It’s getting to that time of year where individuals reflect on the previous year’s accomplishments and everything they want to work on and improve in the coming year. At Edwards Creative Law, we are no different!
This year, we have come up with a few potential New Year’s resolutions for our creative blog readers out there – but since you’re a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know this stuff!
These fundamental considerations are for creatives of all types to keep in mind when working with others – whether it is a longtime partner, a new collaborator, or someone engaging you for a job.
New Year’s Resolution #1: Don’t Rush
Starting a new project is always an exciting time. However, it is important to take time to make sure that the project, and individuals you will be working with, are the right fit. It’s easy to rush into things when excitement abounds. However, putting the time in upfront can avoid trouble down the road.
It may be much more difficult (and expensive) to resolve a dispute that arises 10 months into a project – after everyone has already put in a bunch of time, effort, and money – than if that issue had been identified and dealt with at the outset because the parties had taken more time to consider their agreement.
It may be a red flag if a prospective partner is putting pressure on you to sign agreements before you have had the opportunity to thoroughly review them.
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New Year’s Resolution #2: Know Your Partners
As part of your due diligence before making any commitments, you should spend time getting to know your partners. Have conversations with them. Discuss each of your expectations of the project and of each other. Complete independent research.
Look up the individuals or organizations online to see if they have credits or a virtual footprint. For example, if the partner is selling themself based on prior work and successes, this can often be found online. In addition, speak to mutual acquaintances for their thoughts.
You never know how long you may be tied to a partner, and therefore, you want to make sure they are the right fit.
New Year’s Resolution #3: Discuss Key Terms
Once you are confident in who you are working with, make sure to have conversations with them about the project. Key terms and expectations should be discussed at an early stage.
What are the obligations or services that each party needs to perform? Are there deliverables, and if so, what are the details? Is anyone contributing finances? Who is entitled to receive compensation and/or revenue from the project? What does ownership of the project look like?
New Year’s Resolution #4: Agree on Terms
A direct follow-up to the previous point is to make sure there is agreement on the key (essential) terms of the relationship. Some key terms are identified in the previous paragraph. Recording the agreed terms in some form is important.
While a long-form agreement is not required, a recording that sets out the agreed-upon terms as well as both parties’ agreement of those terms is important in creating an enforceable contract. The parties’ agreement can be shown through signature or a clear communication (such as, an email) wherein each party writes that they agree to the terms.
New Year’s Resolution #5: Work with an Entertainment Lawyer
If you have any questions, issues or need assistance with the topics discussed in this blog (or other entertainment legal topics), know that there are entertainment lawyers to whom you can always turn.
Our job is to advocate for you in legal matters relating to the entertainment industry. This may be to discuss legal considerations relating to your work, draft, and review agreements, evaluate legal risks and discuss how to minimize or avoid them, and many other types of legal services.
This blog identifies a few fundamental legal considerations for creatives to keep in mind as we enter the new year. Remember to take your time, make sure the opportunity is the right one for you, and make sure that the key terms to the relationship are discussed and agreed upon.
If at any time you have questions and are uncertain how to proceed, we encourage you to reach out to an entertainment lawyer for assistance.
From all of us at Edwards Creative Law, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!
© 2023 Edwards Creative Law, LLP – Updated to December 21, 2023
Edwards Creative Law is Canada’s Entertainment Law Boutique™, providing legal services to Canadians, and international clients who partner with Canadians, in the Film & Television, Music, Video Games and Apps, Publishing and Literary industries.
For more information or to set up a minute Discovery Call with one of our entertainment lawyers please feel free to Contact Us.
* This blog is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Please contact Edwards Creative Law or another lawyer, if you wish to apply these concepts to your specific circumstances.
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