DON’T GET SCAMMED!” — A Writer’s Survival Guide and Free Legal Clinic

DON’T GET SCAMMED!” — A Writer’s Survival Guide and Free Legal Clinic

Saturday, November 21, 2009

“Don’t trust anyone,” goes the longtime maxim of Hollywood and New York publishing. Yet today, writers have to trust their material and ideas to dozens of people — agents, acquisitions editors, and development professionals. And over the past decade, scam literary agents and agencies and disreputable “editing services” have cost writers tens of thousands of dollars. “Idea theft” lawsuits have become more common than ever, in today’s online, new-media age. And how can writers who choose to go the self-publishing route best protect their books — and their pocketbooks? How can a writer tell “the wheat from the chaff?” How can we be sure that we won’t get ripped off?

Author and published film/TV critic (and IWOSC member) TELLY DAVIDSON will be interviewing top Hollywood entertainment lawyers CHRISTINE VALADA and (IWOSC’s own legal counsel) MICHAEL S. KLEIN on how to navigate these issues, including:
** Bad literary agents — how to tell incompetent / scam agents from good ones
** Editing Services — The Good and the Bad
** Legitimate POD (print-on-demand) and self-publishing businesses versus fraudulent “vanity publishing” houses
** How to Protect Your Ideas — and Avoid Idea Theft!

And while we cannot offer extensively tailoired “free legal advice” on individual cases, there WILL also be plenty of time set aside for Q&A with these experienced attorneys on the issues that you want to find out more about.

CHRISTINE VALADA is an experienced entertainment and intellectual-property attorney in Los Angeles. She has served on IWOSC’s annual Agents’ Day panels in the past, and is Legal Counsel for the Science Fiction Writers of America’s ( and an active contributor to their “Writer Beware” service ( An avid photographer, she has taught photography at the college level, and is actively involved along with her husband Len Wein, in the comic-book world. She has conducted and served on numerous legal clinics and panels on subjects relating to intellectual property and fraud/abuse cases in Hollywood and publishing.

is Legal Counsel for IWOSC, and a senior partner in the Los Angeles law firm of Klein & Weisz. After graduating Summa Cum Laude and elected to Phi Beta Kappa from Indiana University, he received his law degree at Yale, and has served as a Board Member for both the Beverly Hills Bar Associaton, the State Bar of California, and the First Amendment commission of the ACLU. He has spoken on the subject of civil liberties and the First Amendment on CNN, PBS, Pepperdine University, Loyola University Law School, and Southwestern University Law School. He has been an IWOSC member since its founding in 1982 and has offered special prices and reduced rates for IWOSC members’ legal work and consultation.