“Don’t sign anything until you know what it means and are comfortable with it.” ~ so say most lawyers including me.
Creative professionals – writers, artists, photographers, filmmakers – can learn to understand and become comfortable with the contracts that are used regularly in their businesses.
Simple explanations are often the best.
I’ve taken some basic contracts often seen by creative professionals and annotated them by adding my quick notes, providing explanations of the terms and recommendations for areas of possible negotiation.
Contracts annotated with QuickNotes:
SAMPLE AGENT’S LETTER AGREEMENT/CONTRACT
Take a look. Some things might surprise you.
For example, a contract provision from a traditional publishing contract with my quick notes looks like this:
AUTHOR WARRANTS THAT HE/SHE WILL NOT HEREAFTER ENTER INTO ANY AGREEMENT OR UNDERSTANDING WITH ANY PERSON OR ENTITY THAT WOULD CONFLICT WITH THE RIGHTS GRANTED TO THE PUBLISHER DURING THE TERM OF THIS CONTRACT.
• This is where you promise not to grant rights to any other person or publisher that conflict with the rights granted in this contract.
• If you are dividing up your rights to create multiple revenue streams, you need to pay careful attention. Monitor your rights and keep good books.
You can either download these annotated documents for future reference or refer back to this page.
I will be adding more Contracts with QuickNotes over the course of the next few months.
If you have already signed up for the Rip-Off Protection Report for Creative Professionals, you’re on my list and I’ll send you an email when I add a new annotated contract.
If someone sent you a link to this page, be sure to sign up for the Report so you receive notice of when a Contract with QuickNotes is added.
My goal in providing you with these QuickNotes is to give you the tools you need to be thoughtful about the law as your career develops. If you have a question about a particular contract provision, drop a comment below and I’ll let you know what I think.
NOTE: These contract quick notes are for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice for your particular situation.
How about making a guide book that interprets and explains the plain accepted meaning of legal language and how legal words are derived and used? What are the tricks they use to write confusing ambiguous contract specifications that benefit the contract writer’s goals and not the signer? For example legislation is deliberately contrived so the public can’t easily interpret it. The tax code is written to benefit big corporations and confuse the average tax filer. Of course this also propagates the legal profession so that lawyers are more necessary, but in the world of self publishing small contractors can’t often afford legal advice, but they will buy your book if you write it. Answer the question what do legalese words used, by definition, actually says and you’ll become a best seller.
My goal with this page is to explain confusing legal language in specific contracts to make it easier for non-lawyers to understand. If you have a contract or other document you would like to see broken down, send it to me (with all personally identifiable information stripped out) and I will see if it makes sense to add it as an annotated QuickNote contract here.
As for ambiguous legislation and the tax code, that’s outta my wheelhouse. Those lobbyists in Washington write that stuff. I can help with the Copyright Act, though if you have a question there.
Thanks for the comment.
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Thank you for your continued explanations and examples. Things are gradually much less foggy and I am learning so much from you.
Knowledge is usually gained in tiny steps, not big Aha! moments.
Thank you. As I write I am learning all kinds of things. I am far from being done, but any information is a great and wonderful thing. I seriously appreciate any knowledge.
I have only just became introduced to you and your amazing help to others and I’m already very impressed and thankful that these doors have opened for me thank you Kathryn, so much.
Welcome, Vivian. I hope you enjoy (and continue to find helpful) the blog posts and other information that comes your way from me.
I found you through a guest post you did on Jami Gold’s blog. I’ve had a chance to look at the report and there’s a lot of good information here. The contracts with your QuickNotes are wonderful, too. Thank you for making it available to us authors. I agree with Rachel above. If you ever write a book about interpreting the legalese of author contracts, I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Thank you.
I just downloaded the guide and wanted to thank you so much for your generous freebee. I am also copying your URL as I am a newbie author looking for an agent to publish several titles (short story collection, memoir and essay collection) that I am creating for publication. I appreciate finding you and your generosity. Thank you! When the time comes, I will be back in touch.
Thank you so much for providing these contracts for review and the free ebook. After 11 years of writing, I am almost ready to publish in 2017 (needs final edit). I hope to contact you soon. I most interested in discussing movie rights for my Novel for Change (Thelma and Louise meets The Da Vinci Code, sprinkled with quantum physics, Harry Potter for midlife women).
Your story sounds intriguing. I look forward to hearing from you that it’s ready to go!
How many books have you written in the 11 years of writing?
I am a newbie, with some misguided punctuation rules looming in my background, but I have some amazing stories to share. And lots of team support. Yep! I will succeed.