Don't Give Away Your Right To Negotiate For Yourself (Updated)

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to find a clause like this in a contract for a freelance article.

(*see below for an update)

Image via Magic:  The Gathering

Image via Magic: The Gathering

  1. Read your contract in full before signing it. Don’t skim-read it on autopilot.

  2. Do not agree to terms like these. You are giving away your right to negotiate.

  3. Explain the clause must be removed from this contract in order for you to sign it.

“10. Film/TV/Audiovisual Works: You hereby grant and assign to [redacted] exclusive decision-making, signing authority, and rights with respect to feature film, motion picture, video game, mobile application, television, episodic programming, and any other audiovisual work based on or derived from the Work.

[Redacted] agrees to make good faith efforts to consult with you before signing any such ancillary rights agreements.

Any monies actually received by [Redacted] upon optioning and/or selling the Work (after deduction of [Redacted]’s actual, out-of-pocket costs and expenses, including, without limitation, agency fees and other fees and expenses related to sale and exploitation thereof) will be distributed as follows:

Fixed Compensation.

i) Option Fees/Purchase Price: 50% to [Redacted], 50% to you 
ii) Royalties and/or Series Sales Bonuses (if any): 50% to [Redacted], 50% to you 
iii) Contributor Writing or Consulting Fee (if any): 100% to you 
iv) Executive Producer, Producer, or Similar Fees for [Redacted] or its employees/contractors (if any): 100% to [Redacted].

Contingent Compensation and box office bonuses (if any): 50% to [Redacted], 50% to You

It’s acknowledged that [Redacted] may have a first look or overall deal with a third party, and any guaranteed fees associated with such an agreement are expressly excluded.

Accounting statements with respect to any ancillary exploitation of rights pursuant to this Section and payments, if any, will be delivered to you within 90 days following receipt by [Redacted] of the actual monies and such statements from third party purchasers or licensees of such rights.

It is agreed and understood that the services you are furnishing under this Agreement are extraordinary, unique, and not replaceable, and that there is no fully adequate remedy at law in the event of your breach of this Agreement, and that in the event of such a breach, [Redacted] shall be entitled to equitable relief by way of injunction or otherwise. You also recognize and confirm that in the event of a breach by [Redacted] of its obligations under this Agreement, the damage, if any, caused to you by [Redacted] is not irreparable or sufficient to entitle you to injunctive or other equitable relief. Consequently, your rights and remedies are limited to the right, if any, to obtain damages at law and you will not have any right in such event to terminate or rescind this Agreement or any of the rights granted by you hereunder or to enjoin or restrain the development, production and exploitation of the rights granted pursuant to this Agreement.”

I requested the clause be removed. The editor declined, describing the contract as “writer-friendly.” I declined to sign.

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