copyright 101  contracts 101 contract analysis  links  purpose  contact  home

contract basics

 A contract consists of an offer, an acceptance and "consideration" (usually money). When a potential client presents you with a contract, the client makes an offer. You may accept it or reject it. Or you may modify the client's contract or make your own offer, which is known as a counteroffer.

As visual artists, our contracts should include, at a minimum, our creative fee (including usage fee which may be included or stated separately) plus expenses, a rights provision and a time frame for payment. Unfortunately, some publishers and ad agencies are trying to strong-arm visual artists with craftily drafted, one-sided contracts that confiscate our intellectual property.

contract negotiations
RULE #1: Know your bottom line BEFORE you begin negotiations.
RULE #2: Always be willing to walk away from a bad deal
RULE #3: Read the contract, word-for-word, from beginning to end.
Don't sign anything you don't understand.
RULE #4: Don't bid against yourself.
Don't give up something unless the other side does too.

additional suggestions
Whenever possible, avoid negotiating fees separately from the other contract provisions. If you must negotiate fees first, keep that number in mind when you discuss usage rights. Negotiate contracts on a job-by-job basis - or agree on a fee for a particular use. When the fee varies, the use varies. Make sure your needs are covered in the contract too. For example, include a date by which you will be paid as well as interest and/or penalties for late payment.


 back to top