Entertainment Lawyer? I Can’t Afford That…Can I?

Having a good lawyer is not a luxury reserved for the musical elite…or any other elite, for that matter.  You might think you don’t really need a lawyer because you and/or your band are just small potatoes compared to power acts like U2 and the Black Eyed Peas…

…you’d be wrong.  

It’s even more important for small indie artists and bands to have legal representation to help them protect their interests (intellectual property rights, your stuff, your money…etc…etc).  Before you sign any contract for any purpose you should have your own lawyer read it and make sure it’s all good.  This is especially true if you’re handed a contract and there are any parts of it you don’t understand.  Sure, their lawyer can explain it to you but lawyers are paid to protect the interests of those who are paying them.  So, their lawyer is probably not going to be too concerned about whether or not you’re going to get screwed.  Most legitimate business people will give you a reasonable amount of time to have your lawyer check out a contract.  If they try and pressure you with the old, “It’s now or never” speech… I strongly suggest you reconsider doing business with them at all.

Yes, it probably is too expensive for you to have a super well-known entertainment attorney on retainer.  That’s why there’s Volunteer Lawyers For The Arts (VLA).  VLA provides pro bono legal representation (civil, not criminal) for all kinds of small budget (low income) artists as well as small budget nonprofit arts organizations.  They can help with contract review, contract creation, business formation…and much more.  Our local ELLA Project attorney, Ashlye Keaton, has done a lot of work on behalf of the Mardi Gras Indians and many, many other local NOLA artists.  ELLA isn’t the only game in the US.  There are VLA offices all over the country staffed with attorneys who are poised to do legal battle on your behalf.  You can find the office nearest you by checking out this VLA National Directory.

Posted on July 24, 2011, in Business/Legal and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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