Advocates for the Arts
A Legal handbook for the Creative Industries
Advocates for the Arts is a law awareness initiative which seeks to equip persons working in creative industries, in particular, freelancers with better awareness of their legal rights to support their creative endeavours.
Law Society Pro Bono Services hopes that you find
Advocates for the Arts useful. Do let us know your feedback by emailing us at
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The ‘Advocates for the Arts’ legal handbook is available for download through the link below:
Download the booklet:
Foreword by Mr Adrian Tan, Vice President, The Law Society of Singapore
Dear reader, you hold in your hand a slim book with a broad aim: it is a legal guide for those who make their living in the creative industry.
Over the past few years, we in the Law Society of Singapore (the “Law Society”) have been meeting groups and individuals who play a part in producing music, literature, drama and art for all of us in Singapore. These people dedicate their lives to enriching the lives of all Singaporeans: they document our memories, they capture our moods, they define what it is to be Singaporean. Their ideas, spirit and skill inspire us, and make us proud to be part of this island.
The creative process begins with the romance of conceiving an idea, and ends with the birth of an artistic work. The period of gestation may be easy for some, and difficult for others. The reason? Sometimes, artists do not know what to expect. Or, they face people who do not behave as expected. Time and time again, the people we met told us how they were exploited. Freelancers were especially vulnerable to incidents of unfair treatment. Gradually, we formed the strong impression of our mission. We needed to impart a better understanding of how the law protects rights and promotes fair dealing. We needed to show how the legal system provides the creative community with a firm, safe scaffolding to support their endeavours.
The Law Society resolved to set up the Advocates for the Arts: an initiative to empower the creative community by informing them of their legal rights. We resolved to publish a handbook that would be useful to anyone making a living in the artistic community in Singapore.
We then met numerous arts groups, administrators and businesses to learn about the needs of the creative sector. We approached public spirited Singapore law firms, who enthusiastically agreed to contribute important chapters in the handbook. We told Colin Goh, the beloved cartoonist, entrepreneur and (yes!) lawyer, about our handbook, and he generously agreed to provide illustrations for us.
Thanks to all these contributors, you now have in your hand a unique publication: a legal text for artists and those who give us art. It expresses legal concepts simply and clearly. It provides practical information for the individual and the organisation, ranging from maternity benefits and insurance to templates to enable the reader to put together a do-it-yourself contract. Our legal toolkit is made available to you free of charge, as a service by the Law Society to the greater society of Singapore.
The Law Awareness Committee works tirelessly to keep the content relevant and we extend our gratitude to them, and the many volunteers who generously donated their time and expertise to produce content for this publication. We also thank the editorial team, and Portcullis Trust (Singapore) Ltd for their continued sponsorship.
I hope your find this book to be a useful guide to understanding the law around you.
Mr Adrian Tan
The Law Society of Singapore