Henry Self’s clients find their heads in the oddest places. First, there was Catherine Zeta-Jones, who discovered her head Photoshopped onto the body of a stripper in a Reno nudie-bar ad. And then there’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose melon was placed atop a bobble-head doll. As an attorney with the boutique entertainment-law firm Lavely & Singer, Self has come to the service of many celebrity heads in need of a cease-and-desist.
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But it’s inside his own noggin where the lawyer-slash-DJ gets really interesting. “The two disciplines share a lot more in common than you’d think,” he explains. Self would know, as he spends his nights and weekends behind the decks at haunts as diverse as the hipster downtown enclave the Standard and long-running goth-fetish party Miss Kitty’s. “Both require a precise attention to detail,” he notes.
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The two occupations intersect professionally as well. While still attending the UCLA School of Law, Self published a paper called “Digital Sampling: A Cultural Perspective” in the school’s Law Review. To date, his highest-profile cases have dealt with the intricacies of intellectual property and copyright, with a recent case involving a cabal of karaoke manufacturers setting a legal precedent. A day spent litigating issues of karaoke might not be as exotic as the stage performances at Miss Kitty’s, but from a legal standpoint, intellectual-property rights are the new frontier of the young millennium. “I’m fascinated by questions of art and law and property and expression and the boundaries and the limits of where rights interact with one another,” Self enthuses. “Where people interact with one another. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t really enjoy it.”