When I started this site, I led off with my manifesto. Since then I’ve summarized this manifesto into a single sentence:
That my goal is to teach creatives that the law isn’t scary.
And while I’ve told you a lot about the law, I haven’t shared with you why and how I got to this point.
Before I went to law school, I worked as a wildlife biologist.
Parts of the job were great; I had amazing co-workers and got to spend the majority of my time outside. But there were only a couple career routes: you can work for a university, the government, or a consulting company. By the time I was 28, I’d done all three and couldn’t see myself doing any of them for the next thirty years.
Law school was something I’d considered right after undergrad, but ended up moving to D.C. to work for National Wildlife Federation and shortly thereafter met lots of angry, sad, and annoying lawyers and law students. That experience pretty much turned me off to the idea of law school.
But at 28 knowing I needed a change I revisited the issue, talked to lots of lawyers, and did my due diligence.
I took the leap and started law school in 2008.
My first legal internship was at California Lawyers for the Arts. And within a couple days, I knew I’d found my calling.
I quickly learned that very few lawyers know how to talk in any language other than legal jargon to their clients and that they didn’t understand (or care) that this legalese doesn’t make sense to most creative people. I also learned that I had a knack for translating legal jargon into something everyone could understand.
The day after being admitted to the California Bar, I opened up my own practice.
And three years later it’s still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. However, like most service professionals, lawyers can only work one-on-one with their clients. And even keeping my overhead low, the cost of working with me was out of the reach of many of the creative entrepreneurs that needed this approach the most.
A college roommate and I were recently talking about the things we love about each other. She mentioned that she loves that I’m that odd combination of a pragmatist and a dreamer.
This is something that comes natural to me. I’ve always enjoyed breaking down a current situation, imagining what I’d rather it look like, and then crafting a plan to get from here to there. This process requires both of these skills, to dream big and outside the box on what the solution or situation could look like, to balance the pipe dream outcome with one that’s realistic, and to craft a plan that can actually be carried out.
So I put this process to work. I imagined what it could look like if I was an educator of the law. Someone who could work with multiple people at a time and offer a host of tools and educational resources. This route would allow me to teach many more creative entrepreneurs that they law doesn’t equal scary. The result of that process is this website.
A place that you can turn to when you need to understand the law, but also know that the information you get will be tempered with the realities of running a creative business.
Both from the feedback you’ve given me and my experience with clients in my legal practice, I know that one of the biggest issues facing creative entrepreneurs is online copycats.
The fact is, it’s not if your work will get used without your permission, but when.
While there are lots of resources out there on what you can do, I struggled to find a one-stop shop that gave you all the information you needed. I wanted something that empowered you to understand your legal rights but also gave you the tools take action. While I found a couple of good resources, most of these either were too heavy or too light on the law part and none of them addressed the practical issues that arise when you combine this with running a business.
Because I couldn’t find anything I loved, I wrote my own guide. It’s designed to give you all of these things: the information, tools, and resources you need to deal with Internet copycats. So that you can calmly handle the situation – not fly by the seat of your pants in panic mode.
The guide not only helps you take charge and decide how you can, can’t, or maybe shouldn’t act but gives you action plans to select from and includes all the templates you’ll need to carry it out.
Click here to learn more about this guide.
I’d love to hear your experiences with dealing with online copycats. Let me know in the comments below.