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Dispute Resolution for Artists: Choosing Litigation, Mediation, or Arbitration
with Zachary Rothenberg, Esq. & Arezou Kohan, Esq.
Artists may encounter many unanticipated conflicts--with each other, their audiences, companies or organizations, or government agencies. Co-writers may argue about who contributed more to a final screenplay, and how much copyright ownership, if any, each writer should have. A musician who signed a licensing or recording deal may argue with the licensor or label about unpaid royalties, or the label's failure to follow through on their promises. A visual artist may argue with a dealer about damage done to her artwork while it was showing or stored in a gallery. Someone who sees his image or trademark appear in a documentary might wonder if and how he can stop the release of the film, or receive monetary damages. A film producer may want to fire her current editor due to creative differences, but is concerned about breach of contract and screen credit issues. A nonprofit arts organization may argue with a government agency about funding the agency promised, but is now withholding. In many of these and other cases, a written agreement may be absent, rendering the conflict even more difficult to resolve. When such conflicts arise, should you try to resolve them in court, or outside of court through a method of alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation or arbitration)? What are the differences among litigation, mediation, and arbitration? What are the basic procedures for filing a claim in small claims or other civil court, and who offers alternative dispute resolution? When should you consult an attorney? We will cover basic procedures for pursuing resolution, in or out of court, and considerations for determining the best method for resolving your dispute (e.g., time, cost, finality and enforceability, and relationships among the parties). There will be an opportunity for Q&A.
Zachary Rothenberg is an entertainment, intellectual property, and general business litigator. Zachary is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School. After law school, Zachary spent several years at international firms before joining Grodsky & Olecki LLP. Zachary has experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in cases involving: copyright and trademark disputes, royalty disputes, breach of contract, fraud, unfair competition, and trade secrets, among others. He also regularly represents clients in employment litigation and health care industry disputes. Zachary is a panel attorney member of California Lawyers for the Arts.
Arezou Kohan was a civil litigator for over a decade before she discovered her calling as a mediator, life-coach, and author. Her range of life experiences, including volunteering in the emergency room at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, serving as a Judge Pro Tem in Los Angeles County Superior Court, and scaring off 2 black bears in the woods, inform her approach, along with her humor and compassion. A strong arts advocate, she volunteered at LACE before becoming founding President of the Board of Directors for Outpost for Contemporary Art. She is on the Los Angeles County Superior Court Mediation Panel, leads workshops on "Conflict as Opportunity for Conscious Growth," and has written the book, "Healing Conflict: How to Manage Disputes and Resolve Legal Conflict Through Higher Consciousness."
These workshops are made possible, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Department of Cultural Affairs, and the California Community Foundation. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council.