Wednesday, May 5, 2010
A Couple of Words About Contracts
There's a post on CartoonBrew.com about Hiam Saban, the man behind The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. It contains a link to a New Yorker Article about Saban.
Saban made a fortune by collecting the music publishing rights to animated TV shows. Long story short - he provided composers with steady incomes in exchange for their publishing rights. The composers didn't know that in the long term, these rights were worth an awful lot of money.
Now the composers feel that they were ripped off - but the truth is, Saban knew the rules and they didn't. They signed contracts with him, without understanding what they were getting into.
Was Saban evil? Did he do anything wrong? No. He simply did his homework. This happens every day in every business.
Interesting that all the people posting on Cartoon Brew are against Saban. I wonder how many of them understand their own businesses? Animation Schools - or any "arts" school should provide business courses.
The point is - Contracts are legal and binding agreements. Know and understand what you are getting yourself into. If you don't know or understand the contract - find a lawyer who specializes in this. For entertainment properties, that would be an ENTERTAINMENT LAWYER or possibly one who specializes in Intellectual Property Law.
Don't get your family lawyer to do it for you. Its not their field of expertise. You'll be paying for them to learn something new - and probably won't receive the best legal representation. How do you find a good lawyer? Ask around.
ANOTHER THING - Contracts written on coffee shop napkins are legal and binding. I've heard from lawyers about many cases where the Judge rules - it is the intent of the agreement, not the stationary its written on, that must be judged. Be careful about those late-night brainstorming sessions with your friends. Be careful what you sign. It can be very costly later on.
These articles are important. If the links don't work above - cut and paste.