BY JENN BALLARD LAW BULLETIN STAFF WRITER
After 37 years of practice, Mary HutchingsReed is accustomed to interpreting the law for her clients. “I practice in an area w here my clients tend not to be law yers,” she said of her w ork handling marketing, advertising, trademark, copyright and entertainment law matters.
“I tend to work with creative people and non- legal professionals, so I’m always in the business of translating the law for them, simplifying it into something they can understand.”
Reed applied this technique when co-authoring a book for the Law yers for the Creative Arts’ (LCA) six-part law guide series. The publications honor the nonprofit organization’s 40th anniversary, which was last year.
Planning for the books — which help artists handle copyrights and contracts — began last year. The first book was released last month.
“For our 40th year, we wanted to do something which would celebrate our mission,” said Reed, LCA co-chair of the 40th anniversary celebration and of counsel at Winston & Strawn LLP. “Helping artists understand their legal rights and obligations is a vital part of that mission.”
Since 1972, LCA has been a resource for artists and art organizations, matching them with volunteer law yers.
Reed and David W . Creasey, an associate at Winston & Strawn, wrote the first book in the series, “Book Law for Authors.”
The 90-page volume covers the basics of copyright law , publishing contracts and defamation.
“The book tries to discuss those issues in layman’s terms,” Reed said. “It would beto be authors. This book doesn’t replace going to a lawyer, but it alerts you of circumstances where you might need to talk to a lawyer.”
It also addresses electronic rights. “Everything is so easily accessible on the Internet, so there are a lot of questions about protecting your work and using other people’s w ork,” Reed said.
“A lot of people think, ‘I found this on the Internet; I can use it.’ But no — everything is protected by copyright. Just because someone put an image on Pinterest doesn’t mean you can pick it up and throw it in your book.”
Jason M. Koransky, an associate at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and former editor of Down Beat magazine in Elmhurst, serves as editor-in-chief of the LCA series.
“These aren’t books for law yers, and that’s been a challenge the w hole time,” Koransky said. “Every time I edit a draft, I’m always taking words out to ‘delawyerfy’ it, get rid of the legalese.”
Koransky also co-authored, w ith Kirkland & Ellis partner Barry F. Irwin, the next book in the series, “Band Law for Bands,” which will be released Oct. 1.
Irwin applied 15 years of representing band members to help musicians “understand how the law impacts precisely what you’re doing and get an understanding from a general standpoint of what the legal issues are.”
“There are a lot of issues in terms of, ‘Should we start a partnership?’ or ‘Who owns the music? Should w e trademark our name?’” said Irwin, co- chair with Reed of the LCA’s 40th anniversary celebration.
“These are all questions that young bands have when they first start. It’s written … to step them through the process for things they want to think about from an intellectual property, legal standpoint.”
Other topics and authors in the LCA law guide series are:
Visual arts, by Maureen B. Collins of The John Marshall Law School Film, by Robert J. Labate and Joi Monique Thomas of Holland & Knight LLP Performance, by Heather R. Liberman of Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler LLC Fundraising, by W illiam E. Rattner of LCA.
The books will be released every couple of months.
“The whole point of the LCA series is to help LCA clients make better use of their law-yers and help them speak the language,” Reed said.
“Book Law for Authors” is available on Amazon.com and at the LCA office,
213 W. Institute Place, Suite 403. It costs $9.