Aaron is an arts and copyright lawyer with over 40 years of experience serving clients across Canada and the U.S. and internationally. His work focuses on Canadian and international copyright, the visual and performing arts, publishing, new media, architecture and design. He provides strategic planning and legal services to the arts sector, including contracts and licenses, libel and estate and donation planning for creators and collectors.
Aaron’s clients include visual artists, galleries, authors, publishers, museums, charities, estates, professional associations, non-profit corporations, foundations, auction houses, private collectors, architects, film makers and photographers, producers, record and music companies, music retailers, music schools, performers, literary and music agents and multimedia creators.
He works with individuals, corporations and estates in relation to their collectibles and archives, such as art, antiques and valuable chattels. He helps select professionals for authentication, appraisal, valuation recordation, storage and insurance of the works and assists with donation of the works to archives, museums and institutions to obtain the best tax and other advantages, such as the special tax benefits provided under Canada’s cultural property laws.
Aaron also advises on import and export and Cultural Property restrictions and advice on purchase and sales outside Canada.
He assists with author/publisher contracts, copyright assignments and licences and estate planning for creators. He helps in the creation of family foundations, museums and tax plans for donors, as well as documentation and searches for purchase and sale of art collections and collectibles. Aaron also deals with insurance coverages and claims for art and collectible damage and theft claims.
Aaron is an author and lecturer on the arts, intellectual and cultural property. He and his wife are collectors of post Second World War paintings, works on paper, ceramics and photography. He also sits on a number of boards in the United States, Canada and abroad.
- Canadian winery: Advising on the marketing of the persona and image of a Canadian sports personality for the production of branded wines under his name.
- Museums and galleries: Representing McMichael Gallery, Oakville Galleries, The Banff Centre, Art Gallery of Ontario, the George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, and Canadian Mining Hall of Fame regarding import and export issues, donation programs and tax advice, copyright licence and permissions, moral rights concerns, employment contracts and issues, estate planning and the founding and creation of the Gardiner Museum by drafting the special incorporation Act of the Ontario Government; Establishing an art collection policy for the Ontario College of Art and Design University Collection Policy. Representing various commercial galleries such as Loch Gallery, Kinsman Robinson Gallery.
- Art collectors: Assisting collectors in the purchase and sales of art with auction houses, with importing and exporting art and with donation of art and tax benefits available, and in preparation in wills and estate plans.
- Leading Canadian and international artists, photographers and cartoonists: Representing Freeman Patterson, Jack Bush, Joseph Drapell, Paul Fournier, Harold Feist, Beth Powning, Andre Gallant, Peter Powning, Kim Dorland, Jules Olitski, Ken Danby, Norval Morrisseau, Andy Donato, Larry Fink, David Levinthal, Robert Bourdeau, Edwina Sandys, Iain Baxter, Sir Anthony Caro, Alan Sonfist, Hadley and Maxwell, as well as Kenneth Noland.
- Interior design and architecture firms: Advising on the construction, design and contracts in Canada and internationally for public and private art commissions including trade mark, copyright, and licensing agreements of designs and new industrial creations.
- Canadian and international publishers and authors: Representing Simon Shuster, Firefly Publishers, Robert Rose, Madison Press, CCH Canadian Limited, Big Fat Pen Publishing Inc., Doug Gibson Books, Harper Collins, McClelland & Stewart Inc., Raincoast Books, J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter), Barbara Coloroso, Freeman Patterson, Beth Powning, Lloyd Axworthy, Jane Jacobs (Estate), Mark Tewksbury, Jeff Rubin, Laura Calder (books and television programme) in respect to publishing contracts, licensing agreements, estate planning and other media agreements.
- Various artists and authors: Advising artists and authors on contracts, taxation, intellectual property rights and estate planning. Representing their estates regarding copyright reproduction rights and moral rights in respect to commercial reproductions and licence agreements and prevent sale of fake or unauthorized works such as Jack Bush (estate) and Norval Morrisseau (estate) (J.K. Rowling), Morley Callaghan.
- Canadian auction houses: Representing in association with international auction houses such as Ritchies, Christie’s as well as representing Richies with the Government of Ontario first wine auctions permitted in the province of Ontario
- Foundations: Creating Canadian foundations for clients such as the Tate art galleries (England) and representing the Remai foundation in the purchase and import of a Picasso Collection of linocuts for donation to a new Saskatchewan museum.
- Confidential clients: Resolution of issues such as stolen art offered for sale, fake art (Renoir drawing, Morrisseau paintings). Representation in respect to copyright, permissions and payments advanced by artists’ collectives on auction advertising and catalogue materials.
- Canadian and international record companies, education and music publishers and performers: Representing various publishing and music licensing arrangements and copyright issues such as HMV, Frederick Harris Music Publishing Company, E.M.I. and the Royal Conservatory of Music.
- Repeatedly recommended by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2013, 2014) as one of Canada's leading lawyers in the area of Entertainment Law
- Rated AV Preeminent in Martindale-Hubbell
In the Media
- Aaron commented to the CBC in 2005 in regards to the forgery issue plaguing his client, Norval Morrisseau.
- Donating Art - Not as easy as you may think..., April 2015
- "Come back in two hours for your forgery," co-authored by Aaron Milrad and Christian Orton, IFAR Journal, Vol. 14, No.4/Vol. 15, No. 1, 2014
- "Monkey Business: Copyright and the Animal Auteur" Aaron Milrad and co-author Christian Orton - ArtBanc Intelligence, June 2013
- The Copyright Modernization Act - Proposed Amendments to the Copyright Act, October 2010
- Understanding The Harry Potter Injunction: Protecting Copyright and Confidential Information
- Buying, Selling, and Donating Art
- The Valuer as an Expert Witness
- “Copyright and the Visual Arts” - McGill University 2007 and 2008 Lectures
- ALAI Canada Publication entitled “A Copyright Cocktail” 2007
- “Art Antiques and Collectibles: Maximizing Donation Benefits” – Estate, Trusts & Pension Journal (Vol.24) 2004
- Author of the book, “Artful Ownership - Art Law, Valuation, and Commerce in the United States, Canada, and Mexico” published by the Appraisal Association of America, 2000
- Co-author of the book, “The Art World - Law, Business and Practice in Canada” - Merritt Publishing Ltd. - 1980
- IFAR Reports, Vol.17 No.11, November 1996
- “Canadian Court holds Museum to its Chartered Purpose”
- “The Collector and Estate Planning in Canada”, Personal Property Journal, Vol.6, No.3, Summer of 1994, page 15
- “Obligations and Responsibilities of Museum and Art Gallery Trustees”, MUSE Winter 1990, page 55 following
- Art & Auction Magazine, article entitled “Copyright-Canada”, Art & Auction, page 112, April 1989
- Personal Property Journal of Gems and Jewellery, “International Developments in Cultural & Intellectual Property Law”, Vol.9, Nos.1 and 2., page 11 following
Activities and Affiliations
- Member, Law Society of Upper Canada
- Canadian Bar Association
- Ontario Bar Association
Community Involvement and Pro Bono
- Member, Board of Directors, AXA Art Insurance Corporation (North America)
- Member, The Minister’s Advisory Council for Arts and Culture for the Province of Ontario to 2007
- Chair, Status of the Artist Subcommittee of the Advisory Board to the minister of Cultulture of Ontario resulting in the passing of the Status of the Artist Act to 2007
- Vice Chair of the Board (Former Chair), George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art (to 2011)
- Member, The International Board of Tel Aviv Museum
- Chair of the Governing Board, Museum Trustee Association (USA) (to 2010)
- Board Member, Canadian Friends of the Israel Museum
- Member of the photography committee of the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) until 2008
- Member, Board of Trustees of the International Foundation for Art Research (IFAR) NY
- Chair of the Art Selection Committee for the McMurtry Law Sculpture Garden (Toronto)
- Member, Board of Governors of the McMurtry Law Gardens Inc
- Chair, Art Committee, York Club Toronto
- Writer and lecturer in all aspects of copyright, art, photography, design, music, publishing, museum and media law at business, university and legal seminars in Canada and the United States
- Former Co-chair, Entertainment Law Course, York University
- Lecturer, University of Toronto, Museum studies course
- Former Lecturer, York University, Art History
- Lecturer, McGill University, Copyright law
- Banff Centre Publishing Course
- Panelist at the 2013 ASA International Conference (Oct. 13-16), San Antonio, Texas (American Society of Appraisers), "Issues of Authenticity for Appraisers", October 15, 2013
- Keynote Speaker, “Fakes, Frauds, Forgeries, and Funny Stories”, Museum Trustee Association Forum, Toronto 2009
- Keynote Speaker, "Collecting from the Collector's Perspective", Visual Arts & The Law Conference, Santa Fe, August 2008
- Keynote Speaker, “The Role of the Art Collector”, CLE Art Law Conference, Santa Fe 2008
- Presented, “Collecting Art, Issues and Concerns”, Royal Ontario Museum, 2008
- Presented, “Art Law in Canada”, CLE Art Law Conference, Santa Fe 2007
- Presented, “Copyright Considerations in Canada – Intellectual Property Law”, Erie Institute of Law, CLE Conference in Buffalo NY, September 2007
- Presented, “Issues for Boards of Trustees”, Opera Canada, Banff 2007
- Presented, “Copyright and the Visual Artist”, ALAI Conference in Montreal, May 2007
- Presented, “Copyright and the Visual Artist”, McGill University, 2006/2007
- Presented, “Fakes Fraud Forgeries – Funny Stories”, York Club, 2007, Granite Club, 2006