Whether you’re a writer, photographer, craftsman, or inventor, building a business from the things you create is an exciting process. Unfortunately, it is also a process that can be very difficult to navigate if you don’t have experience in the freelance world. These tips will help you brief yourself on a few things you will need to have a secure future in your creative endeavors.
Protect your creations prior to use!!
The proper use of trademarks and copyright filings can make the difference in others copying and freely using your creations. The time to determine what branding and creations should be protected is before you show them in the marketplace, to potential vendors, or on online. Federal trademark registrations and federal copyright registrations usually make protecting your creations more affordable by reducing legal fees by providing additional legal tools for enforcing your rights.
Get familiar with NDAs
An NDA or ‘Non Disclosure Agreement’ is very common in creative fields. It is a negotiated contract that informs parties involved in a project what information they can share, to whom, and when. If you’re pursuing any creative career, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what may be asked of you and what you should ask for when controlling the flow of information around your project.
Read your contracts!
Before signing anything, ALWAYS READ THE CONTRACT. Even if it’s short and to the point, make sure you know what you are signing away, and for how long, before you sign it. It may be necessary to look for legal counsel when dealing with a more involved contract. In any sense, signing blindly won’t do you any favors and can put your creative property in jeopardy
When in doubt, consult!
Legal counsel may be expensive, but if you are uncertain about protecting your intellectual property or signing off on something provided by a third party, it is much better to be safe than sorry. Sitting down with someone familiar with legal documents and the process of protecting your creations will make all the difference in avoiding sticky situations.
Be careful what you post and share
Don’t give away your product for free. Showing your work is key to marketing, but make sure you have not posted content in ways that it can be stolen or passed off as someone else’s work. Keep samples brief and branded with a watermark wherever possible.
Organize your correspondence
You can avoid small mishaps by keeping all of your documentation together. Organize contracts, client information, project changes and requests, and legal documents with a consistent system that works for you. It always helps to know where the paper you need is when you need it. Additionally, be sure to back up and copy documents where you can and consider keeping both digital and print copies of important documents.
The legal side of creative and intellectual properties doesn’t have to be scary. Know what steps to take and build a solid system of support to protect what’s yours with painless convenience. The little things count — don’t get tripped up by missing them.
Need help making sure you’ve dotted all your is and crossed all your ts? Contact Garcia-Zamor today for more information.