WALA Creative Entrepreneurs Series (Legal Issues for Creative Entrepreneurs)

September 24, 2019  •  Mount Ranier, Maryland

Event Summary

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 Tuesdays, starting Tuesday, September 24, 2019 and continuing through *Tuesday, November 5, 2019, from 7pm - 9pm in the Gateway Media Arts Lab located in Mount Rainier, MD.

Please note: *There will be no session on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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

**Attendees must Register for each individual session. To do so, select the corresponding session date from the list below.

Register for individual sessions by selecting from one of the dates below.

The complete series includes:

Session #1:

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Copyright/Trademark Protection & Use


Presentation and Q & A with:

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 is jmason@copyrightcounselors.com and his firm website is www.copyrightcounselors.com.


Session #2:

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Business Entities Formation


Presentation and Q & A with:

Hardeep Grover

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

Hardeep Grover is an attorney with Tresquire, a solo practice where he focuses on helping start-ups and small businesses navigate legal hurdles. Hardeep began his practice immersed in the start-up culture of San Francisco, and developed his expertise as counsel to restaurants, theater, and film production companies in New York. Having returned to his hometown of Washington, DC, Hardeep now works with creative entrepreneurs in the technology, entertainment, and food & beverage industries. Barred in CA, NY, and DC, he works with clients in all three jurisdictions, striving to help people bring their visions to fruition.

In addition to his role on the education committee of the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, Hardeep is also President-Elect of the South Asian Bar Association of Washington, DC.

Hardeep received his BA in Economics from George Mason University and his JD from The George Washington University Law School. In his spare time he enjoys playing with wild yeast fermentation, and he dreams of one day owning a Rotovap and a cheese cave.


Session #3

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Contracts & Licensing


Presentation and Q & A with:

Karl Means

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

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 #4:

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Negotiation Strategies

This session has been postponed.


Session #5:

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Tax Strategies


Presentation and Q & A with:

Benjamin Grosz, Benjamin Takis, & Jonathan Holbrook

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.

This panel with over 70 years of combined 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 Founding Attorney with Takis Nonprofit Law PLLC. Since beginning his career in 2006, Ben has represented some of the largest pension funds, welfare trusts and labor organizations in the country, along with public charities, private foundations, lobbying groups, trade associations, and other nonprofits of all types and sizes. Prior to starting his own firm in 2012, Ben worked as an associate at the premier labor firm Bredhoff & Kaiser and the leading employee benefits boutique Groom Law Group. Ben also served as Of Counsel to Weinberg, Jacobs & Tolani LLP from 2013 until Mark Weinberg’s retirement in 2015, after which Ben took on Mark Weinberg’s nonprofit law practice under his own firm. Ben earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in 2006, where he graduated magna cum laude, with a concentration in taxation. As a law student, Ben was a recipient of the ABA-BNA Award for Excellence in the Study of Labor and Employment Law, and a winner of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel Writing Competition. Ben is a frequent speaker on nonprofit law, tax, corporate governance, and business management for a variety of organizations and educational institutions, including the Foundation Center, the District of Columbia Bar, HealthHIV, Tidewater Community College, the Greater Washington Society of CPAs, American University Washington School of Law, and Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts. Ben’s writing on employee benefits matters has twice been featured in BNA publications, and his writing on tax-exempt organizations law has been featured in the Thomson Reuters publication Taxation of Exempts.

Benjamin Grosz is a partner 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 a 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.

Jonathan Holbrook is an associate with Ivins, Phillips & Barker. His practice focuses on federal income taxation, as well as estate planning and employee benefits issues. As a student at Harvard Law School, Jonathan co-founded HLS Effective Altruism, advised low-income taxpayers through Harvard’s Federal Tax Clinic and was a winner of the 61st annual Williston Negotiation Competition.


Session #6:

Tuesday, November 5, 2019



Presentation and Q & A with:

Paul Marengo, Promethean Fundraising

Covered in this session:

(1) Are you ready for funding?

(2) What kind of questions will they ask me and What do I need to apply?

(3) What kinds of grants are there and where should I look for them?

(4) Once I get funded, what are the requirements and how do I manage my grant?

(5) Additional Resources

Paul Marengo is the CEO of Promethean Fundraising, a small boutique consulting firm that helps grassroots organizations become more competitive fundraisers. Mr. Marengo has 25+ years in non-profit organizational development. In his career, Paul has been the Festival Director for DC Film Alliance, the Asian Pacific American Film Festival as well as the Volunteer
Coordinator for DC Independent Film Festival, DC Underground Film Festival, Reel Affirmations, and now FilmFestDC. Further adding to his resume, Paul has been the event manager for organizations such as the Guerilla Film Festival and Reel Affirmations as well as a Theater Manager for the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Lastly, Paul has been a film judge for the NYC Independent Film Festival, The Washington West Film Festival, and Smart Philm Festival.

Event Details

  • Date

    September 24, 2019

  • Time

    7:00pm - 9:00pm

  • Partner

    Gateway Media Arts Lab

  • Venue

    Gateway Media Arts Lab
    3311 Rhode Island Avenue
    Mount Ranier, Maryland 20712

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