Zak Moen

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About Zak Moen

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  • Birthday 03/02/1978

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    Ann Arbor, MI

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  1. Yes, I think so too. David had presented an alternative idea so I was commenting on that. But the standard is that the title passes to the buyer when the buyer pays the dealer, and the consignor is left to collect payment from the dealer. I can't disagree with Jacob's comment that US law can sometimes be a bit dysfunctional. But I suppose that is true to some extent with laws everywhere. Very difficult to create and enforce laws that are completely fair, just, and efficient in all circumstances.
  2. Under consignment law, the title/ownership of the instrument remains with the consignor until it is sold by the dealer, at which time title passes from the consignor to the buyer. In a typical consignment arrangement, the buyer then pays the dealer, who later pays the consignor pursuant to the terms of the consignment agreement. Thus, there is a risk of non-payment from the dealer to the consignor that would have to be litigated and collected. Your idea is an interesting one, but I'm not sure how it would work in practice -- basically the buyer would pay the dealer for the instr
  3. The UCC filing doesn't govern the relationship between you and the dealer, only your relationship to other creditors of the dealer. To explain a bit more (hopefully this isn't too detailed or legal) -- many business loans or lines of credit create a "blanket lien" on all of the business's assets and inventory, such that if the business can't pay the loan, the bank can seize the assets and inventory and liquidate them to satisfy the debt. This is called a "secured interest," meaning that their interest is secured by the assets and inventory (much like a home mortgage is secured by the home, a
  4. If I understand your question correctly, you are asking whether someone other than the maker of the instrument would be protected by the state art consignment statutes if they consign an instrument (i.e. a musician consigning their antique instrument)? It would depend on the language of the specific state statute, but the Illinois statute, for example, only protects the "artist," which is defined as "the creator of a work of fine art." So if it applies to musical instruments at all, it probably doesn't protect anyone other than the maker of the instrument who consigns it himself or herself t
  5. The comment was mine, and I actually agree with you that the result is unjust to the owner of the instrument. I'm just reporting what the law is, not defending whether it is just. Bankruptcy law is arguably always unjust to someone, as it is allows one person to discharge their debts at the expense of others. That being said, the US has made a policy decision that people should be able to start fresh and have the ability to file for bankruptcy protection. The unfairness of this law in the art market was recognized by the 31 states that enacted specific statutes exempting "work
  6. As many of you know, I happen to be both an attorney and a violinmaker. I am not familiar with the details of this matter, so like any good lawyer I will give the disclaimer up front that I am not providing legal advice and you should consult your own attorney on this matter. But in a general sense, consignments are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). Under the UCC, having a written consignment agreement is not typically sufficient to prove a consignment arrangement against a secured creditor of the dealer or bankruptcy trustee. So, in the case of a violi
  7. Thats a good question, and I'm not sure that I know of a good answer. Obviously, if you are dealing with suspicious sellers, as the Tribune Article said that Mr. Zaret believed he was, it may be best to avoid such sellers if you want to avoid the risk. It is best to deal with people who you know and trust (or at least who have the money to compensate you if you are required to sue them). Otherwise, the best thing to do is probably to investigate as much as possible, including getting as much information and documentation about the instrument's history and ownership as possible from the sell
  8. Thanks NewNewbie. The issue of who owns stolen art has arisen frequently in recent years in connection with art that was taken by the Nazis during WWII. As with most things legal, there are always exceptions to every rule, and it depends on which country and state's law applies, but I think Brad's statements above are correct. My understanding of the basic common law rule in the U.S. is that an individual cannot pass better title than s/he has and that a buyer can't acquire a better title than the seller holds. Because the thief does not have title to stolen goods, s/he cannot pass title t
  9. I think that simply posting links to the sites with the photos is generally OK, unless you are explicitly told not post the links by the owner of the site, but it is an area of law that is somewhat unclear, and there are some reported cases out there prohibiting linking, but they are usually in unique or extreme circumstances. I should mention, as a courtesy to my legal malpractice insurance carrier, that through my posts on this subject, I am simply trying to provide a general overview of general principles of law and am not providing legal advice that should be relied on in any specific
  10. Copyright notice was required under the 1976 Copyright Act, but the notice requirement was eliminated effective March 1, 1989 when the U.S. joined the Berne Convention. So, as it stands today, regardless of notice, if you post an image that you didn't create, isn't in the public domain, and you don't have permission from the owner to post, you are infringing upon the copyright (unless, of course, you can successfully argue fair use, which, as discussed above, is not a bright line concept and entails some risk, or some other exception, such as parody, etc.). Whether the copyright holder seeks
  11. Fair use under U.S. law doesn't provide bright line tests (i.e. up to a certain percentage of the whole, etc.), so more often than not it isn't clear what is or isn't considered to be "fair use." Thus, it is often difficult to be comfortable relying on it as a defense to what would otherwise be copyright infringement. Generally, courts consider and balance four factors when determining "fair use": (1) the purpose and character of the use; (2) the nature of the copyrighted work; (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion taken; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market.
  12. You are pretty close, at least under U.S. law (recognizing that many Maestronetters are not in the U.S., different laws obviously apply in some circumstances). Basically, U.S. copyright law protects original works of authorship that are fixed in a tangible form. The creator of such works owns the copyright in the work the moment that it is fixed in a tangible medium, regardless of whether he or she registers the copyright with the U.S. copyright office. So, copyright on photographs is generally owned by the person who took the photograph at the moment that the button on the camera is presse
  13. I think that is a great idea, and I'd like to participate. Zak
  14. Hi Dwight, Alf Studios frequently ships instruments, and I have recently shipped by Ole Bull violin for trial. We ship violins via overnight delivery in a case with foam blocks on both sides of the bridge -- the foam blocks go against the sides of the bridge between the top of the instrument and the bottom of the strings, one from bridge to tailpiece, one from bridge to fingerboard. The case then goes in a larger box with dense foam pieces a few inches thick around the case. In my time there, it has worked fine with no serious damage to any instruments, but, of course, there is always som
  15. Thanks! I just got some photos and information from Gregg, who is in China,that I will be posting on the Alf Studios blog very soon. Gregg can't post them himself because blogger.com is blocked in China.