Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

WALA Creative Entrepreneurs Series (Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs)

October 4 @ 7:00 pm - November 8 @ 9:00 pm

A series for creatives of all kinds who want to take the next step in their professional career by creating their own business. Explore the basics of forming a business for your creative endeavors, from deciding whether to incorporate as a non-profit or for-profit entity, to understanding copyrights and trademarks, to contract and negotiation skills and finally to taxes and leases.

The series comprises six sessions to be held on consecutive Wednesdays, starting Wednesday, October 4th and continuing through Wednesday, November 8th, from 7pm – 9pm at THEARC Theatre.

Sign up for the entire series or register for individual sessions, by selecting from on the dates below. 

The series is free for WALA members, and $20 per workshop for non-members.

Signing up for the complete series includes:

• Session #1: Wednesday, October 4th ~ Business Formation

WALA Creative Entrepreneur Series @ THEARC
(Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs)                      

Presentation and Q & A w/Presenter:

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


• Session #2: Wednesday, October 11th ~ Copyright/Trademark Protection & Use

WALA Creative Entrepreneur Series @ THEARC
(Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs)

Presentation and Q & A with Presenter:
John D. Mason

This session covers:

• 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 isjmason@copyrightcounselors.com and his firm website is www.copyrightcounselors.com.


• Session #3: Wednesday, October 18th     ~ Contracts/Licensing

WALA Creative Entrepreneur Series at THEARC
(Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs)

Presentation and Q & A with Presenter:

This session covers:

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


  • Session #4: Wednesday, October 25th     ~ Negotiation Skills 

    WALA Creative Entrepreneur Series @ THEARC
    (Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs) 

    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.”Learn:

    • 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: Wednesday, November 1st   ~ Grants & Leases

WALA Creative Entrepreneur Series at THEARC
(Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs)

Presentation and Q & A with:
India PinkneyGeneral 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 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.

Ms. Pinkney is an innovative thought leader, an encourager, and a creative who thrives on taking ideas from the inception stage through implementation. She is known for reshaping, expanding, and elevating ideas and programs from the ground up. She has a deep reputation for envisioning creative, nuanced solutions to challenging business, policy, and legal matters.She is involved in serving the community and supporting the arts and artists. She writes creatively, including poetry and short stories. Her motto is “Don’t give up on you. Just try one more time, then try again. The saddest place is when a person is only one idea, one moment, one person, one prayer away from living a dream.”



• Session #6: Wednesday, November 8th ~ Tax Strategies

WALA Creative Entrepreneur Series @ THEARC
(Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs) 

Presentation and Q & A with:
Benjamin Grosz and Benjamin Takis

“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 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.

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.

For more information about the sessions and the presenters, please visit:  www.waladc.org


Vance “Head Roc” Levy


THEARC: Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus
1901 Mississippi Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20020 United States
+ Google Map