What with all the recent IMSLP brouhaha, it’s worth recalling that copyright is becoming an increasingly important issue for anyone working in the creative industries. I’m frequently baffled (and increasingly concerned) that so many of the writers, performers and composers that I come across don’t have even the most rudimentary understanding of how intellectual property works, and how it is crucial to their professional lives. Not brushing up even a little leaves you at risk like a shopkeeper who doesn’t know how to add up till receipts. (For professional journalists not to know even the most fundamental difference between a copyright and a registered trademark is particularly embarrassing.)
So, it’s particularly timely for the Legal Advice Centre of the Queen Mary, University of London School of Law to expand its free pro bono advice to the creative industries, starting from 7th November. Here’s a press release:
The Legal Advice Centre at Queen Mary, University of London launches new ‘Law for the Arts’ service
A new service at Queen Mary’s Legal Advice Centre (LAC) will provide free legal advice to people working in the creative industries on issues such as copyright and trademarks. From writers to musicians, and sculptors to performers, the LAC is launching a dedicated night which focuses on ‘Law for the Arts’ on the first Wednesday of every month.
The LAC, London’s first-ever undergraduate legal advice centre, was officially opened by the then Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, in November 2006. Since its launch, the Centre has advised over 150 clients on issues as diverse as landlord and tenant disputes, personal injury and tax, and VAT. However, despite the Centre’s success, Julie Pinborough, LAC Manager, noticed a void in the provision of legal advice for those in the creative industries.
Julie explains: “Over the course of the year, there were several clients who came to the Legal Advice Centre with legal issues surrounding their creative work. They had all previously found it difficult to ascertain free legal advice in these areas and we therefore recognised that the creative industries needed more legal support.
“The Department of Law at Queen Mary has an outstanding reputation in this field and we felt that with many of our students studying the areas of law that the creative industries would need to draw on, along with the unquestionable support and experience of the two law firms we partner with, we would be able to provide a service to this industry that will allow the creative individual to move forward more freely within their profession.”
Well versed in law
The new service could not have come at a better time for two London-based writers, who are about to launch an online poetry business. Katherine Bruce and Sonya Hayden recently set up DesignerVerse.com – a website which generates personalised poetry. Using pioneering VerseAbility(tm) technology, the site allows users to create personalised poetry online in under ten minutes.
Sonya Hayden said: “Setting up the business has been a real learning curve for us. We believe that words are the most powerful and timeless way to express yourself and we wanted to build on our passion for poetry by starting our own company. There are a number of legal issues which are central to our business, such as copyright, trade marking and intellectual property. The Law for the Arts service is exactly what we need to help us prepare for our launch on 30 November.” The two poets will be among the first in London to receive free legal advice on the Centre’s launch night on Wednesday 7 November.
As well as helping members of the public, the Centre also provides a vital stepping-stone for graduates as they enter the legal world, helping them to develop a greater understanding of legal issues. Professor William Wilson, head of Queen Mary’s Department of Law, said: “Legal Education is not simply about teaching students rules and regulations. It is also about developing a student’s understanding of the role played by law in fashioning relationships and protecting individuals against social and economic injustice. I cannot think of a better way for this understanding to come about than by pro bono work. It informs, and inculcates a socially responsible attitude, and it is marvellous experience for those who wish to join the legal profession.”
Note down these details; the way the world’s turning it’s increasingly likely you’ll need them:
The Centre runs an appointment only service with clients being offered appointments on Tuesday and Thursday evenings during term time, from 18.00 to 20.30. (Please note that term time runs from September until the end of May)
Book an appointment
Please contact the Legal Advice Centre Office:
Telephone: 020 7882 3931 (updated, Jan 2016)
Fax: 020 7882 7913
Queen Mary, University of London
Legal Advice Centre
Department of Law
Mile End Road