Artists’ Legal Rights Sessions

From copyright to consignment agreements, an artist’s practice can often feel fraught with pitfalls not covered at art school. At the beginning of June 2020, Block 336 started a series of interactive talks on artists’ legal rights, designed to explore some of the recurring themes in this area through the lens of how they affect artists. Organised by intellectual property lawyer and Block 336 board member Jon Sharples, the sessions bring together artists as well as arts and legal professionals to discuss copyright, artists’ contracts, artists’ estates and more. Alongside these talks, Block 336 is also collating information about available resources, advice clinics and law firms with pro bono offerings. Originally intended to be hosted at the gallery, the series is now being presented via Zoom.

Session 3: Copyright: Infringement

Thurs 27 August 2020, 6.30 – 8pm 

Chaired by Jon Sharples

The third session in the series is the second of two looking at copyright, with this one specifically focusing on copyright infringement. Topics for conversation will include: appropriation vs. plagiarism, fair dealing and fair use (and the differences between the US and the EU), inspiration vs. copying, and what it takes to get legal proceedings going. This session brings together London-based artist Haroon Mirza with Azmina Jasani Partner at Constantine Cannon and leading art lawyer, and David Stone, Global Head of IP at Allen & Overy, and Deputy High Court IP Judge.  

Disclaimer (as you might expect!) – the speakers can give general guidance only and what they say does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.

Haroon Mirza is an artist living and working in London. Haroon has won international acclaim for installations that test the interplay and friction between sound and light waves and electric current. He devises sculptures, performances and immersive installations. An advocate of interference (in the sense of electro-acoustic or radio disruption), he creates situations that purposefully cross wires. In 2018 Haroon’s criticism of Louis Vuitton for allegedly exploiting his work without acknowledgement made both the art press and the mainstream news. Following this episode, Haroon made a series of work titled “Rules of Appropriation” in which he combined his familiar solar panels with counterfeit Louis Vuitton accessories.  Haroon has an MA in Design Critical Practice and Theory from Goldsmiths College (2007) and an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art (2006). Recent solo exhibitions have been held at CCA Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu, Japan (2020); John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK (2019); Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, Australia (2019); Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing, China (2019); and Ikon, Birmingham, UK (2018).

Azmina Jasani is a Partner at Constantine Canon in London, and is a leading expert in the area of Art & Cultural Property Law.. Azmina is dual qualified to practice law in New York and England & Wales and has over a decade’s experience representing artists, international collectors, galleries, auction houses, professional advisers and financial institutions on contentious and non-contentious matters. Azmina successfully defended Gagosian Gallery and Larry Gagosian in Cariou v. Prince and Gagosian, a landmark U.S. copyright infringement action litigated in New York’s federal courts over several years, relating to the work of the artist Richard Prince and the question of ‘fair use’. Azmina lectures at the Institute of Art & Law, Queen Mary University of London Law School, Sotheby’s Institute of Art (New York) and the Courtauld Institute of Art.

David Stone is a Partner and Global Head of Intellectual Property at Allen & Overy, based in the London office. David is a distinguished IP litigator specialising in trade marks, registered and unregistered designs and copyright. He is also a Research Fellow of the Oxford Intellectual Property Research Centre, author of the leading textbook on EU design law, and in 2017 was appointed to sit part time as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Chancery Division of the High Court of England & Wales. 

Jon Sharples is an art and intellectual property lawyer, currently consulting for both Simmons & Simmons and Canvas Art Law. Jon also oversees operations at The Poetry School and is a trustee of Block 336 and the Liverpool Biennial.

Attendees are invited to submit questions on areas of interest in advance of the sessions, and there will also be time reserved for a discussion with attendees of the themes arising. 

Each session’s attendees will be entered into a draw to win a mixed case of beer from our long-standing sponsors Brixton Brewery, which will be delivered to the lucky winner’s doorstep! Please email us at if you would prefer not to be entered for the draw.

Block 336 thanks Arts Council England, London Community Response Fund, Canvas Art Law and Brixton Brewery for their kind support.