The Hoffman Law Firm

The Hoffman Law Firm The Hoffman Law Firm is a boutique law firm with a niche global transactional and litigation practice in art law, cultural heritage law, and more!

The Hoffman Law Firm is a boutique law firm with a niche global transactional and litigation practice in art law, cultural heritage law, museum law and intellectual property law and related practice areas. In its years of practice in these specialized fields, the firm has developed the knowledge and relationships worldwide in the field to provide effective client representation. At the same time,

The Hoffman Law Firm is a boutique law firm with a niche global transactional and litigation practice in art law, cultural heritage law, museum law and intellectual property law and related practice areas. In its years of practice in these specialized fields, the firm has developed the knowledge and relationships worldwide in the field to provide effective client representation. At the same time,

Operating as usual

Adam Pendelton, Who is Queen? paired with Shigeko Kubota” Liquid Reality” could not have a more appropriate energy to be...

Adam Pendelton, Who is Queen? paired with Shigeko Kubota” Liquid Reality” could not have a more appropriate energy to begin the fall art season. At the opening on September 18, below, see me, Sergio, and Adam Pendleton. This is a period of renewal and rebirth. The day after Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of new beginning, these two artists of different generations and backgrounds share important and related messages as we immerge afresh from this period of trauma and transformation. Pendleton teaches us empathy and to understand the power of dialogue and politics to bring about positive change. We need to learn to experience the other and embrace it in this new era. Similarly, Shigeko embraces the latest technology and how it can be used to transform old ways of seeing and doing. Both teach us that embracing the new and unknown with empathy and energy are powerful steps to enable us to move forward as a society.

I was honored to be featured in the first week of September in Art Talks podcast #32 of Cerebral Women! The series, host...

I was honored to be featured in the first week of September in Art Talks podcast #32 of Cerebral Women! The series, hosted by Phyllis Hollis, an art enthusiast and proactive trustee of numerous institutions, is passionate about supporting and promoting Black Artists, Artists of Color, and women in the art world. Other artists and art world figures who have been featured include Carrie Mae Weems, Derrick Adams, Odili Donald Odita, Pauline Willis, and M. Florine Démosthène. As host and founder, Phyllis established Cerebral Women as a platform presenting works of art and aphorisms to provoke visual and intellectual stimulation.

Hollis’ provocative and intelligent questions matched with her mellifluous voice makes listening to the podcasts of artists like Weems, Adams, Odita, and others with a glass of wine a splendid opportunity while we shelter at home.

My podcast episode focuses on my amazing career as an art lawyer and provides useful insights to artists on significant copyright cases I litigated as well as artist-gallery relations and other important subjects of interest for artists as they navigate the ever more complex art world, particularly during COVID-19.

My podcast episode can be found at:

I also encourage you to listen to other episodes of Cerebral Women. You can find them at and more information about the series at

Episode Thirty-Two features Art Lawyer Barbara T. Hoffman. Her firm, 'The Hoffman Law Firm',  has provided innovative solutions to creative clients for decades worldwide.

Barbara T. Hoffman, principal, is a pre-eminent arts, cultural heritage and cultural institution lawyer in New York City providing transactional advice and litigation services to the domestic and international arts and cultural community. Her more than thirty-five years in the field of art law, representing artists, museums, collectors, artist and other charitable foundations, galleries and foreign governments has given her wide expertise on matters involving art, antiques and cultural property transactions, including art gallery and auction house consignments, gifts of art, copyright and artist's rights, and non-profit issues of governance and conflict of interest. She is a pioneer in the field of public art and developed, for the New York City Bar Association, the model contract for the field. She has represented a majority of renowned artists working in the public realm with projects worldwide involving large scale private and public scales from memorials to AIA award-winning artist-architect collaborations from Battery Park to Shanghai and points in between. She is included in New York Magazine's Best Lawyers for 2010 - 2011, 2012, Marquis Who's Who and Super Lawyers (2010-2016), and the Wall Street Journal Best Women Lawyers in New York (2016). She is a Fellow of the American Bar Association.
Contact: Barbara Hoffman 
[email protected]

Link in bio




Barbara T Hoffman, an art lawyer, who led ASMPNY's
"Know Your Rights: Copyright Law For Photographers"
provides us with her reaction regarding recent court rulings and the ongoing saga of Instagram and copyright!

by Barbara T Hoffman
June 25th, 2020

The original finding in the 2018 case Sinclair v. Ziff Davis, LLC, and Mashable, Inc was a blow to photographers. In 2016, Mashable republished National Geographic photographer Stephanie Sinclair's photograph without her consent and permission in an article by embedding the photo on from Instagram. SDNY Judge Kimby Wood previously dismissed Sinclair's Second Amended Complaint, finding that Mashable had used Sinclair's photograph pursuant to a valid sublicense from Instagram, and that using Instagram’s embedding API was not infringement.

In a similar case brought in 2020, McGucken v. Newsweek LLC, a photographer posted on his Instagram account a photograph of an ephemeral lake that had appeared in Death Valley, California. The following day, Newsweek published an article about the ephemeral lake, embedding the photographer's Instagram post of the lake as part of the article. The photographer sued Newsweek for copyright infringement.

Judge Failla found on June 4, 2020 that though Instagram's various terms and policies clearly foresee the possibility of entities such as Newsweek using web embeds to share other users' content, none of them expressly grants a sublicense to those who embed publicly posted content.

Ars Tecnica, in an article with the headline "Instagram just threw users of its embedding API under the bus," reported that in answer to an email it sent following Judge Failla’s decision, a company spokesperson for Facebook (which owns Instagram) has stated, on the record, that Instagram's terms of use do not grant permission to users of its embedding API to display embedded images on their websites without additional permissions from the copyright owners.

On June 24th, Judge Kimba Wood granted Sinclair’s motion to have the Court reconsider and reverse the motion to dismiss her Second Amended Complaint for copyright infringement. On the basis of Judge Failla’s decision, Judge Wood found insufficient evidence that Instagram exercised its right to grant a sublicense to Mashable.

Judge Wood found that while the platform’s policy might be interpreted to grant API users the right to use the API to embed the public content of other Instagram users, that is not the only interpretation to which that term is susceptible, quoting Judge Failla in McGucken v. Newsweek. The Court then relied on Agence France Press v. Morel (2010), a case litigated by Barbara Hoffman, for the proposition that the platform’s policy terms are not sufficiently clear to warrant dismissal of Sinclair’s claims on a motion to dismiss.

While the good news is that Instagram’s Terms of Service are no longer seen as granting rights to an embedded image, it is still unfortunate that the status of embedding in the Second Circuit remains unclear, with Judge Wood and Judge Failla finding no infringement for embedding, and Judge Forrest finding that embedding itself constitutes copyright infringement (Goldman v. Breitbart News Network, LLC).

The Hoffman Law Firm

The Hoffman Law Firm

Highlights from my June 12th's The Art Lawyer's Diary newsletter, “Witness to Murder, a Movement, and Democracy on the B...

Highlights from my June 12th's The Art Lawyer's Diary newsletter, “Witness to Murder, a Movement, and Democracy on the Brink,” a cornucopia of suggestions, reactions, and artistic responses to this historical moment, in which we must not forget to be silent is to be complicit. See the full newsletter on our website:

This Art Lawyer's Diary is inspired to speak out by the recent events regarding systemic racism and inequality in our country, provoked by the murder of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, as well as the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks, such recent deaths almost overshadowing the horrors of the stark inequality revealed by the disproportionate number of deaths of African Americans from COVID-19, and the higher unemployment rates among African Americans.

Rayshard Brooks was murdered, shot in the back by a policeman, having done nothing more than fallen asleep in his car in a drive-in lane at Wendy's. As the district attorney said, there is no reason that their initial encounter - the officer's cam-corder shows twenty-two seconds of courteous conversation - should have ended this way. This incident supports the idea that the mentality and consciousness of policing today is ill-suited to the problems we have.

That this initially peaceful encounter turned violent and ended with Rayshard Brooks being shot in the back is the result of sociological and psychological factors: the stereotyping of African American men as criminals; the trauma and harm of lawlessness and systemic racism for 400 years experienced by African Americans; and in the last weeks, witnessed almost daily in the media, a law-and-order president who does not understand the absurdity and consequences of a policy to “dominate the streets with compassion,” the very notion of compassion being at odds with domination. When Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest police brutality during the national anthem, that was compassion in action, while domination in action is the knee in the neck of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin, and the shot in the back of Rayshard Brooks by police officer Garrett Rolfe.

These actions are the result of the racist mindset of police who wanted to dominate. It is for that reason, of the police's broken mentality, that there have been calls to defund the police as it currently exists, and to substitute for systemic violence a communal mentality of compassion, empathy and love.

As Trevor Noah said, ““People always say the same thing: ‘If you didn’t do that, you’d still be alive.’ They say this s**t all the time. ‘If you didn’t do that.’ But the truth is, the ‘ifs’ keep on changing… There’s one common thread beyond all the ‘ifs.’ If you weren’t black, maybe you’d still be alive.”

This is a time to reimagine our future as Americans, going forward together to build a just and inclusive society. This newsletter is a call to action. If you find it useful as a resource, pass it on. If you can’t hit the streets, donate and vote.

The illustration below is by Derrick Adams, born out of his collaboration with award-winning restaurateur, philanthropist and food activist Marcus Samuelsson, who shared the image on his Instagram, writing:

“The Black community is battling two pandemics right now — coronavirus and racism. My friend @derrickadamsny and I created Take 3 to act as a guide for keeping your head straight and pushing through. The steps we feel are most imperative are:

MOURN - COVID-19 has killed Black folks 3x more than anyone else. Not only that, we continue to see race related killings and unjust police brutality. What we’re going through is a travesty. It’s extremely important that you give yourself time to grieve.

REFLECT - Think about how we got here. Consider the 400+ years of injustice that lead us to this place. Lastly, think about how we all as people and as communities can create positive change for ourselves and our country.

COMPASSION - Empathy and love for all people is a must, especially during these trying times. Think about what you can do for someone else — we have to be a positive influence for our family, our neighbors, and our community.”

See my 2018 Art Lawyer’s Diary newsletter “A Call to Action and an Opening” for more on Derrick Adams’ work. That edition had as its dual inspiration a screening of the film “13th” by Ava DuVernay, and the opening the same evening of Derrick's exhibition “Sanctuary” at the Museum of Arts and Design.

More thoughts and resources from the newsletter:

“The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration,” by Isabel Wilkerson.

Don’t miss “13th,” Ava DuVernay’s powerful documentary explaining how we got from the 13th amendment to mass incarceration by way of consistently branding African American men from its enactment to the present as criminals, and “Just Mercy,” the timely docu-drama about injustice in the criminal justice system and the efforts of civil rights lawyer Bryan Stevenson, founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama, to defend Black Americans on death row. Stars Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Foxx, and Brie Larson. It streams free during June:

“Law and Order Is Not the Rule of Law”: As 13th makes clear, law and order has been a frequent rallying cry to various degrees by numerous US presidents, beginning with Richard Nixon, to brand Black men as criminals. Trump's law and order tactics are straight from Nixon's playbook, including his references to the "silent majority."

“Act to Support and Increase Voting, and Combat Voter Suppression”: See entertainment lawyer and producer Laverne Berry’s “Capturing the Flag,” an award-winning documentary film.

Two other organizations that are important in terms of both voting activism and contributions are the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, "committed to ending the disenfranchisement and discrimination against people with convictions, mostly African Americans," and One for Democracy, a collaboration between our country’s leading donors focused on defeating Donald Trump and strengthening our democracy.

Chester Higgins, describing his photograph below, writes: "for me, [this image] illustrates the State of Affairs where too often African Americans exist behind the borders of indifference and extensive hatred. Congress needs to pass laws that take away the immunity that police have for lethal force."

"Omar Tate’s Honeysuckle pop-up project is revolution in a takeout box": I celebrated Juneteenth at the James Beard House with Omar last year along with other noted African American chefs. This year I celebrate Juneteenth with Performa live on Friday June 19th at 12 pm EST, an Instagram live talk between artist Sanford Biggers and chief curator RoseLee Goldberg. A screening of Biggers' Performa 07 Commission, The Somethin' Suite, will follow.

“The Looting of SoHo and the SoHo Artist Response”: see the images below from the Art 2♥SoHo project, which brought together over 100 artists last weekend and this weekend to paint the boarded-up storefronts in SoHo.

“The Instinct to Explore Belongs to No Race”: I have been a member of the Explorers Club since 1985, women having only been admitted since 1982. The original founding members in 1905, were noted Arctic explorers, all white and all male. Robert Peary was one of the original members. He and African American explorer Matthew Henson travelled together on seven voyages to the Arctic over a period of nearly 23 years. When they returned from their voyage to the North Pole, Peary was given the credit, and received the highest metal of the Explorers Club, the Explorers Medal, in 1914. Though Henson was the first to stand on the geographic North Pole, he was not recognized or celebrated for decades, except in the African American community. Henson did not receive commensurate recognition until receiving, in 1944, the award ironically named the Peary Polar Expedition Medal. In 2000, the National Geographic Society posthumously awarded Matthew Henson its highest honor—the Hubbard Medal.

On June 12 Vanessa O’Brien, American/British explorer and mountaineer, and a fellow member and fellow of the Explorers Club, became the first woman to reach the Earth’s highest and lowest points. After reaching the top of Everest in 2012, Vanessa successfully completed a submersible dive with Victor Vescovo to the bottom of Challenger Deep, the deepest point in the world’s oceans. Vanessa hopes to inspire women to take on new challenges in non-traditional fields, including STEM. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

The diversity of institutions supporting change right now is uplifting. Live at Lincoln Center is doing amazing programming right now, tying present events to the history of the civil rights movement. See their website for Freedom by Celisse, a song Celisse wrote in July 2016 following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, which remains a rallying cry to fight systemic injustice, and Soundtrack '63, a live, multimedia musical performance about the African-American experience in America.

See also Asia Society's Diversity and Inclusion program:

Image Credits: Illustration by Derrick Adams; digital release poster of “13th”; digital release poster of “Just Mercy”; photograph by Chester Higgins, titled "State of Affairs," 2020; photo of Omar Tate, the Philadelphia Inquirer, by Clay Williams; photos of anonymous artist-activists’ work in response to looting in SoHo last weekend and this weekend; a photograph of Matthew Henson speaking to Explorers Club members, as published in Ebony Magazine in 1947, the historical African American equivalent to Life magazine; a photo of fellow Explorers Club member Vanessa O'Brien, after her successful expedition on June 12th, making her the first woman to scale Mt. Everest, the highest peak, and to dive to the deepest part of the ocean, Challenger Deep.


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Hi, I need to know more about copyright law update. Very happy to find you!!