Arts and Entertainment Law

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Rep. Matters

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 Synchronization 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 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, including Pacific Records. 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 and producer shopping agreements, intellectual property licensing agreements, and releases; and
  • Advising clients on the risks associated with creating, releasing, and using various types of creative works.
On May 9, 2024, the Supreme Court held that copyright owners may obtain damages beyond the three-year statute of limitations under the Copyright Act.  As this case originated from a circuit that applies the discovery rule to the Copyright Act, the Supreme Court assumed that the discovery rule applied…
In the most recent of three Copyright Review Board decisions regarding artificial intelligence (“AI”) works, the Board once again found that an artistic work generated by inputting the author’s photograph of a sunset and Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, into the RAGHAV AI Painting App, then selecting the intensity…
Nothing can stop Fat Joe, he’s all the way up…except perhaps, the Second Circuit. On October 17, the Second Circuit overruled the S.D.N.Y.’s dismissal of a songwriter’s authorship claim to Fat Joe’s “All the Way Up” before any discovery could take place, based solely on the defendants’ assertion that…

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.

Kim and Lupton v. Whitaker.  Lead counsel for musician who was sued for trademark infringement. A C.D. Ill. Judge granted default against the musician after his previous attorneys abandoned him days before a responsive pleading was due.  Irwin IP entered the case and, despite unfavorable precedent in the C.D. Ill., convinced the judge to set aside the entry of default judgment and allow the case to proceed on the merits.

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.

Spencer Sims v. PREACH Management LLC.  Lead counsel for plaintiff musician in a breach of contract dispute with previous manager which suit was amicably resolved with a favorable settlement

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.