“When authors or artists license
their works, they need to carefully
consider the 4 W’s—Who, What,
Where and When. For instance,
exactly who are they licensing to?
In the online world, anyone with a
computer can appear to be a legitimate business. Artists and authors need to
do their due diligence and be sure the licensor is a real legal entity with a real address.”
These and other issues are being considered by law students from Arizona State University as they help artists via outreach activities throughout the Phoenix community.
Next Generation and
A win–win organization for artists and law
students, Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts (VLAA) is a national
group active in approximately 25 states. A
chapter was started at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’ Connor College of
Law back in 2009.
“Our mission is to encourage artists to
continue creating art by eliminating any
legal issues they might encounter,” says the
group’s president, Annie McManus-Spitzer,
a third-year. Specific activities involve providing indigent and low-income artists with
legal consultation in areas such as contract
review, copyright and trademarks, as well
as conducting “Know Your Rights” events
to inform the community about legal needs
and issues confronting artists.
The pro bono VLAA meetings with
artists are always conducted with an attor-
“VLAA definitely benefits the students
as well as the artists,” stresses Megan
Scott, formerly in-house counsel at Lucky
Peanut Productions. A previous VLAA
president and primary advising attorney,
Scott is pleased to see that the gap be-
tween attorneys and artists is being bridged
by the group’s numerous outreach activi-
ties through out the community.
“Artists cease regarding us as the ‘po-
lice’ in their world and begin to see us as
really nice people who chose a different ca-
reer path.” (Events posted at http://vlaa
Consisting of 15 law students, ASU’s
VLAA group often attracts those who have
a prior interest in the arts.
“My undergraduate degree is in music,
and I’m very invested in the Phoenix arts
Mural by Carrie Marill honors artist Margaret Kilgallen. (Photo by Lynn Trimble for Phoenix New Times, used with permission.)
Margaret Kilgallen mural formerly on the
garage of the Los Angeles County Museum
of Art. (Photo: Wikipedia)