Protecting Your Copyright

A consultant had been asked to write some articles and make a video for a publication and whilst he was ‘happy’ with the contract which he had been given, he decided to run it by Contract Clarity for review.

The consultant wanted to be able to be able to publish the material in another form and in other countries, and as he had been published before, he had already asked about copyright.  He had been assured that this would remain with him – and he even had an earlier email from the publishers confirming this.  However, the Contract Clarity noticed that the (very long and convoluted) IP clauses in the contract gave the publishers a royalty-free, worldwide, exclusive licence of the work  – including full rights to create derivative works.

What about the email?

Firstly, it is doubtful that the person who wrote it had the authority to bind the publishers.  Secondly, the contract contained a ‘whole agreement’ clause which would have effectively negated it, and thirdly, even if the consultant could have argued some form of fraudulent misrepresentation, who wants to spend time and money in a dispute with a wealthy publishing house?!

Contract Clarity renegotiated the relevant clause, the client retained his IP and the parties now have a successful and mutually rewarding business relationship.  The consultant is also able to derive additional income from his material by publishing it in other formats and other countries.