As an independent contractor working with new companies all the time, I’m constantly being asked to sign paperwork, including but not limited to NDAs. These documents are often provided last minute (in some cases even after I’ve started a job) and dismissively handed to me to sign as “boilerplate terminology, no big deal”. Upon doing my due diligence, I often discover irrelevant and contradictory phrases likely left over from a previous iteration of “cut-and-paste”.
This game of telephone played by producers/assistants/whoever is in charge of hiring morphs these legally binding documents into frightening pieces of legalese. I think the Flame community could really make use a lawyer to look over things that we all sign. Could the Logik community use the Patreon fees to put someone on retainer? What do people think?
a very good point.
Even reading an NDA before you get rolling on a job seems to take too much time for many of them. “Give me a day so my lawyer can look over this” would cause so much panic from a strictly “we have no time because we can’t fucking plan” standpoint that it would cause chaos. So yeah, I’m all for it. Haha.
I don’t think it would alter my “sure fine, I’ll sign” behavior, but I would DEFINITELY like to know what the potential pitfalls are.
I don’t think it is something that really benefits the entire group. Not only do most of us (the patrons group took a quick poll the other day: 80% of those in attendance were staff) not really have the need, but the information the lawyer provides can’t really be shared. That’s why they’re called NDA’s.
I recently was reviewing a contract and then realized it said if they don’t have a full day’s work for me they’d only pay me half my day rate. I pushed back. You book me for a day, that’s a day I could be working elsewhere for my full rate. They said it was a blanket provision for all production and didn’t apply to me. I know and trust them so I went for it, but I was wondering the whole time, if push comes to shove does an email thread promise hold up vs a signed contract? It all worked out fine, but this is a great cautionary example. Read the fine print.
Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but I’ve never had any issues come up with NDA’s, which I very rarely read… If it’s a new client or something feels fishy, I’ll look it over - but just haven’t had any issues. The day is young.
Agree w/ @GPM here… Very rarely, if at all does an NDA or signed contract get to a legally debatable/enforceable point. One well known artist that I’ve done work for had a $500,000 liability clause that I would personally owe $500k if I breached my NDA agreement. Laughable, but scary from a legal standpoint, which was the point.
In cases where I’ve pointed out things that weren’t agreed upon in the contract, I’ve been told a similar “don’t worry, this doesn’t apply to you”, and knock on wood, I’ve never been burn’d. Most companies are just trying to cover their asses, but most of the time, there’s no ill-intent. As freelancers, we can always not work with those folks anymore after our bookings are done…
Always good to read them, though. It makes for colorful small-talk w/ your producer.
This is a very good idea, digitalbanshee!
I’m not a lawyer but as an artist, any document you sign from your client is solely for your client’s benefit, not yours. Yes, it’s way easy to sign whatever is put in front of you to get a paycheck but DO NOT forget that YOU are the vendor and have the right to dictate YOUR terms.
Most NDAs are relatively harmless and usually contain “prior invention” clauses which aren’t likely to come in to play but if you feel particularly strongly about the work you create for hire do look into the French concept of “moral rights”.
Two clauses to be aware of, non-compete / no-poach and arbitration.
First, if you’re a freelancer working with a facility for a one-week booking why agree to a two-year non-compete / no-poach clause?
Second, the most important paragraph to reject will be found on the last page or two of the employment agreement – a mandate to waive your right to a jury trial and agree to settle disputes via binding arbitration.
Never agree to this.
Arbitration (and no-class-action) clauses exist solely to benefit the facility that is hiring you. In the USA, you have a Constitutionally-granted right to a trial by a jury of peers. That a facility would ask you to surrender these rights as a condition of employment is nauseating.
Recent court decisions have tended towards throwing out arbitration clauses. Last month, (May 2022) Tesla Motors was prevented from enforcing theirs:
You’re the artist making the pictures.