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Attorney seeks to advise artists through copyright workshop

Ohio State Future Arts Managers and Entrepreneurs will be hosting a workshop with local attorney Alexis Preskar to help artists navigate intellectual property laws. Credit: Courtesy of Clara Davison

When young artists set out to make a new piece, they often consider the materials, the methods or the meaning. Something they might not consider is how their art could be misused or how they could be sued for stealing someone else’s ideas.

On Wednesday a local attorney specializing in copyright will be hosting a workshop at Ohio State to help artists navigate the complex world of intellectual property.

Alexis Preskar, an attorney with the Kohrman Jackson & Krantz law firm, is working with Ohio State Future Arts Managers and Entrepreneurs, a student organization dedicated to helping students develop their career in the arts. The event is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Sullivant Hall room 131A. Together, they will field questions and give advice on copyright as it pertains to young artists.

“I think it’s really important to protect [the thought process] and realize that that is valuable, especially as our economy moves from manufacturing to more technology and nontangible products,” Preskar said.

Copyright falls under intellectual property law, which determines ownership of ideas. Other familiar categories are patents for inventions and trademarks for brands. Copyright pertains to visual art, music, writing and other creative expressions.

Preskar said she believes students often ignore copyright when creating their work because they feel that what they produce is not particularly important. However, she said that it is an essential part of becoming a legitimized artist.

“It’s all about growing and treating yourself as a professional and taking yourself seriously,” Preskar said. “And it’s all worth it to know now because I’d rather know it when I’m 19 or 20 instead of when I’m 30 and I’m doing my first big negotiation.”

Preskar finds that protecting art with copyright is simpler than many people realize. While an artist can pay to register a piece, often it is enough to put his or her name and the year next to it. Not only does this make it easier to monetize artworks, but it can prevent them from being plagiarized or pirated by others.

Clara Davison, a fourth-year in arts management and business, as well as the president of Future Arts Managers and Entrepreneurs, takes another perspective.

“Copyright issues are really important for artists, both in terms of protecting their own work from plagiarism, but also in understanding what the rules are when they’re sampling other people’s work,” Davison said. “I think it’s really important for artists to understand what the rules are and to hear it from an attorney’s perspective.”

Davison highlighted that copyright disputes can cost an artist more than just legal fees. It can sometimes come at the price of his or her reputation and career.

The collaboration between Preskar and this student organization came about through  Columbus art nonprofit, Wild Goose Creative. Davison reached out to them with the idea, and she said Preskar, who serves on the organization’s advisory board, was an ideal candidate to host.

Preskar said she has a deep interest in the arts and even produced her own work when she studied journalism at Ohio State. She is passionate about protecting local businesses and helping them grow through her legal counsel.

“In college you’re learning how to do your craft, but also you need to start taking yourself seriously,” she said. “This is who I am; this is what I do. What I do is worth value.”


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