A. ISSUE: An actor client wants more control over the use of their photos. Almost all photographers insist on and get copyright full ownership in their pictures. Putting a provision in the release/agreement to secure the actor’s consent before each photo’s use doesn’t have much teeth in it and is often violated.
SOLUTION: Give the photographer a strong disincentive to ignore the actor’s consent requirement. We acknowledge in the release/agreement that while the photographer owns the photo, the actor’s consent must be obtained before each photo’s use, because the actor retains their publicity rights in the photo. As a result, there are more severe potential
consequences to the photographer than just a claim of breach if the actor’s consent is not obtained.
B. ISSUE: A commercial production and visual effects house client has recurring cash flow problems, as they are often paid far after their work is completed and delivered to their customers, without much recourse or leverage to do anything but keep requesting payment and wait until it’s made.
SOLUTION: We rewrote the client’s customer agreement to all but guarantee payment on completion of work. We made the agreement form short and confined to such terms as what the work is, how and when it will be done and the price. But, the agreement incorporates into it the client’s “standard terms and conditions”, which are available on request and on the client’s website. This protocol is similar to the language found on the back of many retail rental and service agreements, which are seldom read before signing. We wrote the standard terms to include language that delivery of the work to the customer occurrs after full payment and until full payment, the client owned copyright in the work. This substantially solved the client’s cash flow problems.
C. ISSUE: A plastic surgeon was concerned about a few patients who had posted derogatory blogs about him on a medical-related website that allowed and encouraged reviews of doctors. The doctor wanted to try and prevent any in the future. The site wouldn’t and had no legal obligation to take down these posts.
SOLUTION: Give these patients a strong disincentive to publically disparage the doctor. We wrote a short written contract for the doctor’s actual and potential patients to sign, before any printed information was given to them about the doctor’s services. In it, the patients contracted away their right to disseminate derogatory claims or information about the doctor on a website, blog or otherwise, if they were unhappy with his services. Instead, they agreed to a specific remedy and outlet for any concerns about the doctor’s services. The contract also characterized all of the doctor’s printed materials, treatments and procedures as his “confidential information”. So, a patient’s dissemination of these items in violation of the contract could be legally actionable by the doctor.
D. ISSUE: A client’s former business partner sued him, claiming continuing ownership of the business, its registered logo trademark/brand and revenues from any new agreements involving the brand. This fanciful logo contains the business’s name, which is its true brand. The logo pre-dated the business and is registered just to the client, but is used exclusively by the business.
SOLUTION: Since only this logo is registered (which only protects that particular fanciful work of art as a brand) and not the brand/name itself (which protects all uses of that brand/name), we filled for a new trademark for the name, will stop using the logo and give its ownership to the ex-partner. The ex-partner gets what he wants but can’t use it without infringing the name mark. And, this post-separation filing should prevent the ex-partner from claiming revenues from new agreements involving the name.