Dear readers, friends, and colleagues,
As you may have noticed, I have been absent from this blog for the better part of a month. The reasons for this absence are myriad and range from interesting (a sudden and epic trip to Beirut, Lebanon) to uninteresting (Olympic-level laziness). Suffice to say, I plan to make sure that such a lengthy absence occurs never again. As things calm down over the next few weeks, I expect to return to the blog full-time and give regular updates at least once a week, starting now.
But that's not all. Back in September, I briefly mentioned a project that I've dubbed The Artist's Bill of Rights. The time has come to make this project a reality and friends, I want your help.
Here's the pitch: You're an artist, writer, musician, or filmmaker and you want to earn a living doing that. But as an artrepreneur, you know you have to sweat the business stuff to make a living. That's where the Artist's Bill of Rights can help you. It will be a guide to all those young starving artists out there who can't afford to hire a legal team, but desperately need to know how protect themselves and their work. And while the Bill of Rights isn't meant to be a replacement for real legal representation, it WILL at least give artists a primer on how to find the resources they need and give them a basic education in their legal rights. When the Bill of Rights is completed, I will provide it FREE OF CHARGE here on this website.
So what do I need from you? Two things:
(1) Just like the United States Bill of Rights, the Artist's Bill of Rights will have a list of Ten Rights that I think are the most important for artrepreneurs to know. I've already come up with more than enough to get started, but I realize that my experience in the art world isn't sufficient. So I'm asking every artist out there this question: what law or law-related issues do you wish you had been taught when you first started going it alone?
These questions can run the gamut from ownership of intellectual property, such as "if I'm commissioned to do a sculpture, who owns the copyright?" to payment questions such as "if a client doesn't like the work I do for them, can they withhold payment?" They can even be business oriented questions such as "what is the best corporate form for my design business... an LLC or a sole proprietorship?" As long as the question has a tangential relationship to the law, don't hesitate to ask me. I will incorporate the most relevant ones into the Bill of Rights.
(2) Maybe you're not an artist, but I'll bet my paycheck that you know one. Find him or her and direct them to this post. We live in a precarious time, economically speaking, but there's no reason why someone with artistic talent and ambition shouldn't be able to make a living doing what they're good at just because they don't know how to protect themselves.
My hope is that The Artist's Bill of Rights will be a tool that artists - young and experienced alike - can use to level the playing field and even *gasp* make a living doing what they love without fear of poverty.
I can be contacted through the Get In Touch link at the top, or directly at thelegalartist at me dot com.
Also... did I mention that it would be free? That's pretty important. Tell your friends!