DEAR LEGAL WIZ,
I am in NYC as we speak to represent my country Jamaica. I was approached by way of a letter from a poet/writer who has a book to be published soon, and is searching for art to compliment/enhance the words. My artworks are requested as the person feels my work adds intensity to the words/poems.
The writer has asked for my permission to buy the Licence to use my art in the book, so my question is what is required from the writer? I assumed I must ask as follows:
1. Will my work be used for publishing of the book only?
2. How about Royalties from each copy sold?
3. Will my name, as the artist, be under/beside each of my work used?
4. How will my art be displayed throughout, and, especially on the cover of book?
5. Could I request to see final draft before printing starts?
Legal Wiz, Please help as I have to attend a meeting with writer soon, and I dont want to miss out anything?
Await your expert advise.
Josh (Identity hidden)
RESPONSE: Dear Josh,
Jamaican artists on a whole often are poor in representing themselves in business, so its good that you contacted our team. You seem to be on the right track. You definitely need to see the final draft and should ask to be one of the persons who sign off before its printed. More importantly.. the actual contract will be critical, as this document signed by all relevant parties and witnesses will represent, and affirm what is actually agreed and the best guideline and reference. Anything to be added or changed must be done as an addendum to the original contract.
Back to your issues at hand.The bottom line is to make sure all your wishes, and what would make you satisfied to allow this person to use your art gets addressed, even if not totally.
It is recommended that you ensure the involvement of one trained legally or with the preparations of such contracts. Even if you do the contract yourself, make sure you ask a lawyer or a legally trained person in contract law look it over so that there are no hidden clauses or agendas.
Here are a few pointers:
First make a list of pointers for yourself that would make you comfortable to work with the person, so that even if the monetary compensation is low, you can tailor your benefit package. Secondly research any laws that might affect your contract or business relations such as intellectual property, copyright.
At the meeting, make sure these points are addressed as the contract will reflect them.
A few sections you must have an idea about are:
Ownership of all kinds of artwork to be used, and forms to be used along with any incidences
How your art will be used
What stage will your art need to be submitted
Project schedule and timeline
Project price and payment terms
Schedule of payment(s)