It's easy to become overwhelmed with all the legal, business, administrative, and management issues that can stand between you and your projects. Don't get derailed or discouraged! Don't pay high commissions! Worse, don't ignore problems hoping they'll go away. Let us take out the clipboard and handle those things for you.
GG Arts Law provides a comprehensive range of services specifically focused on the needs of the arts and entertainment industry and making your life easier.
CLICK ON ONE OF THE FOLLOWING TO LEARN MORE...
Artist Visas, Green Cards and Related Planning for US Tours and Engagements of Foreign Artists
Tax Issues for Foreign Artists
Licensing, Copyright, and Intellectual Property
Contracts and Collaborations
Negotiation and Representation
Business and Non-Profit Counseling, Organization and Management
Creative Problem Solving
Seminars, Lectures, Board Retreats, and Workshops
Project and Artist Management
Artist Visas, Green Cards and Related Planning for U.S. Tours and Engagements of Foreign Artists:
In a global marketplace, the arts and entertainment industry has become international. Not only does the U.S. market expect to have access to the best creative artists the world has to offer, but artists are critical to presenting and preserving culture and building bridges of understanding and communication. The U.S. immigration process for foreign artists to obtain visas and work authorizations is viewed, not without some justification, as burdensome, uninviting, and discouraging. However, with sufficient expertise and planning, the process can be navigated and most foreign artists can, and do, enter and perform as desiredespecially with our help!
Our services not only include all aspects of preparing and filing visa petitions and applications, but working with presenters, venues, managers, agents, and artists to determine the most appropriate and cost effective strategies for achieving their goals. This includes maximizing classification periods, facilitating flexible itineraries, and interfacing with unions, U.S. consulates, and government agenciesparticularly when the government agencies make mistakes, which they will!
Tax Issues for Foreign Artists:
If the visa and immigration process were not enough of a burden, the Internal Revenue Service (along with various state tax agencies) has increased efforts to enforce and collect the tax obligations of foreign artists by pursuing not only the venues and producers who hire and present them, but the mangers and agents who promote them. U.S. tax laws are complex, convoluted, and arcane, involving both disparate tax treaties between the United States and the rest of the world and inconsistent procedures and policies between the IRS and various federal agencies.
Regarded as one of the leading experts on US tax issues for foreign artists, Robyn Guilliams authored and updated the tax section of www.artistsfromabroad.org, the most highly regarded and authoritative on-line resource for visa and tax issues for foreign artists and arts professionals who wish to perform or work in the United States. Robyn also regularly provides webinars, workshops, and seminars to assist those who must deal with these complex issues. Our comprehensive services in this area include determining tax liabilities and any applicable exemptions, preparing and filing tax forms, obtaining social security and tax identification numbers, arranging Central Withholding Agreements, serving as a withhold agent, and preparing and filing tax returns.
Licensing, Copyright, and Intellectual Property:
Other industries create cars, washing machines, or computers. Artists and arts professionals create experiences in the form of words, sound, images, design, and movement. We assist our clients in protecting their creative work through copyright and trademark registration and comprehensive rights management, as well as assist in licensing the necessary rights they need to use materials created by others in their own projects.
Our services include drafting and negotiating licensing agreements, assignments, options, recording and distribution agreements, production agreements, artistic commissions, collaborations, performance agreements, endorsements, and agreements for creative services, as well as rights clearances, title searches, E&O reviews, public domain and fair use evaluations, and related issues such as privacy, publicity, First Amendment, and defamation.
Contracts and Collaborations:
Too often, parties in the arts will agree to work together either without exploring all of the aspects of their intended relationship or with over-simplified contracts that don't adequately offer any actual protection. Alternatively, they will either cobble together boilerplate or "model" language that no one understands or, worse, dispense with any written agreement of any kind. Contrary to popular belief, a contract need neither be an invitation to make unreasonable demands, nor an opportunity to trap the unwary with confusing terms and language. It also need not be a complex document written on vellum, notarized, and affixed with ribbons and sealing wax. Rather, a properly drafted contract presents a critical opportunity to effectuate communication, build trust, and explore issues that the parties may not have consideredor reveal irreconcilable differences that could save both parties from a regrettable relationship.
We believe that all transactions in the arts should be approached in the spirit of a collaborative relationship. Anything less is a non-starter. Accordingly, we assist our clients in memorializing their understandings, decoding and clarifying language drafted by others, suggesting language and solutions for complex relationships and transactions, presenting terms and scenarios the parties may not have considered, and ultimately, drafting contracts that accurately reflect the intention of the parties.
Negotiation and Representation:
The business of the arts is about creating, evaluating, and pursuing opportunities. Either for fear of sparking a confrontation or offending a partner or collaborator, a person may feel awkward or uncomfortable being his or her own advocate or asking pertinent questions. Sometimes, they simply don't know what to ask.
From engagements, performances, and concerts to recording contracts, management and agent agreements, and production agreements to collaboration agreements, commissions, and licenses, we assist our clients in evaluating proposals and terms, understanding their options, and negotiating on their behalf.
Business and Non-Profit Counseling, Organization and Management:
New technologies and business models are allowing artists and arts professionals to abandon the traditional model of relying solely on others to promote, distribute and produce their work. Instead, they can now take greater control of their own careers by forming their own businesses, production companies, record labels, galleries, management companies, agencies, and non-profits. Along with this new entrepreneurial spirit comes the challenge of dealing with corporate, legal, and business issues that many in the arts community have never encountered and for which they have received little, if any, formal training.
We counsel and advise our clients with regard to all aspects of setting up and running their businesses (both for-profit and non-profit/tax exempt), from selecting and forming the appropriate corporate structure to assisting with their business plans, drafting financing and investor agreements, providing strategic advice and planning, drafting and reviewing corporate contracts and documents, advising with regard to industry customs and practices, establishing corporate policies and procedures, addressing employment and labor matters, advising with regard to insurance and liability issues, advising with regard to non-profit board formation and management, and facilitating compliance with all state and federal requirements.
Creative Problem Solving:
Occasionally, things don't goalways go the plan you had in mind to start when youintended it to go at the beginning!
Not to worry! Take a deep breath and let us help. Creative professionals require creative solutions. Whether its proposing solutions to an unattainable license, resolving a miscommunication, obtaining an emergency visa, avoiding a threatened engagement cancelation, finding a loophole, rationalizing a conundrum, or simply finding the right person for a client to talk to, our experience and expertise combined with our knowledge of the people, personalities, and nuances of the arts and entertainment industry often allows us to pluck our clients from the brink of despair.
While we are always grateful when we hear "You guys are great...I'll call you the next time I get in trouble", if you wait until there's a problem, many times all that can be done is to officially confirm than nothing can be done.
Many people are understandably reluctant to call an attorney either because they feel it will be too expensive or too confusing, or because it will ultimately result in someone getting sued. And with most attorneys, this is true, but GG Arts Law is the exception. By consulting with us before you sign a contract, embark on a new project, or take matters into your own hands, we can often identify a risk or problem, and propose a cost effective solution or suggest an alternative course of action, all of which could help avoid disastrous personal, professional, emotional, and financial consequences.
Remember, the only advantage to not planning is that failure will come as a complete surprise as opposed to being preceded by a prolonged period of worry and depression.
Unlike the typical "take no prisoners" approach to dispute resolution most attorneys use in the "real" world, we work with our clients to help them evaluate the best option for resolving a dispute, including mediation and arbitration, as well as positive peer and community involvement.
When two parties wind up in court, it almost always means one of them had bad legal advice. While a lawsuit is sometimes necessary and unavoidable, it should always be a last resort. A victory at all costs is not a victory. There are always costs, including non-monetary costs. We will work with you to assess the merits of a dispute, including whether or not a dispute is worth resolving in the first place.
Seminars, Lectures, Board Retreats, and Workshops:
GG Arts Law is dedicated to arts education...and not just teaching small children to play the piano. For us, arts education means actively creating and eagerly accepting opportunities to educate the arts and entertainment community on business and legal concepts and practices affecting the field so that artists, arts professionals, and those working in the industry can better plan for and control their own success. As a result, we are regularly booked as popular speakers at national and international arts conferences, conventions, and festivals, as well as interviewed for nationally broadcast programs, featured on educational webinars and distance learning programs, and asked to serve as lecturers at major colleges, universities, and arts fellowship programs. A list of upcoming speaking engagements, seminars and workshops can be found at In the Spotlight.
Project and Artist Management:
Through our elite project management division, Goldstein Guilliams International, we provide strategic, business, administrative, booking, tour, and consulting services to highly successful and dynamic artists, playwrights, composers, and arts organizations at the very top of their fields. Visit www.gginternationalllc.com.
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