Happy New Year.
These are the ten daftest things I’ve seen people try to insert into contracts over the last twelve months. I’ve translated them into English.
1) “We’d like you to write some software for us. You must maintain car insurance in a country you do not inhabit and have no plans to visit during the course of your work.”
2) “We’ll let an artist from our label appear on your record, so long as it’s actually our record, but you pay for it.”
3) “You can retain some rights to the recording we’re paying you to make, but in return we need the right to search the homes and offices of everybody involved (and thousands of people who aren’t) any point in the future. Without notice.”
4) “You will sign this half-inch-thick agreement, which tells you in great detail how to do your job, but doesn’t even tell you how much you’re getting paid. You’ll just have to trust us on that one, the way we’re trusting you with absolutely nothing.”
5) “We’re going to buy software from you? Then we need the right to fire any of your staff. Without giving a reason. Even though that’s illegal where you live.”
6) “You’ve paid us for the recording, so you own it outright, and you can do anything you like with it. So long as you check with us first, so we can refuse without giving a reason. Or ask for more money.”
7) “We’ll decide what will be on the record. You’ll pay to make the record. You will make the record. Then you’ll give it to us, and it will be ours forever. If anybody buys it, we might give you some money. If you’re lucky. Or we might put it in a drawer and forget about it.”
8) “You must buy insurance you don’t need for reasons we can’t give. This is our standard agreement and everybody has to sign it. Except for your other clients, who we… er… this is awkward.”
9) “If served with a court order, you will go to prison rather than tell anybody how you structured our CD library.”
10) “Upon completing this two-day assignment, you will not work in music or technology anywhere in the world for two years.”
Ah. The legal department.
Huzzah! Let the trumpets sound. The warrior returns.
Hooray also for the easily identifiable source of number 9. (Well, I’ve narrowed it down to 2, with a strong preference for one of them). The rest just make me wonder how people get anything done.
We still get plenty done: they put this stuff in, we take it out. I worry for those companies whose business model seems to depend upon artists not reading the contracts. The majors have been getting away with it for years, though. Why would they change?
You’re wrong about 9. Then again, if I signed it, perhaps that’s what I’m required to say.
My CD library is mostly structured in cardboard boxes in my parents’ garage. But don’t tell anyone.
A two year no-compete clause for two days of work. What could possible go wrong?