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


njvlaOn the second Friday of each month, 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 has breathed new life into copyright and trademark infringement claims. The proliferation of cable channels means more independent producers are looking for content and production contracts. Newark and Jersey City gentrification has reduced the amount of affordable housing available to the struggling artist.

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

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

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

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

Our founders are partners in New Jersey’s top law firms, retired judges, law school professors, and the publisher of New Jersey’s legal newspaper of record. We help artists 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 New Jersey’s artists, we ask you to reach out to us and help us to build an empowered New Jersey artistic community.

We need your help!


Since launching in September 2014,, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.


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