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THE Telltale Sign You Have a DIY Contract (and why it’s bad)

The telltale sign that you have a DIY contract. In this video, I’m going to tell you about the telltale sign that I see that tells me you have a DIY contract, and why it’s really not so good.

Stick around to the end and I will tell you about my brand-spanking-new resource for content creators that will help you deal with copycats. I’m Maria Spear Ollis, lawyer for content creators, and this is the Spear IP show.

Before I get into that telltale sign, I want to explain to you what happens when there’s a dispute over your contract. Basically, if there’s ever a dispute, and something in your contract is ambiguous, that ambiguity is resolved in favor of the person who did NOT draft the contract. In other words, the contract is interpreted against the person who drafted the contract that is you.

So what’s the telltale sign that you have a DIY contract? Your defined terms are all jacked up.

What the heck is a “defined term”?

A defined term is that capitalized word in your contract. You usually have several defined terms, things like “Company,” “Deliverables,” “Services,” that kind of stuff. They have a very specific definition within the context of your contract. So the “Services” specifically means blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah services, right?

So here is the problem that I see. Maybe you refer to yourself by your actual name in some paragraphs of your contract.

“Jane Doe will provide the following Services.”

Okay, fine.

Then you refer to yourself by something like “Company” and you say something like “Company has approval over all artwork.” Okay, well, you’ve referred to yourself as Jane Doe, you’ve also referred to yourself as Company… it might be a little ambiguous who “Company” refers to. So if there’s ever a dispute about approvals, now you have a contract term that says Company must approve all artwork. If it’s ambiguous, if it’s hard to determine what that means, it’s not going to be interpreted in your favor.

So that’s why it is super, super, super important to make sure that all of your defined terms in your contract, line up. That means being consistent in what you call yourself and how you label other things.

I hope that helps you understand the number one telltale sign that you have a DIY contract, and I’ll see you next time.