Introducing a new column by New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts

njvlaOn the second Friday of each month, NJArts.net will publish an article on art law written by a volunteer attorney of New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. The first installment, below, is an introductory article about the services NJVLA provides for artists and arts organizations in New Jersey.

New Jersey has always been an inspiration for artists and entertainers. Painters,musicians, and dancers have found their muse in the Garden State for centuries.

Today’s New Jersey artists face more legal issues than ever before. The Internet hasbreathed new life into copyright and trademark infringement claims. The proliferation ofcable channels means more independent producers are looking for content andproduction contracts. Newark and Jersey City gentrification has reduced the amount ofaffordable housing available to the struggling artist.

New Jersey Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts provides the New Jersey arts communitywith legal support and education. We provide legal referrals to volunteer attorneys andwe teach artists about their legal rights and responsibilities in developing, protectingand realizing the value in their work.

Almost any legal issue can be an arts-related issue in the right context. Just a fewexamples are copyright; contracts between an artist and a gallery, a musician and arecord label, a songwriter and an agent, or an author and a publisher; taxes onsongwriter royalties; real estate and landlord/tenant issues regarding studio space; andarts organization formation.

NJVLA provides three core services to artists and arts organizations: Legal Lines, LegalFax, and Full Service Representation. Legal Lines and Legal Fax are free and availableto any New Jersey artist or arts or cultural organization, regardless of income or annualbudget. Full service representation is also free, but is subject to income guidelines forboth individuals and organizations.

Our clients are both individual artists and arts and cultural organizations who areconfronting arts-related legal issues, including visual artists, musicians, songwriters,poets, dancers, filmmakers, writers, photographers and even the occasional artisticsushi chef!

Our founders are partners in New Jersey’s top law firms, retired judges, law schoolprofessors, and the publisher of New Jersey’s legal newspaper of record. We helpartists and arts organizations through pro bono attorney referrals and legal education.

Whether you’re an artist, an arts organization, or an attorney seeking to help NewJersey’s artists, we ask you to reach out to us and help us to build an empowered NewJersey artistic community.

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