Kids, you need to make some time to have a listen of the Build a better agency podcast Episode 6: Legal protection for today’s agency, with Sharon Toerek.. Sharon is s an intellectual and property law attorney, with a firm grasp on how to dot the i's and cross the legal t's, but also acutely aware of all the misconception that ad agencies and freelancers within the advertising industry have of copyright. Around 5 minutes in she starts checking off the most common misconceptions, and I can bet all of you a beer that you've been in one of the hypotheticals she explains. Ad agencies who have contracted labour, freelance creatives, directors, videographers etc, need to write clear uncomplicated contracts to keep and transfer the rights for work contracted, or they might find themselves in heaps of trouble down the line.
“Have a consistent set of forms. If you can, centralize the process within your agency of contracting with clients”
she says, good advice start getting the creative teams equivalent of a model release and have them sign off on it so that you can use their work.
Sharon calls copyright law 'fundamentally illogical', something I don't agree with as I think it's quite simple to remember "he who made it owns it until rights transferred", but then she brings up situations that are more complicated than that. You owe it to yourself to brush up on this, especially if you dream of starting your own shop one day. And lets face it, we all do. Sharon's websites agencylegalprotection.com and are useful resources as well.