As a graphic designer, do I need to find creative industry specific lawyers?
I have been looking for lawyers in Boston or the Greater Boston area that specialize in creative industry or marketing law, but without much luck. I thought that AIGA had a listing but either I'm wrong or I can't find it! Am I searching for the wrong type of help? Any insight would be much appreciated!
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I am a UK based lawyer specialising in IP and commercial work - about 75% of our clients are tech or commercial creative and we act for a lot of designers. I'd say that there will be issues around that you need somebody with good industry knowledge for, specifically on IP. The process of forming contracts is something that designers often struggle with, so in my experience, it's been about not just preparing the paperwork, but training you to use it properly and making it a habit, not a chore. If you can find a creative industries specialist, then I would say it is worth paying a bit of a premium but if you can't, or you can and you can't afford the extra cost, ask around your colleagues and friends where you work - the best way to find professionals is through peer recommendations. Good luck!
I am an intellectual property attorney in Seattle, but I could probably help you locate an IP attorney in the Boston Area for you. Could you be more specific about your situation so that we can determine whether the issue is related to copyrights, patents, trademarks, trade secrets, for example. Are you seeking assistance with the registration of IP rights related to your work product (obtaining legal protection of your intellectual property assets) or are you seeking enforcement of existing IP rights (due to perceived infringement by third parties)? Many practitioners have a unique niche.
You can contact me via LinkedIn or my website. I'll be happy to give you a referral for an attorney in your area who represents individuals and/or startups.
Christopher, you need a law firm specialised in Intellectual Property (IP trade mark, copyright, design registration). We can helpf with worldwide trade mark registration (protecting names and / or logos) and with design regsitrations (covering drawings and other designs). Please contact us and let us know what you require to have covered. We can also help with drafting. Best regards
IP Service International
As many respondents have noted below, the "buzz words" for the type of attorney you would need are "intellectual property" attorney. More specifically, a copyright attorney is probably who would be most helpful because the issues you likely would face in the arts field involve copyright law. Intellectual property generally covers the fields of copyright, trademark and patent law.
Whether you "NEED" such an attorney is a question we cannot answer because it depends. As a graphic designer who is likely to be hired to create various designs for businesses, i.e. logos, websites, restaurant or store motifs, etc., those businesses likely may want you to assign your rights to any of that artwork to their business so they can fully exploit it and not be hindered by you in any way. Because under copyright law, anything you create that is copyrightable you automatically own a copyright right unless your creation is during and for the purpose of an employment. If you care to retain your copyright rights, you might need a lawyer but if you mainly just want the business and don't care about the artwork once turned over to your client, you probably dont' need a lawyer. You also could encounter liability for infringing others' art or other IP as an artist and could need a lawyer for that. These are just a couple of examples.
If you need to find an IP lawyer but cannot afford to pay market rate legal fees, you could try a law-school affiliated IP clinic which the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has started sponsoring. The USPTO site lists those IP clinics at the following links:
I can only speak for Europe and UK markets, however I guess it would be the same in the USA
I wouldn't say you needa creative industry lawyer, perhaps a commerical lawyer who is well versed in Intellectual property (IP) law. I guess one of the things you are most concerned about as a designer, is someone or an entity stealing your work, or passing it off as their own.
Try searching on Commerical Lawyers, Digital Lawyers with IP knowledge and experience of having won cases for clients. (A successful prosecution).
Yes, you should find someone who understands the issues that come up frequently in your area. Moreover, the documents you will need are standard and you should not pay much for them. A lawyer who does not work with creatives will not know the issues you need to face and you will likely pay for their education. Also, you may find that they will draft documents from scratch instead of pulling from a library of documents that a specialist will have at hand. You probably need some pretty basic stuff at first as you start and grow your business. You might want to check with the entrepreneur groups in Boston or reach out to someone who's not in Boston by doing a search.
The simple answer is it depends. If you are looking for "basic" legal answers then you probably don't have to go to an industry specific attorney. But, my advice would be to try and find one. I think this is the best route to go because an industry specific attorney (unlike myself) should/would be more experienced with the nuances of legal consequences and considerations involved with what you are asking. I am not sure if AIGA has a formal listing but I would be shocked if you couldn't get someone in or involved with AIGA who wouldn't be able to suggest someone. If asking doesn't get you somewhere, then you should try searching news reports to see if an attorney has dealt with something related to your question because "niche" attorneys generally are more creative to getting their name out there to attract clients.
Sorry this is a bit general but I am not involved with the area you are seeking advice in but have dealt with clients trying to find assistance with narrow, "unique" subject matter questions.
If your question is related to Intellectual Property, like things that you've designed and you'd like to protect them and/or licence or sell them, then that's something I could help you with.
It usually boils down to getting the licensing or sales contract right and that's something a "normal" contract lawyer could do for you. If the issue is more specifically related to IP then it's a good idea to hire someone with a solid knowledge on IP as there are some specialities which need to be taken into account.
Let me know if I can help further?
What you need is a business attorney with some intellectual property (copyright and trademark) experience. Creative works are intellectual property.
If you need someone to sell or market your creative works, you will need an agent as well as an attorney. Some attorneys do both, but rarely do thay do both well.