Make sure to read your contracts

    Check your contracts because you don’t want to lose here accidentally.

    As some of you know, I’ve started my own company and am about 6 months into the process. And I recently started working outside of my own bubble to seek contract work. I’ve got two contracts in flight right now that are well within my area of expertise, and the first contract just went into review.

    And I’m super happy I have a lawyer who can review contracts. There was enough there that I red-flagged some of it, but the lawyer caught a dozen other exciting things. Let’s take a look at what some of those are.

    As some of you know, I’ve gotten started making college course content as a way to develop the skills for a larger project for later this year. I’ve started white labeling some of the content for sale to other companies, and that has been an exciting process.

    Some parts of the contract, like the scope of work, were fine; no one had any problems with that, but you should always check the deliverables for what was being delivered. The company put in the scope of work something we had not agreed to, especially when it would have amounted to another 20 hours minimum of work that would have been uncompensated. And got me into a lot of trouble because of a huge workload increase.

    The other interesting bit was that of ownership of the content. I’m looking for a lease, but the way that the contract was written, I’m assigning all rights over.  That was one of the huge red flags that I captured and could put a serious crimp in what I wanted to do with this course for other schools. That section alone could have cost me a complete rewrite of the course and allowed the purchasing company to DMCA me to death on any and all subsequent sales. I’d have to make a whole new course all over again, which is a significant amount of work on my part. It takes over a month to build a course.

    They also reserve the rights for any and all subsequent leasing or releasing of the content being developed.

    I also like they put in a non-compete agreement that would take effect for 2 years, cutting me out of my own market if I signed this.

    And that if I did anything like make a course for anyone else, they could sue me into the dirt, and that I’d have to pay for everything. I also like that they chose the venue by contract, where the work is being done across the country; the venue is in an out-of-the-way location that can make any legal recourse expensive and needlessly tedious. I’d also have to pay all the legal fees associated with any loss from the contract, including through bankruptcy.

    It’s always important to read the contract yourself and have a lawyer review it along the way to ensure you didn’t miss anything. If I signed this contract, I’d lose control over something I’m planning on making money with as a white-label course, which would be a bad decision for me.

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