Contract negotiations are fluid discussions which often take shape based on non-scientific factors such as emotions, relationships, style and perceived leverage. Having said that, there are certain concepts a blogger should always expect to see in any contract for his or her services. Let’s assume, for example, that a company (“BigCo”) has decided to hire you to blog for them. BigCo will probably want:
1. To own the blog content, including the right to modify and repurpose the content as they see fit.
TIP: You may want to consider countering BigCo with a limited license. It could be limited in duration, exclusivity, distribution channels, geography, usage, etc.
2. You to sign a services agreement with the requisite “work for hire” language (assuming you are not already an employee of BigCo).
TIP: If you’re able to negotiate a license instead of allowing BigCo to own your content, don’t sign a work-for-hire provision and undo all that great negotiating you’ve done!
3. You to represent and warrant that you have obtained the proper third-party clearances (i.e., model releases and licenses pursuant to any recognizable audio/visual elements used in the content that may be subject to copyright or trademark protection).
TIP: Smartwaiver.com allows you to create custom releases, which can be digitally signed and stored on the Smartwaiver servers. This is a great time saver for anyone with a visual component to their blog.
4. You to indemnify them against any suit arising from your failure to do so.
TIP: This is yet another reason to form an LLC or other liability-limiting entity to “own” your blog. If you are sued, you want to be certain that your personal assets are unreachable. You may also want to consider insurance, though insurance may be cost prohibitive.
5. Potentially, some degree of exclusivity as to your blog content in general (i.e., you agree not to provide similar content to any other party).
TIP: Again, it’s all negotiable. You can limit the exclusivity to a certain time period, market, subject matter, etc.
The information presented herein by the firm is for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should not act upon any information contained within this blog post without first seeking specific advice from us or from your existing counsel. The firm makes no warranties, representations or claims of any kind with respect to any of the information contained herein.