You think you’ve got what it takes to be a star in the entertainment industry. You are ready to turn your dreams into reality. But on your journey to reach the red carpet, you begin to realize there are legalities. Lots of them. You’ve been asked to sign a confusing contract full of ambiguous clauses. You’ve created a work with other people and want to affirm your ownership in the creation. You may be concerned about copyright issues. You may not have struck the big time just yet, but a reputable attorney who is familiar with the entertainment world is a must-have player to add to your team.
How do you know it’s time to hire a knowledgeable lawyer? When you are asked to sign a written agreement it is time. The contract may not protect your best interests. It may include loopholes or unclear terms that can be used against you in the future. An attorney well versed in entertainment law can represent your best interest and negotiate agreements on your behalf so you can continue focusing on developing your talent.
In order to be successful it is important to establish your agreements
upfront. You want to get a tight and clear contract in the beginning to
avoid disputes down the road. Trying to get out of a contract later is
expensive and a hassle. An artist could tie up his or her career with
one bad contract, or even a single bad clause. You’ll end up spending
a lot of money on extra lawyer hours and figure out what you’ll
have to give up to be released from the contract or to get it modified.
Often signing a bad contract happens because the artist did not seek legal
counsel first. For as little as $250 you can have the contract reviewed
before you sign. This will save you months of headache and keep dollars
in your pocket in the future.
Never sign a contact blindly. You need to ensure that precise and fair language is used. Any unfair clauses and ambiguities need to be removed or changed. An artist should never risk their career by agreeing to a vague contractual agreement.
Some examples of red flag words to look for are terms like “delivery” or “best efforts”. What does “delivery” mean exactly? And what you define as “best efforts” most likely differs from the other party’s definition. Terms like this must be defined in concrete language. It is a good idea for you, the artist, to make a detailed list of each item you would like addressed in the contract and a good attorney can help you ensure you get what you need to succeed.
If you are creating works with others it is also imperative to create a written agreement as soon as the work is created. This agreement needs to document each party’s contribution and/or ownership in the work. Again, it’s much easier to establish this up front than back-pedaling or relying on short term memory later. Additionally, verbal contracts of any kind are best avoided. Get it in writing!
Remember that a poorly written contract can end up in litigation, wrapped up in court for months costing you money. You are talented. Now protect your talent! My team and I will take care of the legalities and do all of the heavy lifting, so that you can make waves yourself! Contact us today (251) 202-3374