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3 Contracts Online Creators Must Have in Place

By the end of this post you will know the three contracts that online creators must know about, in my opinion. And I’m not just telling you what those contracts are. I’ll give you some key terms and the problems that each of these documents will prevent. So let’s dive in.

Contracts Online Creators Must Have: Terms of Use

first in contracts online creators must have is a solid terms of use

First is Terms of Use. And Terms of Use are a contract between you and users of your platform, your community, your app, your site.

Terms of Use: Key Terms

They tend to be kind of long, so it’s hard to pinpoint just two or three key terms, but, some of those key terms are:

Prohibited Conduct. (This can include a code of conduct for a membership site). This is grounds or rights to terminate a user’s account if they engage in certain activity. In other words, reasons why you might terminate somebody’s account. 

Limitation of Liability. Limiting your liability if things go south.

Affiliates Policy. A sweet explanation of affiliate links you might have on your site.

Problems Terms of Use Can Prevent

Manage Conflict With Users/Audience. If you have the proper language in your ToU, you can handle this quickly and easily. If something goes awry you have immediate recourse, according to your Terms of Use.

CYA — you know, to cover yourself — if something goes wrong. Limiting your liability if someone gets hurt, or doesn’t follow your instructions properly. Or maybe their business is hurt or they suffer monetary damages (or at least they say they do) because of some of the content that you’ve put out there. The Terms of Use can limit your liability, and limit the money that someone can actually go after (to the extent it’s allowed under applicable law).

Over all, Terms of Use require your users to agree to the Terms of Use before using your site or your platform.  And if they don’t agree, then bye-bye!

Contracts Online Creators Must Have: Contractor Agreement

next in contracts online creators must have in place is a contractor agreement for use with people like copywriters, graphic designers, social media marketers

A Contractor Agreement is an agreement between you and any contractor that you use. This can be a photographer, a copywriter, a graphic designer, or a social media marketer. The contract lays out the terms of your relationship with that individual. A lot of times contractors will have their own service agreement that they will send to you, but you would be surprised how many people don’t have contracts. So you might need to have your own Contractor Agreement template on hand.

Contractor Agreement: Key Terms

IP ownership. This is key, because of that copyright myth that you’ve heard me talk about before. People think that because they’ve paid a contractor to create something, that they own it, but that is not true, right? Under US copyright law, any copyright transfer has to be in writing in order to be valid. (If it’s not done by an employee kind of in the course of their job.) So, having that IP language in a contractor agreement is crucial if you want to make sure that you own that intellectual property. 

Non-solicitation. This is a little bit different from non-compete, and it depends on state law, but it basically prohibits a contractor from soliciting either other coworkers or other contractors away from you, or your clients or customers away from you, for a certain period of time. So that’s a little a little boost in protection.

Company Systems and Confidential Information. If a contractor needs access to your passwords, social media accounts, or devices, listen up. Likewise if contracts have access to confidential information like analytics data. Having something in a Contractor Agreement that spells out a) how to handle confidential information and b) what happens if that confidential information is misused is priceless.

Problems A Contractor Agreement Can Help You Avoid

Essentially, it’s all about peace of mind.

Peace of mind when it comes to knowing that your IP ownership is secure.

Peace of mind when it comes to treatment and use of your confidential information and systems.

Peace of mind when it comes to knowing that your relationships with your customers are safe.

All of those things! And, of course, having a document that that has it all laid out so that you and the contractor have a mutual understanding, in one spot, as to what’s going. 

Contracts Online Creators Must Have: Collaboration Contract

last in contracts online creators must have in place is a collaboration contract

The last document is a Collaboration Contract, and that’s different from a sponsorship or kind of an influencer or sponsorship agreement. It’s almost like a styled shoot in the event-planning world. You collaborate with another business in connection with a launch, an event, something like that where you are both promoting something together, like a joint promotion arrangement.

Collaboration Contract: Key Terms

Common terms: Well, you have “roles.” You want to make clear who’s doing what.

There is “ownership of intellectual property,” so who owns the photographs, any webpages, any copy, any posts. There’s use of any IP, so who can use it and for how long after the campaign or after the venture has ended. And then there’s “confidential information,” so again, to extent you need to exchange confidential information to move this thing forward –whether it’s analytics information, your target market information, information that you use in connection with any Google or social media ads – how each of you must treat the other’s confidential information.

Problems that a Collaboration Agreement Could Avoid:

Avoid Discrepancies. Make sure everyone knows who’s doing what kind of makes sure everyone’s on the same page there;  

Avoid mistreatment or misuse of IP. Maybe you’ve decided that if you create something, each of you create something, you own whatever you’ve individually created. That’s fine, but just making sure that those things are clear and put in the document so that everyone’s on the same page.

So you’ve got your Terms of Use, you’ve got your Contractor Agreement, and you’ve got your Collaboration Agreement.

I hope this post has helped you understand why these documents are important, how they come into play, and the problems that they might help you avoid.