Cyberlaw Clinic releases Guide to Protest Art

Collection intends to help artists inspired to speak out in an unprecedented political climate

On Jan. 22, the Cyberlaw Clinic at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society released a multipart Guide to Protest Art, a series aimed at educating people across the political spectrum who are using art to engage in civic dialogue.

Written by Clinic staff and students, the guide was inspired by the resurgence of political art (online and off) that has followed the 2016 presidential election. The Clinic hopes the guide will help to minimize risks artists may face regarding copyright, fair use and other cyberlaw issues, allowing them maximize the impact of their work free of legal constraints.

The guide, which is available on Medium, covers the main areas of law that are implicated by protest art online, with separate posts on:

  • Copyright Part 1: what copyright protects (and what it doesn’t) and how to deal with copyrighted works

  • Copyright Part 2: the law of fair use — what it is, how it’s determined, and the risks of fair use

  • Copyright Part 3: getting permission to use the work of others — how to identify a copyright owner and how to make a license request

  • Trademark: what trademark protects, and when you can use another person’s trademark (with or without their permission)

  • Rights of privacy and publicity: legal rights of privacy and publicity, which are implicated when protest art features real people

  • Sharing and merchandising your work: licensing your work including with Creative Commons, using disclaimers, and making money

Based at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, the Cyberlaw Clinic provides pro bono legal services to clients on issues relating to the internet, new technology, and intellectual property. The Clinic is led by Clinical Professor Christopher T. Bavitz, who joined in 2008 as a Clinical Fellow.