Joshua J. Kaufman

Kaufman Joshua

Joshua Kaufman is head of Venable’s Copyright and Licensing Group and co-chair of Venable’s Art Law Group. He counsels and litigates in copyright, e-commerce, licensing, art, intellectual property, software, on-line issues, trademark, anti-counterfeiting, Rights of Publicity, entertainment, media, and literary law. He advises his clients in structuring and negotiating transactions in which they exploit and protect their intellectual property rights or in acquiring them from others. A former computer consultant and writer, he was one of the nation’s first computer and cyber attorneys. 

Joshua has experience in all forms of licensing of copyrights and trademarks. He has negotiated hundreds of licenses, representing licensees, licensors, and agents. He helps clients understand how to acquire and obtain licenses, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secret rights, and he assists them in exploiting these rights through licensing and joint ventures. If his clients’ rights are infringed upon, Joshua represents them in mediation, negotiation, arbitration, and litigation.

In his international art law practice, Joshua represents artists, collectors, art publishers, art licensing agents, auction houses, museums, and art licensees. His legal proficiency is augmented by a strong knowledge of the art world; he is an artist and was a gallery owner and importer in his own right. He was M.C. Escher’s first distributor in the United States.

To ensure his clients are paid and that they are not infringing on the rights of others, Joshua spearheads Venable’s Intellectual Property Audit Group. If a client has misused the intellectual property of another, Joshua seeks to extricate them from such circumstances in the most expeditious, cost-effective, and confidential manner possible.

Joshua has led hundreds of anti-counterfeiting efforts that have resulted in seizure, destruction, or elimination of thousands of counterfeited and infringed products. He has represented trademark, copyright, and other rights owners, as well as accused counterfeiters and infringers.


Representative Matters

Supreme Court of the United States

  • Successful affirmation, Copyright Work For Hire. CCNV v. Reid, 109 S. Ct., 2166 (1989)

Appellate Courts (Selection of Reported Cases)

  • Argued before the 9th Circuit October 20, 2008. Société Civile Succession Richard Guino v. Beseder, Inc., et al.
  • Copyright damages: Architectural works. Nelson Salabes, Inc. v. Morningside Holdings, et al., 284 F.3d 505, USCA 4th Cir. 2002
  • Music copyrights. Staggers v. Real Authentic Sound, 77 F. Supp. 2d 57, 1999 U.S. Dist. Lexis 19136, DDC 1999
  • Obtained affirmation, Consumer Protection Auction House Liability, representing Bill Cosby. Weschler v. Klank, 561 A.2d 1003, DC App. 1989
  • Obtained a favorable result on appeal (equitable estoppel), ownership rights in artwork. Barry v. Donnelly, 781 F.2d 1041, 4th Cir. 1986
  • Obtained a favorable result on appeal, Civil Procedure Summary Judgment. Zitelman v. Metropolitan Insurance Agency, 482 A.2d 426, DC App. 1984
  • Obtained affirmation, Estates Will Signing and Witnessing. Davis v. Davis, 417 A.2d 1008, DC App. 1984
  • Labor Law Employee vs. Independent Contractor status. Spackman v. DC Department of Employment Services, et al., 590 A.2d 515, D.C. App. 1991

District Courts (selection of reported cases)

  • Aaron Young Fine Arts v. O’Brien, 244 F.R.D. 294 (USDC MD 2007)
  • Pure Country Weavers v. Bristar, 410 F. Supp. 2d 439 (USDC NDNC 2006)
  • Société Civile Succession Richard Guino v. International Foundation for Anti-Cancer Drug Discovery, USDC AZ 2:06-cv-1540; 460 F. Supp. 2d 1105, 83 U.S. PQ 2d 1360 (D. Ariz., 2006)
  • Société Civile Succession Richard Guino v. Beseder, Inc., et al., USDC AZ 07-15582, 81 USPQ 2d 1260 (D. Ariz., 2006)
  • Agence France Presse v. Google, 2005 WL 3174405
  • Getty Images News Services v. Department of Defense, 193 F. Supp. 2d 112 (USDC DC 2002)
  • First Amendment/Freedom of the Press. Agence France Presse v. Department of Defense, George Bush, Richard Cheney, et al., 762 F. Supp. 1558, S. Dist. NY 1991
  • First Amendment/Press Privilege/Quash Subpoena. United States of America v. Usama Bin Laden, 98 Cir 1023, U.S.D.C.N.Y. 2001
  • Liability/Responsibility Art Collectors, Affirmed 2nd Cir. 1999. Graffman v. John Doe, 1998 U.S. Dist. Lexis 1339, DC SDNY
  • Freedom of Information Act. National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company v. Federal Bureau of Investigation 514 F. Supp. 1149, DC 1981




  • J.D. with honors George Washington University Law School 1975
  • B.A. University of Maryland 1972

Bar Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland
  • New York

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • Federal District Court Special Trial Bar
  • U.S. Court of Claims
  • U.S. Tax Court

Professional Memberships and Activities

  • Member, American Bar Association, Forum Committee on Entertainment and Sports
  • Member, Copyright Society of the U.S.A., Steering Committee (past), Washington, DC chapter
  • Founding member, District of Columbia Bar Association, Section on Art, Entertainment and Sports Law; founding member, Section on Computer Law
  • Member, National Computer Law Association
  • Founder, two nonprofit organizations: Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, DC; and the Society to Prevent Trade in Stolen Art
  • Co-author, Licensing for Dummies
  • Co-author, An Associate’s Guide to the Practice of Copyright Law
  • Contributor to the Licensing Royalty Rate Guide
  • Frequent speaker at museums, appraiser and auction houses, trade events, the Licensing Show, Surtex, West Coast Art and Frame Expo., etc.
  • Former adjunct professor, Entertainment Law and Art Law, Washington College of Law at American University
  • Founder and executive director, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, DC


  • The Best Lawyers in America, Copyright Law, 2023 – 2024
  • Washington, DC and Baltimore’s Top Rated Lawyers, Top Rated Lawyer, 2013
  • Martindale-Hubbell
    • AV® Peer Review Rated
    • AV® Preeminent Rated


Pro Bono

  • General counsel, Art Copyright Coalition (ACC), an international organization dedicated to enforcing the rights of the creative arts community


  • Member, International Cultural Heritage Forum
  • Past board member, Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, one of the nation’s foremost organizations providing independent housing opportunities for disabled citizens
  • Past board member, Learning Matters, an Emmy Award–nominated and Peabody Award–winning TV production company focusing on educational matters
  • Board member, Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts – which provides pro bono and educational support to artists and art organizations
  • Member, board of advisors, Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company

Personal Activities

  • Expert chef, world traveler (50 countries and 50 states), scuba diver, mountain climber, hang glider, and sky diver