Learn to read contracts — understand what it is you’re signing as a creative person.
Learn to read what you sign
We’re not very good at this, and you need to be smart. Learn to read it, and then read it and understand what’s there.
Also applies to terms of service
This also applies to things like terms of service on websites. I’ll give you an example of those terms of service. I like YouTube, I use YouTube, but you have to be careful. For example, if you look at the YouTube terms of service and you really dig into it, there are a few things that really start to stand out.
You’ll see words like sub-licensable, which means that they can actually license your work to someone else. Transferable without limitation. This means you’re giving YouTube the right to put your content in other places and move it around. Even if you take it down, it’s possible that other people have done derivative works or re-shared it or published it as a new video. This is why you need to read through these and get familiar. As well as consider if other options like Vimeo where you’re paying for a service.
Get a lawyer
It would be best if you had a lawyer, not somebody you work with all the time, but somebody that you can send things to, ask questions up, have them review those big contracts before you sign them.
Take ownership where possible but always be fair
Try to also take ownership of your work. Now, this isn’t still going to be an option. It’s easier for photographers than video professionals, but make sure if you’re giving up the rights that you do retain moral rights or the ability to show the work in your portfolio.
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