Practice Areas

Boutique law firm . . .

Shrum Hicks & Associates PC is the premier entertainment law firm, a boutique of experienced entertainment lawyers with over 50 years of service, dedicated to protecting the intellectual property rights of creators, inventors, businesses and entrepreneurs. We have offices on the world famous Music Row as well as on Main Street in historic Franklin, Tennessee.  You can trust us with your legal needs.

Protecting your property rights. . .

The Nashville area is not only the heart of country music, but was recently ranked second on the Young Entrepreneur Council’s list of “startup paradises” as a result of opportunities arising in the varied fields of tech, computer, healthcare, education, real estate development, film and sports as well being the home to numerous venture capital and entrepreneurial “hatcheries.”  We have developed expertise in the protection of intellectual property rights no matter the form in which they are embodied.

Copyright, Trademark & Patents

Registration, management and protection of all forms of intellectual property.

In detail…

The intellectual properties of copyright, trademark and patent are our passion at Shrum Hicks & Associates, PC.  As Mr. Shrum put it in his seminal textbook on entertainment law & licensing:

“the pursuit of happiness through the creation of intellectual property is the very foundation of the entertainment industry, and benefits society by injecting ideas into the zeitgeist.  That is the essential purpose of copyright law”

–Barry Neil Shrum, Defending the Noble Arts:  A legal guide to licensing, protecting & monetizing intellectual properties.

We can help you protect your intellectual property.

At Shrum Hicks & Associates, we are dedicated to defending the Constitutional right of every individual to…

  • the exclusive use of their creations and inventions;
  • their rights to exploit their creations and inventions without fear that someone else will steal their ideas;
  • the exclusivity of a business’ logo and brand, or a person’s name, likeness, and other idiosyncratic indicia of their identity.

Shrum & Associates has made its clients millions of dollars by structuring deals, prosecuting infringement actions and negotiating and closing contracts.  We provide the following specific services:

  • Trademark prosecution – securing your rights in a trademark
  • Trademark clearances
  • Copyright registrations
  • Copyright clearances for publication
  • Patent prosecutions
  • Responding to office actions and appealing denied applications
  • Filing and defending trademark applications and cancellations
  • Cease & Desists letters
  • DMCA Takedown Notices and Defense

In detail…

Shrum Hicks & Associates counsel all types of businesses, including privately-held and public corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, non-profits, and other forms of organizations. Our clients include entertainment entities, entrepreneurs, start-up companies, manufacturers, retailers, service industries, and family businesses in almost every sector of the economy.  We offer counseling services in the following areas:

  • Corporate Formation and Governance of Corporations, Limited Liability Companies, Limited, General and Family Partnerships, Professional Associations and Joint Ventures
  • Choice of Business Entity
  • Business Plan Development, Review, and Counsel
  • Operating Agreements/By-Laws and Partnership Agreements
  • Agreements Governing Stockholder Relationships, Stock Options and Voting Trusts, including mergers and acquisitions and stock/membership interest purchases and transfers
  • Corporate Record-Keeping and Licensure Compliance
  • Regulatory Filings for Business Entities, UCC Security Interests, Trademarks and Copyright
  • Risk Management Advice and Recommendations
  • Operational Policies and Procedures Compliance Development, Review, and Counsel
  • Business Contracts (drafting, negotiation, and review)
  • Employment and Independent Contractor Agreements
  • Non-Disclosure and Non-Compete Agreements
  • Commercial Lease Review and Negotiation
  • Licensing and Distribution Agreements.

Our senior lawyers have served as advisors, board members and general counsel for:

  • The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame;
  • Christian Music Publishers Association;
  • Nashville Chamber Orchestra;
  • Save the Music Foundation.

Check out our VIP Counsel program for affordable general counsel services at this link.

Business & Corporate Law

Our lawyers have served as in-house counsel for Fortune 50 companies and as general counsel for music industry icons, and can tailor strategic legal and business planning for all types of businesses, including new media & technologies startups, and entrepreneurs, business entity formation, management & structures.

Endorsements & Licensing Deals

As counselors for some of the country’s top entertainers, celebrities, artists, and actors, Shrum Hicks & Associates can assist you with negotiating the terms, drafting the contract and closing those important endorsement deals and licensing transactions.

In detail…

The Roman merchants exploited the more successful gladiators who were sought after commodities, extoling the virtues of the merchants’ wares in and around the Coliseum on the day of the big game, just as the advertisers today do in the Super Bowl commercials.  Like today, the gladiators were given compensation in exchange for their personal appearance as well as on posters to place around the Coliseum (i.e., ancient billboards).  The gladitor’s right to sell their persona is an early example of what we now refer to as a person’s “right of publicity.”

The rights of a celebrity to license their persona – their name, likeness, image, signature and other attributes – is based on the legal concept of a person’s “rights of publicity.”  The right of publicity is the personal right of any individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, likeness, or other unequivocal aspects of their identity.

Barry Shrum, Counting Stars:  Celebrity Licensing & Endorsements

The right of persona, like its distant cousins copyright and trademark, is an intellectual property that is exploited through the process of granting a license.

The founder of Shrum & Associates literally “wrote the book” about celebrity endorsements, and the firm has negotiated and closed hundreds of licensing transactions involving the use of a celebrity’s persona, such as:

As experts in endorsements and licensing deals, we are the “dealmakers.”

We are the best reviewed Business & Entertainment Law Firm in the US.

If customized personal service by the best law firm is important to you, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Litigation

At Shrum Hicks & Associates, PC, we collectively have over 60 years of direct experience in defending and initiating lawsuits in the state and federal trial courts of Tennessee.  At the same time, we take a measured approach to litigation, refusing to rush into a civil lawsuit without first considering and exhausting alternative methods of dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation, or arbitration that can result in the successful resolution of disputes, usually at considerable financial saving to our clients.

In detail…

One of the original founders of Shrum Hicks & Associates, Mr. Barry Neil Shrum, began his practice of law as a Philadelphia lawyer in the firm of Clark, Ladner, Fortenbaugh & Young in their litigation department.  The firm represented insurance companies in the massive Superfund litigation of the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Mr. Shrum explains that early experience:

Under the 1980 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, companies that contributed to the contamination of a site are liable for cleanup costs, and if they could not pay the costs, the government established a “superfund” to cover the cost and then sued the site owner for repayment.  The site owner turned around and sued their insurance carriers for coverage, and that’s where our firm came in.

After moving to Nashville, Mr. Shrum began litigating infringement actions regarding copyrights and trademarks, filing actions on behalf of songwriters, artists, bands, corporations & record labels.

Shrum Hicks & Associates is now recognized as one of Tennessee’s most aggresive litigation firm in the arena of business and intellectual properties.  What follows is a just a few examples of the many types of cases handled by the firm:

  • Defendant of copyright and trademark infringement against an importer of replacement grill parts;
  • Class action suit against a publisher on behalf of a photographers’ consortium;
  • Reclaimation of domain names for celebrities who were the victims of cybersquatting;
  • Reclaimation of attribution and royalties for the estate of a deceased bluesman.

Shrum Hicks & Associates P.C. handles all types of civil and commercial litigation, including:

  • Copyright & Tradmark Infringement actions, both plaintiff and defendant
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Business tort defense
  • Contract disputes
  • Corporate litigations, including shareholder, corporate governance and director disputes

We serve as local counsel for large firms across the country, but no case is too small for consideration. Trust us to reduce the anxiety and worry that litigation can bring by developing a comprehensive strategy toward a successful resolution of your case.

In detail…

The Roman merchants exploited the more successful gladiators who were sought after commodities, extoling the virtues of the merchants’ wares in and around the Coliseum on the day of the big game, just as the advertisers today do in the Super Bowl commercials.  Like today, the gladiators were given compensation in exchange for their personal appearance as well as on posters to place around the Coliseum (i.e., ancient billboards).  The gladitor’s right to sell their persona is an early example of what we now refer to as a person’s “right of publicity.”

The rights of a celebrity to license their persona – their name, likeness, image, signature and other attributes – is based on the legal concept of a person’s “rights of publicity.”  The right of publicity is the personal right of any individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, likeness, or other unequivocal aspects of their identity.

Barry Shrum, Counting Stars:  Celebrity Licensing & Endorsements

The right of persona, like its distant cousins copyright and trademark, is an intellectual property that is exploited through the process of granting a license.

Shrum Hicks & Associates, P.C. has been involved at every level of protecting a celebrity’s rights of publicity, including the following:

  • Opinion letters
  • Estate management & cataloging
  • Establishing rights of publicity
  • Licensing personal property

We can help you sort through the applicable state laws that govern this particularly nebulous area of the law and clarify what rights your possess and how to exploit them.

Personal & Post Mortem Rights of Publicity

We help you and your family protect your name, likeness and other personal characteristics that form the basis of your rights of publicity and privacy.

Blockchain, Tech Startups & Video Games

We think outside the box, advising and consulting with new ventures and startups in media, technology, and business.

In detail…

Our team of lawyers have worked with tech startups, developers on the cutting edge of technology for over 30 years, with solid expertise in the application of current law to these burgeoning digital technologies.

Our founder was given the “Annual Mentor Appreciation Award” by the class of 2017 at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center.

We keep abreast of new technologies and application of the law, frequently advising technology clients on these matters.

With our passion for the creative, Shrum Hicks & Associates is the perfect choice to help with your new venture in the following areas:

  • Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) and other blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies
  • Video Game Law; design, development, marketing, merchandising, music & distribution
  • Determining the valuation for and assisting tech startups
  • Drafting term sheets for venture capital and angel financing
  • Application of intellectual property laws to digital ventures
  • Developing the proper contractual and employment documentation & systems
  • Protection of branding, copyright, trademark & patent