On June 17th, the National Network of Legal Clinics for the Arts released a report (in English and French) which revealed that there is a significant need and demand for better legal services for artists and arts organizations in Canada. The report summarized research initiated by three legal clinics — Artists’ Legal Advice Services (ALAS), Artists’ Legal Outreach (ALO) and Artists’ Legal Services Ottawa (ALSO). The report was based on research gathered from a national survey, regional focus groups and individual local interviews, with over 1,154 people from across the country responding to the survey.
The report recognized that artists in all disciplines face legal issues related to the distribution, creation and use of artistic and cultural works, including new and evolving issues due to the increasing digitization of the arts landscape and, with the rise of COVID-19, other pressing challenges have arisen, such as sudden contract cancellations that impact artists working in all media. Unfortunately, however, most artists cannot afford legal services, nor do they have access to lawyers with expertise or experience in the arts sector.
To remedy this widespread lack of accessible and affordable legal services and the limitations of the legal services currently available to artists and arts organizations on a pro bono basis, the report proposes a national network of legal clinics for the arts. This initiative would:
- facilitate collaboration among existing legal arts clinics to identify and propose solutions to nationwide legal issues
- allow existing clinics to improve their jurisdiction-specific content and services
- foster collaboration among clinics to deliver innovative legal information and support nationally
- cultivate and leverage existing relationships to develop new legal arts clinics in regions currently unserved
The needs assessment will help direct where ALAS will focus on developing resources and educational sessions for artists in Ontario. ALAS will also continue to work with our collaborators on establishing a true national network of legal clinics for the arts across Canada.
ALO’s press release on the report is available here, and the report is available in English and in French. It includes a description of the methodology behind the report, the complete results of the survey, and a fuller account of the proposed model of the national network of legal clinics for the arts.