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Arts and Entertainment Law

In addition to its litigation practice, Irwin IP has substantial expertise advising artists and entertainers.  For example, Irwin IP represents, or has represented, numerous musicians and bands in drafting and negotiating their contracts (such as Band Operating Agreements, Performance Contracts, Recording Contracts, Management Agreements, and Synchronizations Licenses), including Ali Baba’s Tahini; Bones, Jugs & Harmony; Hayward Williams; Hoo Doo Groove; Howard “Jaui” Schneider; Kommunity FK; Mushroomhead Experience; Northwest Choral Society; and Scott Wesley.  Additionally, Irwin IP has represented some of the world’s most successful photographers, including Cesar Russ and Tosca Radigonda in, for example, obtaining copyright registrations, enforcing their copyrights, and drafting and negotiating model release and license agreements.  For example, Irwin IP was (or is):

  • Lead counsel for recording artist against The Orchard in hotly contested matter for unauthorized distribution of recordings, resulting in favorable settlement;
  • Lead counsel in several music sampling matters for well-known recording artists, which all favorably settled;
  • Lead counsel for numerous photographers in cases involving unauthorized use of their photographs, which all favorably settled, including a case involving a famous photograph of a celebrity where a favorable judgment and reasonable attorney fees were awarded; and
  • Lead counsel for the sculptor in a case involving the unauthorized copying of the famous Chicago DuSable statue, which favorably settled.

Irwin IP has also represented other entities in the arts and entertainment industry.  For example, Irwin IP represented Pacific Records on its legal matters.  Pacific Records has signed internationally acclaimed artists such as Lindsay Perry, Lito Romero, Men & Gods, and Sandollar.  Irwin IP also advises modeling agencies and arts foundations on matters concerning operation and intellectual property protection.

Representative issues Irwin IP is experienced in taking on include:

  • Obtaining copyright registrations and assisting clients through the process so they can comfortably register their own copyrights;
  • Enforcing intellectual property rights of artists and creatives through cease and desist letters and DMCA take-down notices;
  • Negotiating agreements in the arts and entertainment space, including collaboration agreements, band agreements, performance contracts, recording contracts, sync agreements, producer agreements, intellectual property licensing agreements, and releases; and
  • Advising clients on the risks associated with creating, releasing, and using various types of creative works.

Representative matters for Irwin IP, or its lawyers, include:

Composer v. Third Parties.  Lead counsel for prolific composer seeking to resolve ownership issues and secure rights to his musical works.  Assisted composer with negotiation and drafting of settlement terms.

Crider v. Alan Rado.  Lead counsel for plaintiff obtaining consent judgment and permanent injunction preventing unauthorized use of a television commercial.

Kahns v. Chicago Human Rhythm Project.  Lead counsel for plaintiff in a copyright infringement matter relating to unauthorized use of photography obtaining damages and an agreement to cease and desist.

Mata v. Orchard Enterprises and International Managing Rights.  Lead counsel for Patrick Mata of Kommunity FK in offensive copyright infringement suit against record label and music distributor for copyright infringement based on unauthorized reproduction and distribution of several compositions and sound recordings from Kommunity FK’s album “The Vision and The Voice,” which suit was amicably resolved.

Mural Artists.  Lead counsel for several mural artists seeking to have unauthorized images of their murals removed from various forms of media, including Getty Images.

Novoseletsky v. Our Film Festival, Inc. d/b/a Fandor.  Lead counsel for photographer Michael Novoseletsky in an offensive copyright infringement matter against a media company that used his copyrighted photograph without permission, culminating in a favorable judgment and an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees.

Zimnicki v. General Foam Plastics Corp.  Lead counsel for Zimnicki in several copyright infringement matters relating to decorative Christmas light displays resulting in numerous settlements totaling over seven figures.