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The Legal Rights of Freelancers

Employment and independent contractor agreements. Deferred payment plans. On-the-job liability. Termination and separation agreements. Wow! Regardless of your job, if you work freelance in the entertainment industry, it can sometimes seem like you need a law degree just to get by.

If you are a freelancer who has questions about your legal rights, we've brought together a group of seasoned attorneys along with an entertainment industry accountant, who will address these issues and more. Join us for this informative evening – and bring your questions.

Anita Katzen
is a partner at Schulman Lobel Wolfson Zand Abruzzo Katzen & Blackman, LLP.  She has worked as a tax accountant for her entire career, with a focus on entertainment clients. Her clients include actors, film, television and music producers, directors and writers. Katzen focuses on corporate and personal tax and cash flow. She has served on the New York State Society of CPA’s Entertainment, Sports and Art Committee for the past 15 years and was treasurer of the National Association of Women Business owners for 5 years. Katzen is currently the Treasurer of the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film & Television.

Nicole Page
Nicole Page
Nicole Page
is a partner at Reavis Parent Lehrer LLP.  She specializes in entertainment, intellectual property and employment law. She works with individuals and companies on an array of business formation and intellectual property issues including trademark, copyright, licensing and branding. She serves as production counsel and advises television and film production companies on issues ranging from financing, rights acquisition, ancillary right exploitation, talent and production agreements and content distribution in all media. Page also negotiates employment and separation agreements and provides counsel in connection with employment related issues.

Sergio Muñoz Sarmiento
advises visual and performing artists, private foundations, public charities and non-profit arts organizations on matters involving intellectual property, contractual agreements, public art commissions, authentication disputes, free speech and more. Sarmiento is a former Director of Education and Associate Director for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, where he advised and represented visual and performing artists and arts organizations. He has over 12 years experience teaching art, critical theory and law at the university level, and has had a contemporary art practice since 1994. In 2010, he founded The Art & Law Program and the Art Law School, a lecture series for artists. He currently teaches Contemporary Art and Law at Fordham Law.

Robert Seige
l has more than 20 years experience in the counseling and representation of directors, individual producers, production companies, writers, distribution companies and foreign sales agents concerning the development, financing, production, marketing, distribution and licensing of fiction and non-fiction projects. He represents performing artists, music recording and publishing companies, talent management companies, authors, playwrights and digital media content developers and providers. His clients’ projects have appeared theatrically and on television and have earned Academy Award nominations, Emmy nominations and awards, Peabody awards and prizes at major film festivals.

Susan Steiger
has provided legal representation to corporate and entertainment clients in the worlds of theater, publishing, film and music for over 25 years. Her clients include theatrical and motion picture producers, music publishers, book publishers and performers for whom she drafts and negotiates agreements. She advises clients on intellectual property rights, including trademarks and copyrights, and provides corporate services. After working at several prominent entertainment firms and a major record company, she established her own firm. Previously, she was an associate producer at ABC News Special Events, where her beat included political conventions, elections, the space program, and science documentaries;  and after that at 20/20. She is on the board of the Irish Repertory Theatre and is a co-producer of Menopause The Musical.

Moderator Octavia Taylor passed the New York State Bar with a singular focus: to be an advocate for artists. She began her legal career working at a music boutique law firm where she reviewed and negotiated music agreements for emerging producers and employment agreements for music executives. After a stint at VH1, she enjoyed being involved in the creative process of a television show so much that she began to pursue a career as a television production attorney. She eventually worked for both the Disney ABC Television Group and BET as a production attorney and as a marketing attorney for HBO. Taylor is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a service organization, and Fred’s Team, which is a fundraising program for marathoners who raise money for cancer research.

Produced by Ylana Kellar and Octavia Taylor.

Special thanks: Gina Riggi

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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events
are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of
Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York
State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and
the New York State Legislature.