For as long as I have been in this industry, I have been amazed at how artists are treated as second class citizens by manufacturers/licensees, or as I like to say . . . mushrooms - tell them of the great things you will do for them, keep them in the dark, feed them crap, and they will just do what they are told to do. I cannot tell you how many times each day I strongly urge artists not to take deals, or negotiate better deals in order to look out for themselves, only to find that many do the deal anyway - giving up rights, forgoing copyright rules and regulations, and quite frankly, just get taken advantage of. I am equally surprised to discover how many manufacturers/licensees do this, even those who I have known for years and would never think this possible of them.
I often hear from artists that they have no choice - “I need to make money,” “No other company is stepping up to the plate,” “If I don’t do the deal, someone else will,” “ or the really sad excuse, “I trust them!” I appreciate and understand each of these positions, but urge every artist to stand up for their rights when it comes to their intellectual property. And YES, you have rights and can/should/must ask for them!
I read the attached article and was standing applauding while reading! Please have a look and take in every word, seriously look at your business, and take nothing for granted. Read every single word of any document you are asked to sign - you cannot simply say “I don’t understand legal documents.” You are running a business, your product is your intellectual property, and you MUST defend and fight for what is right. And, always, always, always have an intellectual property attorney review any document before signing. The return on your investment is so worth it! You do not want to have your work “stolen” or misused, you cannot let yourself be taken advantage of, and you cannot allow yourself to believe that the other party will “take care of you” or “never do anything that would be immoral.” Look at this article . . . would you think national retailers like Anthropologie or West Elm would do such a thing? Well . . . they, like so many others, DO!
Please feel free to reach out to me for any advice or counsel I can provide, or share the names of great intellectual property attorneys that understand your needs!