2017 WALA Creative Entrepreneur Series at VisArts at Rockville – Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs  

Every Wednesday from 7:00 – 9:00 pm, beginning February 15 and running through March 22, WALA will present it’s acclaimed Creative Entrepreneurship Series at VisArts at Rockville, 155 Gibbs Street, in Rockville, MD 20850.  Participants can choose to attend as few or as many sessions as they like. The six-installment Series addresses a different topic each week, each vital to the success of the creative entrepreneur:

Session 1 – Business Entity Formation

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 

Presentation and Q & A with:

Karl W. MeansMiles & Stockbridge, P.C.

This Session Covers…

  • Overview of Business Entities
  • Types and Organization
  • Management and Control
  • Liability Protection
  • Tax-Related Issues
  • Business Agreements
  • Shareholder and Membership Agreements
  • Employment and Independent Contractor Agreements
  • Non-Disclosure Agreements
  • Non-Profit Entities
  • Types
  • IRS Form 1023 for Tax-Exempt Status
  • Common Mistakes for Entrepreneurs

Karl W. Means advises clients on a range of intellectual property-related issues, including working with clients on to protect and license copyrighted works covering a wide variety of subjects, including publishing, music, computer software and web-based content.  Karl also counsels clients on the selection and protection of federally registered trademarks in the U.S., international trademarks, domain names and web-based advertising, and brand development. He also has extensive experience with technology-based transactions involving the commercialization of products and services, brand licensing, technology transfer, software licensing and development agreements.

Before joining Miles & Stockbridge, Karl was a Shareholder in the Intellectual Property practice at the firm of Shulman Rogers.  Karl began his legal career with the U.S. Customs Service in Washington, D.C., where he was Senior Attorney in the Intellectual Property Rights Branch.  Karl holds an M.B.A. from Price College of Business, University of Oklahoma.

Session 2 – Copyright/Trademark Protection & Use

Wednesday, February 22, 2017      

Presentation and Q & A with:

John D. MasonCopyright Counselors LLC and Mason Literary

This Session Explores…

  • Copyright Registration
  • Fair Use
  • Works Made For Hire
  • Trademark
  • Rights Management
  • Creative Commons
  • Licensing
  • Protecting your creations

John D. Mason of Copyright Counselors, LLC is an art, entertainment and intellectual property attorney, and literary agent. He is based in the Washington DC/Maryland area. His practice focuses on copyright and trademark transactional matters, litigation, publishing and media issues, contracts, and commercial matters. He works with writers, artists, filmmakers and people and companies in creative industries to protect, promote and exploit their work. In addition to his law practice, Mr. Mason is adjunct faculty teaching Entertainment Law at UDC Law School, past adjunct teaching Art and the Law at George Mason University, Board President of Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, and past Advisory Board member of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington. His email is jmason@copyrightcounselors.com and his firm website is www.copyrightcounselors.com.


Session 3 – Contracts & Licensing

Wednesday, March 1, 2017  

Presentation and Q & A with:  

Diana ZarickAttorney, Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Contracting

Contracts are the basis for your business dealings. Learn how to read and understand a contract, and when to seek professional advice.

When is a deal a deal?
– Offer
– Acceptance
– Consideration

What can you license?
– Ownership
– Contract considerations
– Royalties

What Happens If Someone Fails?
– Remedies
– Deadlines
– Indemnification
– Governing Law
– Limitations on Remedies

Diana Zarick works as an attorney at the Smithsonian Institution’s Office of Contracting where she advises clients on negotiating and drafting contracts, including in the areas of copyright licensing, information privacy, technology, and entertainment law. Diana previously practiced trademark law, externed for Trademark Examining Attorneys at the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and worked as a research assistant at the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property. She is a volunteer for the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, and is a member of the International Trademark Association and American Bar Association. Diana has a JD from George Mason University School of Law (now Antonin Scalia Law School) and is actively barred in Virginia and DC.


Session 4 – Negotiation Skills  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017  

Presentation and Q & A w/ Presenter:
Sandra Sellers , 
Technology Mediation Services

“In business and in our personal lives, we are constantly needing to negotiate and collaborate with other people – people whose interests differ from our own. Success in our lives therefore can hinge on how well we engage in these necessary interactions with others. This program offers attendees tips and tools for being a successful negotiator and collaborator.”


  • the fundamentals of interest-based negotiations and avoiding the   zero-sum game,
  • the power of language in negotiations,
  • what mediation is…and is not,
  • when to consider facilitated negotiations,
  • how to facilitate meetings and avoid breakdown and deadlock, and
  • how to plan, prepare for, and participate in negotiations.

Sandra Sellers is President of Technology Mediation Services in McLean, VA. She mediates and arbitrates intellectual property, domain name, software, contract, and other business disputes. She also facilitates communication and dispute resolution during ongoing software contract relationships.

Ms. Sellers is an adjunct professor of mediation at both Georgetown University Law Center and George Washington University Law School. She was a member of the ABA’s E-Commerce and ADR Task Force and a member of the ABA’s Y2K ADR Task Force. She previously was Chair of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention & Resolution (CPR)’s Information Technology Conflict Management Committee. She also was a Director of the International Trademark Association, and chair of its ADR Committee.

Previously, Ms. Sellers was Vice President of Enforcement at the Software Publishers Association; a shareholder with the intellectual property litigation firm of Willian Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione; and a law clerk to the Chief Administrative Law Judge at the US International Trade Commission. She received her JD from George Washington University, and BA from Dickinson College.


Session 5 – Grants and Leases

RESCHEDULED to April 5, 2017 

Presentation and Q & A with:

India Pinkney, General Counsel, National Endowment for the Arts 

So now what? You are ready to get up and running. You are starting to look for a business or operating location and you are also ready to begin work. Let’s start. Whether you are completely new to the process or seasoned, have a lively discussion around:

  • The basics of understanding/negotiating leases
  • Common pitfalls of leases
  • Ways to determine the best leasing situation for you
  • The basics of understanding grants
  • How to make the most of your grant
  • How to properly manage your grant

How to adjust to business changes and shifts that impact your lease and/or  grant

India Pinkney is General Counsel for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC. As such, she also is the General Counsel for the President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities. She manages the legal operations of the organization and advises on a range of matters, from grants and contracts, to transactions and intellectual property, to employment law matters, as well as compliance, ethics, and litigation, among others. She advises the Chair, the National Council on the Arts, and other officials. She works closely with NEA and PCAH on the legal side of the production of public events, such as NEA Jazz Masters, Poetry Out Loud, and more.

Prior to working at NEA, Ms. Pinkney practiced international law for several years at the Federal Aviation Administration. She served as the principal legal counsel for the Safe Skies for Africa Program, advised on international aviation safety matters, provided legal consultation and training to countries, and engaged in high-level negotiations on a range of international matters. She worked at the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in Montreal, Canada, and in that capacity was the first American to work in the ICAO Legal Bureau in the organization’s history. She practiced in the DC office of the law firm of Baker & Hostetler, LLP, and immediately following law school, held a clerkship at the North Carolina Supreme Court with the Honorable Henry Frye, Sr., former Chief Justice. She received both her JD and BA from the University of Virginia.


Session 6 – Tax Strategies

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Presentation and Q & A with
Benjamin Takis and Benjamin Grosz

“Pursuing your art as a business can be daunting, and one of the biggest challenges is understanding the tax laws. Between the many types of federal and state taxes that apply to your business, it is easy to make a mistake that can set back your business for years.

The presenters (who both have active experience in the arts in addition to practicing as tax attorneys), will provide an overview of the federal income tax, a guide to the different business structures you should consider, as well as more advanced federal tax issues relevant to artists in the Washington, DC area.”
Benjamin Takis is the founding attorney of Tax-Exempt Solutions PLLC, a law firm specializing in tax, corporate governance, employment issues and business transactions for non-profit organizations and social entrepreneurs.” Since beginning his practice in 2006, Ben has devoted his career to representing non-profit organizations and tax-exempt entities. Ben honed his skills as an associate at the premier Washington D.C. labor firm Bredhoff & Kaiser and the leading employee benefits boutique Groom Law Group. At Bredhoff and Groom, Ben represented some of the largest pension funds, health care trusts, and labor organizations in the country, along with public charities, lobbying groups, trade associations, and other non-profit organizations of all types and sizes.

Benjamin Grosz is an associate with Ivins, Phillips & Barker, where he advises clients on a broad range of federal income, estate, and gift tax planning matters, as well as employee benefits issues. Before law school, Ben started his own financial planning business. Prior to that, he was a business manager at Capital One Financial Corporation, where he developed strategy and analysis for its credit card and banking businesses. His experiences in starting his own financial planning business and developing the business strategy for Capital One help him understand the needs of clients ranging from entrepreneurs to large corporations. Although lacking the talent to be a professional artist, Ben spent years singing with various choirs and has had the privilege to sing at the Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap, and the good fortune to participate in a singing “tour de France” with one of his college choirs.

Register Today!