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Post Co-Authorship and Past Congeniality: Creative Relationship Spoils

Synergy is the sharing of talent and ideas, the combining of two or more minds in order to produce a product superior to anything one is capable of creating alone. Partnerships may look like a constructive arrangement, one where everyone benefits. Maybe that is the case in the beginning, but what happens when the relationship falls apart? What is the consequence of that fleeting love affair or late night bar fight? In the context of art law and partnerships dissolving, who gets custody of the “kids”, a.k.a. the artwork? Artists are romanticized for their passionate relationships that include both personal and work related matters. However, all too often these fiery affairs go up in flames and the issues of authorship and ownership are brought front and center. The following is a review of three recent legal battles that have highlighted these difficulties, as well as a brief discussion on the prominent applicable laws that underlie the arguments.

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