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Hrbek Kunstler. Where Art and Business Meet.

Entertainment Law – As a creative professional, entertainment business owner or media entrepreneur who wants to focus on the creative and business development side of your company, selecting the right law firm is key. Hrbek Kunstler has the experience and commitment to protect your interests as you expand your reach and develop new revenue streams for the creative work that you generate.

Deborah Hrbek has represented creative professionals for her entire career.

  • Are you in the business of film, television or podcast production and distribution?
  • Do you write or publish books and other literary works?
  • Do you work in online journalism, either as a publishing platform or a writer?
  • Are you a photographer working directly with clients?
  • Are you running an independent record label, an artist management company or an art gallery?
  • Are you creative professional who has been presented with a contract from an agent, a distribution or licensing agreement, a record deal or other written agreement that you would like to be sure you understand all of the implications of before you sign?

From filmmakers to painters to novelists to performers - and the creative professionals and businesses who distribute their work - we represent clients across the spectrum of the entertainment industry. Whether you need help negotiating licensing and merchandising opportunities, agency contracts, book-to-film or film-to-book deals, fine art and photography licensing and sales, spokesperson or influencer client agreements, sponsorship and endorsement deals, or creative collaboration between talent, Hrbek Kunstler can help. Our breadth of experience in all fields of entertainment makes us the right firm to help you maximize the value of content across all media, in the independent sector and beyond.

Anti-Money Laundering Due Diligence in the Art Industry — Technological advancement has changed the nature of art industry transactions. Long-distance sales and new customers can potentially expose your business to increased risk. Art sales are a primary target for money laundering because pricing is generally opaque, participants can be cloaked in secrecy, paintings are easily transported, and the art market is still largely unregulated in the United States. Hrbek Kunstler will guide you through this dynamic legal landscape and the increased due diligence and Know Your Customer (KYC) needs of your growing business, whether you work at an art gallery, an auction house or as an advisor or consultant. Whether you are a gallery owner, an art dealer, an art advisor or fine art consultant, hire Hrbek Kunstler to get the protection you need to keep you in compliance with EU and UK art market industry anti-money laundering regulations, stay on top of regulatory developments in the U.S., and reduce your risk of getting unwittingly drawn into an illegal transaction with a money launderer or sanctioned individual.

NY Cannabis Law – From opposing the Rockefeller drug laws to supporting legalization and harm reduction, Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek are established players in the New York marijuana legal environment. Building on the depth of our experience in regulatory compliance and risk management, we provide legal support to clients who want to take advantage of the expanding opportunities that the MRTA has created in New York. Hrbek Kunstler will help you with NY OCM cannabis license applications, and we can prepare the legal documents you need in place to get your business up and running, and to keep you protected as you become operational.

Tech and Media Small Businesses – Hrbek Kunstler can handle all the legal needs of your small business, saving you the cost of an in-house general counsel. Services include company formation and maintenance, contracts, transaction work, financing documents, troubleshooting and other legal support. We are experts in due diligence and risk management processes to protect the growth of your business.

Activist Support – Hrbek Kunstler has a long history of fighting for civil rights in the United States. We are available to protect your passionate progressive political activities. From government surveillance to media censorship to attacks on journalists, we represent people or organizations that critique and investigate powerful interests.

Mediation & Collaborative Law – Mediation and collaborative law can keep you out of the courtroom, saving you time, money and aggravation. At Hrbek Kunstler, we handle business disputes to help you resolve conflicts and find a satisfactory solution.

Hrbek Kunstler clients are successful and growing independent media companies, New York cannabis industry entrepreneurs, art galleries and creative professionals on the cutting edge of entertainment, media and technology. Our clients have brought Hrbek Kunstler onto their team so that they can focus on the development of their business, secure in the knowledge that they are protected.

Contact Hrbek Kunstler now to schedule a consultation.

Media Law

Hrbek Kunstler represents independent artists and media companies, including publishers, TV producers, podcasters, digital news publications, filmmakers, writers, photographers, animation companies and other content creators, painters, art galleries, independent record labels, app developers, literary and talent agents, marketing and brand developers and more. Regardless of the type of deal at issue, our New York entertainment attorneys work with you to ensure that your objectives are met in your agreements before you sign.

More often than not, standard form cookie-cutter contracts do not reflect your business model, professionalism and values. We understand that first impressions are important and your written agreements say a lot about your brand. Hrbek Kunstler crafts contracts to make certain that they represent who you are and resonate well with the people you want to do business with. We negotiate and draft customized artist agreements, publishing contracts, partnership and collaboration agreements, development deals, master service agreements, endorsement and sponsorship deals, option agreements, attachment agreements, composer agreements, performer agreements, venue agreements, co-production deals, director agreements, NDAs, various types of releases, and sales agent agreements and more.

  • Keeping Ownership of Your Work. We will make sure you don't give away any more of your rights than are necessary to seal the deal.
  • Explaining the Terms of the Contract. We will review the written agreement with you line-by-line to ensure that you understand exactly what it says, and carefully consider the implications of the contract terms, before you sign.
  • Maximizing Your Creative Opportunities. We will suggest alternative contract terms that align with your career goals, especially as they relate to financial reward, exposure and creative control.
  • Protecting Your Creative Freedom. We will identify necessary revisions of the contract terms and draft appropriate additional language to meet your unique needs.
  • Negotiating the Best Deal. We will revise the terms with industry attorneys on your behalf, while you continue to focus on your craft.
  • Helping you Get Started in Realizing Your Creative Vision. We will advise you on the corporate entity that is the best fit for your business, we will form the LLC or corporation for you and prepare the corporate governance documents to meet your goals and address your concerns.
  • Protecting Your Business Relationships. We will create standard form contracts tailored to your needs for your agreements with other artists, partners, investors, vendors and industry professionals.
Business Law

At Hrbek Kunstler, we serve as general counsel to technology companies, creative business professional companies, and other startups and small businesses. Retaining us to assist you as general counsel is a cost-effective approach for a small business. We handle corporate formation and maintenance, advise on company structure, handle entity formation, draft corporate resolutions, advise on compliance with rules of corporate governance, draft agreements and provide guidance and advice on matters of business law. We have experience representing clients on both sides of the deal. For example, when handling a software license agreement, the software company may be concerned about ownership of the source code, confidentiality, and making sure they get paid. The software purchaser may be concerned about the software meeting their actual business needs, virus protection, performance milestones and approval rights. Both parties will be concerned about a clear scope of work and clearly defined deliverables and timelines.


Litigation can pose a significant threat to media companies, whether the litigation involves allegations of copyright infringement or libel. It is crucial to work with entertainment attorneys in New York who understand the law that applies in this niche. While Hrbek Kunstler collaborates with litigators who specialize in intellectual property, First Amendment, defamation, and cutting-edge technology and contractual cases, we help our clients resolve disputes outside of court wherever possible.

There are various methods by which a dispute may be resolved. Litigation is one method. However, mediation and collaborative law provide alternative forms of dispute resolution that can save you time and money, and preserve greater cordiality than does litigation. Mediation and collaborative law proceedings can be used for arts industry-related disputes as well as family law disputes. Courts strongly favor mediation as a dispute resolution method. In mediation, a neutral third party, known as a mediator, tries to help the parties communicate and reach a solution that both parties find satisfactory. The mediator does not decide the dispute, but she facilitates communication that can help the parties reach an amicable resolution. Deborah Hrbek has considerable experience in mediating arts disputes, partner and other general business disputes and family disputes.

If there is a notable power imbalance between the parties, they may need separate representation. In that case, it may be appropriate to pursue a resolution through the collaborative law process. When using a collaborative law approach, our lawyer will work with you to resolve your dispute, but the opposing party must retain and work with a lawyer from another firm. Collaborative law helps the parties try to negotiate a settlement that is as favorable as possible to all parties.

Consult an Experienced Entertainment Lawyer in New York

Whether you are an artist concerned about licensing your work or a film studio that wants to preserve as many rights as possible in a film, you should consult Hrbek Kunstler. Unlike many other firms in this area, we encourage innovation and experimentation with emerging business models. We maintain a high standard of integrity and foster transparency in business dealings. We represent clients in New York City and around the world when they are doing business in New York themselves, or working with a New York company. Call us at (212) 480-2400 or contact us via our online form.

That’s Entertainment Law

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Client Reviews
"Deborah is smart, pragmatic and forthright" Townes, Filmmaker.
"Deborah has the unique ability to present an 'ask' in a way that is undeniably clear and justified. She has fundamentally changed the way I approach my valuation in the industry by removing the 'cringe factor' from discussions around compensation. She brings a charming touch of grace to negotiations representing my company's value and supporting its reputation while simultaneously securing fair and equitable compensation. Don, TV Producer / Showrunner.
"Deborah made a confusing and painful process understandable and linear. We could not have asked for a better lawyer." Podcast Production Team.
"Deborah makes reviewing legal documents so easy. I know she always has my best interests at heart. It's a pleasure working with her." Melissa, Executive Director of artist not-for-profit organization.
"Deborah is simply amazing. She is a master at protecting her clients. She will protect you and always have your back. I am so lucky to have found her." Warren, TV Series Writer & Creator.
Contact Us
  1. 1 Flat Fee Consultation
  2. 2 Meeting Locations in Manhattan & Brooklyn
  3. 3 Phone or Web-Conference Appointments Available

Fill out the contact form or call us at (212) 480-2400 to schedule your consultation.