3 Contracts Necessary For Creative Businesses

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I troll Facebook groups HARD. I usually find that contracts for creative businesses are a huge topic. Usually these creative business owners can’t get their clients to pay or they don’t know how to handle a client or independent contractor they no longer want to work with. The first thought that crosses my lawyerly mind is: “Do you have a contract in place?”. The second thought is: “Does your contract address these issues?”. Most creative entrepreneurs only care about the creative part of the business, and throw the legal “junk” on the bottom of the to-do list. All businesses need signed contracts. Although, verbal agreements can be legally binding, they are extremely hard to enforce in court. Today, we’ll be discussing contracts for creative businesses that you need in writing to make sure that your business is protected.

 

1. Client contract

If you are always booked and busy with clients, your client agreement needs to be airtight. Client agreements protect you and your business from clients who don’t want to pay, unruly clients, your intellectual property, and so much more. Although there are many generic contracts out there, everyone’s business isn’t the same so make sure that you are making the appropriate changes to protect yourself. And when you make changes in any client services, make sure that you update your agreement to reflect the changes.

2. Privacy Policy

Ah, the privacy policy. Do you need it? Do you not? First of all, you need it. Don’t know what it is? Well, you’re in luck because I am going to tell you. The privacy policy addresses all of the ways a party gathers, uses, discloses, and manages your site visitors personal information like their emails, addresses, or names. Privacy policies are especially important to creative businesses because they usually include A LOT of emailing. Don’t forget California Business and Professions Code, Internet Privacy Requirements (CalOPPA) requires that websites collecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) from California residents must conspicuously post their privacy policy. So putting it in the footer is not enough.

3. Terms and conditions

Terms and conditions aren’t required, but if you want people using your digital courses and e-books any old way or want people using your content how they please, then don’t put terms and conditions on your website. But if either of those scenarios starts giving you anxiety, then put one on your site. Terms and conditions let people know how they should behave on your website. It is laying out the policies and rules they need to abide by when cruising through your site. Terms and conditions may not seem like a contract, but it is because if they don’t abide by your rules, you can kick them off or even sue them. How? I’m not sure how you can ban them from your website, but I’m sure there is some software or a WordPress plugin that lets you get the job done. Just like a privacy policy, be sure that you are addressing the issues that relate to your website and your industry. A policy like Google’s won’t help your copywriting or skincare business.

Bonus contract: Independent contractor agreement

Eventually your business is going to grow and you are going to need to outsource tasks. Once your business gets to this level, you’ll need an independent contractor agreement. Some terms that should be in your agreement?

  • Payment terms
  • The parties to the contract
  • A term stating that the worker is an independent contractor
  • An intellectual property ownership/work for hire clause

These are just some of the terms. By the way, each state has different laws about the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. Having someone sign an independent contractor agreement doesn’t necessarily mean they are an independent contractor. But hey, that’s a different post for a different day.

If you need a contract for your creative business, check out WM Law Shop for various types of contracts.

If you want a custom contract for your business, fill out the form below to work with Wilson Murphy Law.

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