We just received word about a brand-new nonprofit organization in Canada called Clinique juridique des artistes de Montreal, or CJAM. For non French-speakers, that translates to the Montreal Artists Legal Clinic.
Read on for more info about this org and American groups that offer similar services.We just received word about a brand-new nonprofit organization in Canada called Clinique juridique des artistes de Montreal, or CJAM. For non French-speakers, that translates to the Montreal Artists Legal Clinic.
The new organization will provide free legal advice to Montreal artists (including musicians). Here's some info from their website:
If you're an artist, you know, you need to be a little bit of an entrepreneur to get your bills paid. In fact, to earn a living, artists need to not only be skilled at their craft but they need to be on top of dozens of other issues that have nothing to do with a paint brush, camera, note book or musical instrument. Many of these extra issues are legal ones. Unfortunately legal help is often expensive or otherwise unavailable to the artistic community.
This is why we've founded the Clinique juridique des artistes de Montreal. CJAM is the effort of a group of community-minded individuals (law students, academics, legal professionals and other volunteers) working to establish a legal clinic for Montreal's artists.
A legal clinic is a place where people get free legal information. Our clinic will be designed to give this information to artists and arts organizations that do not have the means to acquire the services of a lawyer. For example, our volunteers will be able to help artists understand the basics of copyright and licensing law. CJAM will not, in most cases, get involved in major litigation or as an intervener in appeal cases. We are mostly there to keep the artistic community informed. We want to help artists make sense of the legal and business issues that affect their work. Issues that can sometimes be difficult -- and expensive -- to understand.
The site's FAQ also has answers to questions about the organization's mission and who they aim to serve.
We at FMC are always supportive of efforts to help musicians navigate the often tricky world of copyrights and licensing, as well as the many other legal issues that can come with a career in the arts. But what if you're not from Montreal? Well, there are organizations in the US and elsewhere that offer similar services. One great place to start is Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (VLA), who offer legal services to the entire arts community, including musicians.
Organizations like CJAM and VLA are a great compliment to our work our own efforts to inform musicians about crucial issues at the intersection of music, technology, policy and law. There's tons of stuff for today's musicians to stay on top of, and it can be incredibly daunting to try to do it all on your own. Which is why we'll keep conducting original research, fighting for musicians' access to radio, the internet and affordable health insurance, and advocating for policies that get us closer to a musicians middle class. Won't you help us with our mission?