A new public clinic providing free legal advice to the creative and technically savvy will be launched this Thursday (17 June) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) by Chief Justice Paul de Jersey AC.
The IP and Technology Law Clinic aims to help musicians, artists, writers and technology gurus with limited financial resources and is being coordinated by experts from the QUT faculty of law.
A leading expert on intellectual property (IP) law, QUT's Professor Brian Fitzgerald said technology and IP laws are difficult areas for artists and creators to navigate.
"It's hard enough trying to get your talent or work recognised without the added pressure of having to be a legal expert on copyright issues, recording or publishing agreements, digital distribution, business models and the like," Fitzgerald said.
"Many artists just don't have the money to pay for expensive legal advice, but getting the legalities right is a crucial part of career development. This is where our new free clinic can help."
The clinic was established in conjunction with the Queensland Public Interest Law Clearing House - a not-for-profit organisation that coordinates the provision of pro bono legal services for individuals and community groups.
Co-founder of the clinic and lawyer Kylie Pappalardo explained that the clinic operates on three levels. "We are providing a free legal advice service, staffed by volunteer lawyers, that operates one evening each month and we are also coordinating a pro bono referral panel for ongoing or more complicated matters, which need more time that a one-off advice session," she said.
"The clinic will also give QUT's law students the opportunity to get involved in community service work by assisting with the advice service and pro bono referral panel."
According to Professor Fitzgerald, the clinic would not have been possible without the support of lawyers and law firms around Brisbane.
DLA Phillips Fox partner Ben Coogan said the clinic enabled law firms to demonstrate their commitment to pro bono legal services and community engagement.
"Like many other law firms in and around Brisbane, we at DLA Phillips Fox think this is an important initiative and are committed to providing quality legal assistance to creators in the early stages of their careers," Coogan said.
The next QUT IP and Technology Law Clinic will be held on 24 June.