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Catching up with MLA

Maryland Lawyers for the Arts is marking its 25th anniversary with a “Conference on Creativity & Law” tomorrow afternoon at the American Visionary Art Museum. The conference is free and open to non-lawyers, but you need to RSVP here.

Marcia Semmes, MLA’s executive director (pictured left), called it a “do-it-your-self copyright event,” featuring discussions on copyright law and a screening of “Copyright Criminals,” a documentary about music sampling that will be followed by a talk from filmmaker Kembrew McLeod.

“We think all of the pieces are there for an interesting afternoon,” Semmes said.

That MLA is celebrating its 25th birthday is an interesting story in itself. The organization existed in name only by the late 1990s until it re-launched in 2006. Two years later, MLA started “Arts Brief,” a quarterly e-newsletter that now has more than 10,000 subscribers. Semmes said she received a call from an artist in Washington State this week asking if Saturday’s conference will be available online. (It won’t, she added, but future events might.)

Semmes said MLA still wants to increase its reach beyond the Baltimore region, where most of its volunteers and artists reside. It will also be planning an event this fall to formally celebrate 25 years.

“We face the same challenges as any non-profit, but, knock on wood, we’re as stable as we’ve ever been,” she said.