5 Things Creatives Need to Know About Contracts Before They Sign

  1. Boilerplate. “Boilerplate” refers to all that stuff in a contract that probably seems like (or is) legal gobbledygook. Creatives often delete boilerplate to simplify their contracts. Trouble is, that boilerplate protects you! Without it, you might not be able to enforce the contract at all.
  2. Work For Hire. If you are an independent contractor developing creative works for a client, you own the copyrights in the works unless you sign a contract that states that the works are “work made for hire” or you assign the works to the client. Then the works belong to the client.
  3. Getting Paid. If you don’t include certain clauses in your contracts, you are less likely to get paid on time (or at all). Examples of effective contract terms that get you paid include the right to charge interest, liquidated damages, injunctive relief, withholding rights to the work, and attorney’s fees provisions.
  4. Doing It Yourself. Generic contracts pulled from a forms website, or contracts written for someone else, are not likely to address the way you do business and therefore are more likely to result in an unenforceable contract or lead to litigation. And you likely to have to hire a lawyer to fix the contract later anyway.
  5. A Proposal Isn’t a Contract. Typically, without something more – like a master services agreement – a proposal is just a proposal. If you begin work without a signed contract, you have no guarantee of getting paid for your work.
Meehle & Jay and Suzanne have been our counsel for Echo Interaction Group since the inception of our company. Her guidance has gone above and beyond the typical small tech business attorney and she's become a trusted advisor to our firm. Her knowledge of small business legal needs and specifically in the technology and startup world have been crucial to the growth of our company.

Carlos Carbonell, CEO, Echo Interaction Group

I couldn't be happier with my decision to hire Meehle & Jay as our entertainment attorneys!  When you deal with a lot of people, it's critical for a business to have all of their i's dotted and their t's crossed, and it's huge relief to know that Meehle & Jay is doing that for us.

Rob Henlon, Fierce Entertainment 

I use Meehle & Jay to represent my Event Planning Business and they are nothing short of phenomenal. Not only do I get email reminders to make sure I am staying on top of my legal priorities, the professional advice they have offered me, in conjunction with their legal expertise, makes me feel confident that I can do business competitively while still having my assets and reputation protected.  A class act all the way around.

Michelle Widmer, Founder & Director of Events, The Empress Table

Davey Jay handles all our company's copyrights. Excellent knowledge and response time, highly recommend this firm.

Rodney E. Luke, President, Luke Brothers Custom Homes

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