In anticipation of Patrice Perkins’ upcoming program Office Hours: Legal Education* on Wednesday, March 9 at Chicago Artists Coalition, CAC’s Education Assistant Rachel McDermott discussed some of the key legal issues for artists with Patrice.
What inspired you to work with creative entrepreneurs?
I've always loved creatives and creative arts. My initial inspiration came when I was very young -- I attended a Chicago Public School that was heavily focused on the arts. There was actually an award-winning film recently produced about the school. It touched on its curation of art throughout the building and its unique integration of the arts into all of the educational experiences. That was where I got my start, and it carried on into adulthood. I found myself wanting to immerse in creative communities, and from that, I learned that most creative entrepreneurs did not have attorneys. With an economics background, I also immediately saw the value in the creative intellectual property. I wanted to do work that could help creative entrepreneurs really leverage their intellectual property while honoring and nurturing their creativity throughout the entire legal process.
Which 3 legal concerns do you most commonly see artists encounter in their careers?
Waiting until something happens to hire an attorney instead of working with one early on as a business advisor, contracts "gone bad" and issues over intellectual property -- someone swipes their brand, or completely copies their work.
Why should artists consider starting an LLC for their creative practice?
An LLC protects their personal assets from liability that may arise from their business activities.
Under what circumstances would you recommend artists copyright their artworks?
Always. This is one of the things I work with clients on -- developing a strategy that makes sense to protect their work. There are so many benefits of registration we can't afford not to do it, but it's about prioritizing, planning the time and the budget to support it. Copyright ownership lives on 70 years after the creator's death. It makes sense to have proper legal protections in place that can help the creator, and their family down the road.
How can artists identify attorneys best-suited to represent them when hiring legal counsel?
Should they look for specific traits, characteristics, and experience? They should look for passion in working with creative entrepreneurs and attorneys who have a sincere interest in their work. Of course, experience is incredibly important but there a ton of experienced attorneys out there. Not all of them are going to be a good fit with creative entrepreneur clients. I've found that creative entrepreneurs really value the relationship with their attorney, so look for a firm who can be a long term partner.
* Please note that registration is now closed for Office Hours: Legal Education. To inquire about registering for futureopportunities in the Office Hours series, please email Education Manager Penny Duff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrice N. Perkins is the Creative ESQ. behind Creative Genius Law, a law firm serving as the strategic legal partner exclusively for creative entrepreneurs, innovators and change agents. She develops legal strategies and provides counsel in the areas of business start-ups, transactional law, intellectual property (trademarks and copyrights), social media, advertising, and marketing law. Recognized by the American Bar Association as a “Legal Rebel”, she encourages clients to leverage their intellectual property and abandon the starving artist mentality. She uses the law to protect and nurture creativity rather than stifle it. Patrice is committed to empowering creative minds with legal know how and frequently presents workshops on important legal topics affecting creative and social entrepreneurs Cyberspace for organizations such as Chicago Creative Expo, Chicago Urban League and the Chicago Artists Coalition. She is also a member of the professional development advisory committee for Chicago Artists Coalition’s Survival Guide. Patrice blogs regularly at Creative Genius Society. creativegeniuslaw.com
Rachel McDermott is a recent graduate of the College of Charleston with a BA in Historic Preservation and Community Planning and a minor in Art History. Now based in Chicago, she is an Education Assistant at Chicago Artists Coalition and Studio Assistant at Argaman and Defiance.