringement actions and royalty rate setting proceedings – including before the Copyright Royalty Board, where she obtained one of only two royalty rate reductions ever granted in that court.Margaret represents digital music services, as well as other content users in negotiations and disputes with record labels, music publishers, photographers and other rights holders.
Margaret’s trademark practice includes representing fashion, hospitality and alcoholic beverage companies in trademark and trade dress infringement litigations in federal court and proceedings before the TTAB.In addition to litigation,Margaret counsels companies ranging from local hospitality venues to multinational fashion retailers on a wide variety of issues, including clearance, licensing, brand protection, digital media issues and DMCA compliance, and right of publicity.She has represented the global trademark portfolios of multinational corporations in connection with international and domestic trademark prosecution, enforcement and litigation.She also assists her clients with licensing and other IP transactions.
Margaret is actively involved in pro bono work. She has counseled individual musicians and artists, as well as nonprofit media companies, on a variety of legal and compliance issues.

June Besek
Columbia Law School

June Besek is the executive director and lecturer in law of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School.
She teaches a seminar on authors, artists, and performers. Besek also co-teaches, a seminar on current issues in copyright.
Before joining Columbia in 1999, Besek was director of intellectual property at Reuters America Inc. She was formerly a partner at Schwab Goldberg Price & Dannay, where she focused on copyright, trademark, and other legal issues.
Besek is the chair of the copyright division of the American Bar Association’s intellectual property section, and also chairs the section’s copyright reform task force. Besek serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. and the board of advisors of the Columbia Journal of Law and the Arts.
She clerked for Judge Charles H. Tenney in the Southern District of New York.
Besek earned her J.D. from New York University in 1981 and received her B.A. from Yale

Members: $10
Non-Members: $20
Student Members: Free

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Cancellation Policy
Refunds must be requested in writing at least three business days before the event. Refunds will not be issued after that point. Unfortunately we will not be able to credit your registration payment toward a future event, but you may allow another person to attend in your place. Please email and let us know that person’s name, affiliation, city and state.

Financial Aid Policy
The Copyright Society provides a limited number of scholarships each year to students, law clerks, unemployed attorneys, and nonprofit and government employees. For information on how to apply, please click

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