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Legal protection for creative professionals, cultural institutions, and non-profits

Creative professionals

Whether you are working as an independent contractor, optioning story rights, licensing work for merchandizing or publication, or using copyrighted materials in your project, we are here to help.

Why we can help

Finding the balance between financial success and pursuing your artistic goals can be challenging for producers and artists. As a law firm that understands these unique complexities, we provide the legal advice you need to stay viable and independent in the commercial world.

Common issues we cover

  • Contracts
  • Literary and life story options and purchase agreements
  • Business formation
  • Intellectual property rights, primarily copyright ownership questions and fair use
  • Trademark registration

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Client stories

Artist's story: Museum trashes work of art

The scenario

Sculptor Michael Hunt Stolbach was referred to Lehmann PLC by the Pennsylvania Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. Stolbach had donated a mixed-media piece to the Albright College museum in memory of a friend. The papier mache piece depicted a mummy covered with obituaries of AIDS victims inside a house made from a copy of the U.S. Constitution. For a time, the work was displayed by the museum, but months later Stolbach was told his work had been thrown away. Stolbach got in touch with us at Lehmann PLC to ask whether he had any claim against the museum for destroying his work.

Our solution

The fact that it was a museum which destroyed the work was particularly shocking to us. Museum curators should know better—destroying a work of art violates the museum’s mission to preserve the works in its collection. Armed with Lehmann PLC’s legal recommendation, Stolbach approached the litigation firm, Morgan Lewis & Bockius to take his case pro bono.

Producer’s Story: Station threatens not to air producer’s show

The scenario

Tom Philips contacted us regarding a program he produced about the growing bear population in suburban New Jersey. The show was controversial and was receiving lots of press coverage. NJN Public Television, which had originally agreed to air the program, was now getting cold feet. Two of the wildlife experts interviewed in the program did not want the show to air. They claimed the appearance releases they had signed were inadequate. They were threatening to sue if the program was aired. Employees at NJN Public Television were also saying the appearance releases for the program were flawed and the station should not air the program for that reason.

Our solution

Philips wanted to know if the appearance releases he used—standard for this kind of programming—gave him the right to broadcast the interviews. More importantly, Philips asked what we could do to reassure NJN Public Television and protect his ability to seek other broadcast venues for the program. After reviewing the appearance releases, we drafted a strongly-worded letter to the CEO of NJN Public Television. This letter addressed the alleged deficiencies in the appearance releases and explained the protections available to NJN Public Television (including the producer’s representations and warranties and errors and omissions insurance coverage). We pointed out the statements by NJN employees about the releases could harm our client’s ability to exploit the program and could expose the station to legal liability. Our letter was effective. The program was broadcast and has received 12 television industry awards including five Tellys.

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