AMAE 4321: Law and the Arts


Course Description

This course provides students with an opportunity to learn about legal issues confronting people and entities who create, use, consume, and otherwise participate in the performing and visual arts realms. We will explore copyrights, licensing, contracts, auctions, performing arts services, and interacting with all forms of the arts in the Digital Era. High profile disputes and contemporary legal challenges will form case studies within which the class will learn about ways to protect rights, negotiate fair terms in business relationships, and address conflicts that arise in arts-related contexts. Incorporated into discussions about the law will be discussions about business aspects of the arts realms, including ethics-based questions and tools for dispute resolution.

Instructor Biography

Susan Benton Bruning, JD, PhD, is an assistant professor of arts and law in the Division of Arts Management and Arts Entrepreneurship, Meadows School of the Arts, SMU. Bruning received her law degree in 1987 and has been a practicing attorney for 25 years with a focus in arts, entertainment, and cultural heritage law. Her clients have included visual artists, actors, dancers, art dealers, private collectors, museums, musicians, film production companies, and non-profit arts entities.

Learning Outcomes and Benefits

Students taking this course will:

  • Understand key aspects of copyright law and how it applies to creators and users of art
  • Develop tools and strategies for negotiating deals and working relationships
  • Become familiar with important laws affecting the rights and obligations of visual and performing artists and others working in arts environments
  • Learn about high profile disputes in the arts world and explore ways to avoid or resolve disputes
  • Benefit from information about resources to help those in the arts protect their rights and develop professional relationships
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