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Sheppard Mullin has a strong tradition of supporting the arts community. One of the firm's founding partners, Gordon F. Hampton, was a serious art collector and patron of the arts, who served as a trustee of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and helped to found the Fellows of Contemporary Art, a non-profit organization active in promoting and funding the work of contemporary artists. 

In 1999, The Gordon F. Hampton Collection was gifted to The University Art Museum (UAM) at California State University, Long Beach. The bulk of the collection is maintained at Sheppard Mullin's downtown Los Angeles office, which serves as a satellite exhibit facility for the UAM and the university's art outreach programs.

Continuing our legacy in the arts, Sheppard Mullin's Art Law Practice Group draws upon a wide variety of legal fields to provide the following services to the international fine art community:

  • Estate planning for artists and collectors
  • Loans secured by fine art
  • Museum, foundation and gallery advisory services
  • Museum "franchising"
  • Exhibition sponsorships
  • Private and public commissions
  • Private sales, consignments and auctions
  • Licensing and merchandising agreements related to fine art prints, posters and consumer products
  • Charitable gifts
  • Provenance review and research
  • Restitution claims

We advise clients on a wide range of legal issues with digital art and digital art marketplaces. Some of these issues include:

  • Intellectual property issues – copyright ownership in underlying work upon which digital art is based and patent protection for digital art technologies (e.g., tools for creating digital art, programmable art; smart contracts for management of programmed/layered art; controlling display of tokenized digital)
  • Digital art and collectibles marketplaces – terms of service (TOS), EULAs, copyright infringement liability mitigation for infringing art; Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and Anti-money laundering (AML) issues

We also advise clients on a wide range of legal issues with use of blockchain technology for digital art and collectibles, including the tokenization of art through non-fungible tokens, including:

  • smart contracts for governing the sale and ownership of tokens;
  • securities law issues with token issuance, fractionalized ownership and pooling of art
  • Bank Secrecy Act and Anti-money laundering issues
  • market place issues for tokenized digital art and collectibles, including creator agreements, TOS, EULAs, copyright infringement liability mitigation


Portrait of Gordon Hampton, 1988, Arnold Mesches

Portrait of Gordon Hampton, 1988, Arnold Mesches

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