areas of expertise
Amelia K. Brankov is Counsel to the Litigation Group and the Art Group. She is a seasoned commercial litigator who is noted for her extensive and successful work in the advertising, art, fashion, film, television and media industries.
Ms. Brankov’s practice is focused on advising on complex disputes involving breach of contract, copyright infringement and right of publicity claims. As a well-rounded litigator, she has broad experience representing numerous plaintiffs and defendants in legal malpractice, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty cases. She has appeared in federal and state trial and appellate courts around the country and has represented clients in mediations and arbitrations nationwide.
In addition to her litigation practice, Ms. Brankov has an active art law practice. She advises galleries, auctioneers, collectors, artist studios, curators, antiquities dealers, art advisors, appraisers and conservators. She assists clients in all legal aspects of transactions involving artwork including purchase agreements, consignment agreements, and loan agreements. She also represents clients in disputes concerning the title to and authenticity of artworks, as well as business disputes among various players in the art world.
Ms. Brankov has been quoted in various media outlets and writes and lectures frequently on art law and intellectual property law issues. She is the Chair of the Intellectual Property Subcommittee of the Art Law Committee of the New York City Bar Association, the Co-Chair of the MLRC’s Litigation Committee, and a board member of Trusts & Estates’ Art, Antiques & Auctions editorial advisory committee. She has been named a Super Lawyer in New York for business litigation and intellectual property every year since 2013.
Select Entertainment and Media Representations
- Represent numerous advertising agencies and their brand clients in claims involving the alleged use of plaintiffs’ copyrighted material in television commercials and other marketing materials
- Represent fashion models in right of publicity and false advertising claims
- Defended an international beverage company and its advertising agency in a copyright infringement action brought by visual artist; the district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss on the ground that the works in question were not substantially similar
- Represented a filmmaker in a dispute with a collaborator over copyright ownership of film footage
Select Visual Arts Representations
- Assert copyright infringement claims on behalf of visual artists and photographers
- Represented an artist in an action involving flood damage to over 100 works of art which settled after jury selection
- Resolved a dispute among competing claimants to looted 20th century artwork
- Resolved numerous disputes involving the authenticity of artworks
- Represented a director in a corporate governance litigation involving foundation with over $1 billion in assets created by prominent artist
- Defended a visual artist against a copyright infringement claim on fair use grounds
Select Commercial and Tort Representations
- Represent numerous plaintiffs and defendants in legal malpractice actions
- Represent a law firm in a New York Judiciary Law § 487 action
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a surety bond company in a significant indemnification action brought against a real estate developer
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of a former chief executive of a media company in a securities fraud action
- Represented a bank in an insurance coverage claim against its fidelity insurer for losses resulting from a massive mortgage-based fraud
- Represented a freight forwarder in a class action alleging a worldwide antitrust conspiracy
awards & recognition
2013 - 2016 Super Lawyer in New York-area for business litigation and intellectual property
University of Texas (BA, with highest honors, 1999)
University of Texas School of Law (JD, honors, 2002)
- Member of the Texas Law Review
- Order of the Coif
University of Cambridge, Clare Hall (LL.M, first-class distinction, 2006)
Upcoming Speaking Engagements
A Copyright CLE You Can’t Afford to Miss
Does your business depend on copyright ownership and licensing or turn on changes in copyright law? Do you worry about copyright claims? If so, please join our star-studded IP Litigation Group as we identify the current hot topics in copyright, share best practices, and enjoy good company - all in the comfort of the Yale Club.
May 9 2017
Art Crime and Theft: Inland Marine Underwriters Association
Amelia Brankov participates in a webinar presentation on Art Crime and Theft. The webinar is hosted by the Inland Marine Underwriters Association.
June 6 2017
Past Speaking Engagements
Maintaining Art Collections
Amelia Brankov speaks to portfolio managers about legal issues involved in maintaining art collections at a private event.
April 25 2017
New York Foundation for the Arts: Legal Issues in Artist-Gallery Relations
Amelia Brankov presents on legal issues surrounding artist-gallery relations at an event sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
November 2 2016
VLA Art Law Mixer: Negotiating Contracts Between Artists and Galleries
Amelia Brankov speaks at the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA) Art Law Mixer.
July 19 2016
Fraud in the Contemporary Art Market
Amelia Brankov speaks on a panel at the New York City Bar: “Fraud in the Contemporary Art Market: The Lessons of the Knoedler and Johns Scandals"
June 15 2016
Art as an Investment: Authentication, Fakes and Forgeries
Amelia Brankov speaks to an audience of family office and hedge fund managers on, "Art as an Investment: Authentication, Fakes and Forgeries."
March 15 2016
Legal Issues in Conceptual and Multimedia Art
Amelia Brankov will co-present “Legal Issues in Conceptual and Multimedia Art” at Parsons School of Design.
February 25 2016
The State of Art: Current Trends in Art Investing and Collateralized Lending
Amelia Brankov co-presents “The State of Art: Current Trends in Art Investing and Collateralized Lending for Funds, Family Offices and HNW Investors” at Citco.
December 8 2015
Managing Art Investments
Amelia Brankov participates in a panel discussion for wealth advisors on managing art investments.
November 11 2015
Unlocking the Potential of Hidden Wealth
Amelia Brankov co-presents “Unlocking the Potential of Hidden Wealth: Managing Art and Collectibles” in Wilmington, DE.
October 29 2015
Legal Issues for Fine Art Insurers
Amelia Brankov speaks on legal issues affecting fine art insurers at a panel event hosted by the Inland Marine Underwriters Association.
October 22 2015
Arts Business Incubator
Amelia Brankov presents on copyright law issues at an Arts Business Incubator conference hosted by the New York Foundation for the Arts.
October 21 2015
Legal Issues in Multimedia and Conceptual Art
Amelia Brankov co-presents "Legal Issues in Multimedia and Conceptual Art" at Parsons School of Design
October 15 2015
Amelia Brankov at Art Southampton’s Symposium
July 12 2015
Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Art Transactions
July 12 2015
Practical Perspectives On Art Investment
May 17 2015
Amelia Brankov and presents on legal and accounting issues to MFA students at Hunter College in New York City.
December 9 2014
Art Law Basics CLE
Amelia K. Brankov records a CLE for National Academy of Continuing Legal Education on Art Law Basics on August 7th.
August 7 2014
Hot Topics in Art Law
Amelia K. Brankov presents a "Hot Topics in Art Law" CLE course for Lawline.
July 24 2014
Intellectual Property CLE: Lawline
Amelia K. Brankov presents a CLE on intellectual property issues in art law.
April 21 2014
Crozier Fine Art
Amelia Brankov speaks on legal issues affecting fine art underwriters at an Inland Marine Underwriters Association event at Crozier Fine Art.
April 10 2014
Amelia Brankov presents "Art Law Basics", a CLE course, for Lawline.
February 28 2014
Copyright and Contract Law
Amelia Brankov presents a lecture on Copyright and Contract law to visual artists at the Fountain Gallery.
January 7 2013
Chain of Title Issues Affecting Art and Antiquities
Amelia Brankov presents CLE course "Chain of Title Issues Affecting Art and Antiquities" at Frankfurt Kurnit.
December 12 2012
Copyright Basics for Artists
Amelia Brankov presents "Copyright Basics for Artists" at an event sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts in Woodstock, NY.
August 18 2012
New York Foundation for the Arts
Amelia Brankov presents a lecture on Intellectual Property issues at an event sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts in Woodstock, NY.
May 28 2012
Hot Topics in Art Law
Amelia Brankov presents "Hot Topics in Art Law" at a Frankfurt Kurnit CLE event.
February 1 2012
New York Foundation for the Arts Bootcamp
Amelia Brankov presents a lecture on copyright issues for writers at the New York Foundation for the Arts Bootcamp.
July 25 2011
news & press
Appraisal Relied on by Estate Undervalued Paintings by $1.77 Million
Recently, in Estate of Kollsman v. Commissioner the U.S. Tax Court held that an art collector's estate significantly underreported the value of two artworks for estate tax purposes. The problem: the estate relied on appraisals by an auction house specialist who had an incentive to "lowball" the appraisals to win the right to later auction the works. In addition to this conflict of interest, the court found that the values reported by the estate were unpersuasive because the auction house specialist exaggerated the dirtiness of the paintings and failed to adjust his appraisals after one of the works sold at auction for approximately five times more than the reported value. Here's what you need to know about the case.
Court Holds Art Advisor Must Pay Collector $1.05MM for Fraud
A New York court has ruled that an art advisor who brokered the sale of a collector's painting and secretly pocketed $1 million will have to pay the money back. Because the dispute turned on the advisor's agreement with the collector and what kind of legal duty the advisor owed to the collector, the case offers valuable lessons for people structuring art transactions. Here's what you need to know.
Hear, Hear for the HEAR Act
Has the Art Market Become an Unwitting Partner in Crime?
This Holocaust Remembrance Day, Something to Cheer For: Obama’s HEAR Act
The Observer quoted Amelia Brankov in the article, "This Holocaust Remembrance Day, Something to Cheer For: Obama’s HEAR Act,” covering a new federal law that applies to Holocaust art recovery claims.
Swiss Antiquities Dealer Files $77 Million Suit Against Getty Museum
New Federal Law Clarifies Foreign Governments’ Immunity in Connection with Art Loans to US Museums
President Obama signed the Foreign Cultural Exchange Jurisdictional Immunity Clarification Act into law on December 16, 2016. This new law clarifies when foreign states and fine art carriers can avoid a lawsuit in the US arising from loans of culturally significant artwork to US museums. The new law is important to museums and fine art carriers, and is expected to encourage art loans by foreign states. Here's what you need to know.
New Federal Law Will Govern Timeliness of Nazi-Looted Art Claims
On December 16, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act of 2016.
Thirty-nine Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2016
Super Lawyers listed thirty-nine Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2016 edition.
Avoiding Controversies Over Commissioned Artwork
Top 9 Takeaways From Knoedler Forgery Trial
Experts Say Ann Freedman Likely Settled Due to Surprisingly Damning Evidence
Amelia Brankov is quoted in Art Net in the article, "Experts Say Ann Freedman Likely Settled Due to Surprisingly Damning Evidence", which discusses the lawsuit brought by Domenico and Eleanore De Sole against Knoedler & Company and its former director Ann Freedman.
Knoedler Gallery Heads to Trial in Sale of a Fake Rothko
Law360 and Reuters Cover Our Big Litigation Win for 72andSunny and Starbucks
Amelia K. Brankov and Andrew D. Jacobs are mentioned in Law360 and Reuters articles that covered our win for 72andSunny in Hayuk v. Starbucks Corp. - a decision dismissing copyright infringement claims brought by an artist against a Starbucks advertising campaign. Read more here and here. Bloomberg BNA also covered the decision here.
The Ups and Downs of Estate Valuations of Artwork
Wealth Management published Amelia Brankov's article, "The Ups and Downs of Estate Valuations of Artwork" about the fluctuation of art value particularily in sales after death.
Amelia Brankov in Reuters
Amelia Brankov is featured in Reuter's Week Ahead in Intellectual Property for her work on Hayuk v. Starbucks Corp et al, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Are Art Purchases by Out-of-State Residents Subject to New York Sales Tax?
New York State's tax authorities have been investigating whether New York-area art galleries are properly collecting and remitting New York sales tax on sales of artworks, and a recent New York State Department of Taxation and Finance ("Department") Tax Bulletin has shed some light on several Department positions with regard to sales of property to out-of-state residents, one of which is important to gallerists, collectors and other art industry professionals.
Thirty-seven Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2015
Super Lawyers listed thirty-eight Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2015 edition.
No More Strings Attached
Can a Visual Artist Use Another Person’s Image in Visual Art?
Recent copyright infringement cases - including lawsuits against Richard Prince and Shepard Fairey - have sensitized the art community to the potential legal pitfalls associated with the use of another person's copyrighted photographs.
Court Dismissal of Art Collector’s Overcharge Complaint is a Cautionary Tale
Private Art Investor published Amelia Brankov's article, "Court Dismisses Art Collector’s Overcharge Complaint", about a recent lawsuit brought by prominent collector Richard F. McKenzie and his foundation alleging that his dealer overcharged him on art purchases in order to inflate commissions.
Court Dismisses Art Collector’s Overcharge Complaint
Last month, a New York federal court dismissed a lawsuit brought by prominent collector Richard F. McKenzie and his foundation (collectively, "McKenzie") alleging that his dealer overcharged him on art purchases in order to inflate commissions.
Thirty-four Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2014
Super Lawyers listed thirty-five Frankfurt Kurnit attorneys in its 2014 edition.
Does Katy Perry’s ‘Left Shark’ Copyright Claim Have Teeth?
Law360 published Amelia Brankov’s article, "Does Katy Perry’s 'Left Shark' Copyright Claim Have Teeth?", on the copyrightability of the "Left Shark" costume from Katy Perry's Super Bowl half-time performance.
What to Do if You Receive a Subpoena
The press has reported on an investigation by the New York County District Attorney's Office into whether New York-based art galleries and collectors are properly collecting and paying sales tax on art purchases.
Avoiding the Hobby-loss Trap
The International Sculpture Center Blog quoted Amelia Brankov on the significance of the recent United States Tax Court decision in Susan Crile, Petitioner v Commissioner of Internal Revenue Service, Respondent.
Six Steps Art Collectors Should Consider Before Buying
Professor’s Art Career Was Business - Not “Hobby” - for Tax Purposes
Earlier this month, the United States Tax Court held that the work of a visual artist - who was a full-time art professor - constituted a business, not a hobby, for purposes of the tax law.
Tax Victory for Collectors: Discounted Art Interests Turned $9 Million Tax Bill into $14.3 Million
To Copyright or Not to Copyright: New Federal Manual Provides Guidance on Registrability
The U.S. Copyright Office (the "Copyright Office") has released a public draft of its administrative manual, the Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition (the "Third Edition").
Donating Art . . . With Strings Attached?
New York Legislature Limits Sale of Antiques Containing Ivory
The New York legislature recently approved legislation prohibiting the sale of antiques containing ivory, except under very limited circumstances.
A Cautionary Tale For Cases Involving Damaged Artwork
Lawmakers Introduce Legislation to Protect Art Authenticators
Earlier this month, Senators Elizabeth Little and George Latimer and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal introduced a bill (S.6794/A.9016) (the "Bill") that would amend the New York Arts and Cultural Affairs Law to provide certain protections for experts rendering opinions regarding the authenticity, attribution or authorship of works of fine art. If passed into law, New York will be the first state to enact legislation of this type, and the Bill could serve as a prototype for similar legislation in other states.
Lawmakers Introduce Resale Royalty Bill for Visual Artists
Last week, U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin and Ed Markey and Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced the American Royalties Too Act of 2014 (the "ART Act"). The bill seeks to amend the United States Copyright Act (the "Copyright Act") to provide visual artists a royalty when their works are resold at auction.
Legislature to Introduce Bill Affording Resale Royalty Right to Visual Artists
In early 2014, Congressman Jerrold Nadler intends to introduce to Congress a revised bill to amend the United States Copyright Act to provide visual artists a resale royalty right (also known as droit de suite). The new bill will replace a prior version of a bill for the Equity for Visual Artists Act, which was originally introduced by Rep. Nadler in 2011, but stalled in Congress. If the bill passes, the United States will for the first time require a royalty to be paid to artists for sales of artwork on the secondary market.
Thirty-two Frankfurt Kurnit Attorneys Named “Super Lawyers” for 2013
Collector Seeks to Stop Photographer From Selling Digital Reprints
One of photographer William Eggleston's top collectors recently filed a lawsuit seeking to stop the artist from selling larger, digital reprints of some of his best-known, limited edition photographs.The lawsuit claims that the artist has no right to create these new works, even though they are in a medium that did not exist when he created the vintage prints and are much different in size.
Art On The Wall? You May be In For A Surprise
Is your restaurant tenant planning to have a mural painted? Are you planning to install a sculpture in the lobby of one of your buildings? Be cautioned that it might not be easy to remove that work and you might find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit if you damage the work. Even after artists transfer their ownership interests in artwork they created, they still may have rights known as “moral rights” to works located on your property. Here’s the skinny on what you need to know about moral rights and how they can affect your property.
New York Strengthens Law Governing Consignments From Artists to Galleries
Rules on Prehearing Dispositive Motions in Arbitrations
Defending Legal Malpractice Actions Alleging Conflicts of Interest
Practicing Law Institute published Amelia Brankov's "Defending Legal Malpractice Actions Alleging Conflicts of Interest".