Fun: Contract addenda

For those of you who aren’t familiar with her, Donna Barr is an amazing artist. She’s probably best known for The Desert Peach, a series of comic books about Manfred Pfirsich Marie Rommel, Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel’s “younger, cuter brother.” She’s a delightful and well-informed (read “opinionated”) speaker about the business of being an artist, too.

Several years ago, she wrote a delicious article about contract addenda that I’m reproducing here. (The link to the original is here.)

Binding, My Ass

What can the internet do? Shall we see? I once offered this language to an animation-industry artist, and after thinking a moment, she said, “They’d jump at it! No lawyers!” So here we go.

“THIS contract shall be binding on ALL movie studios, publishers and all other middle-men who sign contracts with me. If it’s between the quotes on this posting — and you sign a contract with me after this date — this contract is binding upon you. You are responsible to find and understand this contract in conjunction with any contract with me. This is a public blog. Hereafter:

“This is a contract binding upon all movie studios with whom I (as understood by the artist/writer/ Donna Barr, born in 1952 and Not From Earth) shall henceforth negotiate for use of my work:

If any studio shall wish to use my (see I) work in movie/s, for t-shirts and other tchatskis or internet shenanigans, send $4 million dollars to an off-shore account in my name and then go away and never bother me any more. If you wish to contact me again, every contact — in voice, flesh, pixels or throwing one of those fuzzy green tennis balls for my dog (I’ll get one) — shall be billed at $1 million per contact.

The same goes for any publisher (you know who you are) who wants my copyright. You’re lucky I don’t make this retroactive.”

For those of you who are getting those manga-based contracts that demand copyright, just remember this: if they can’t afford to buy your copyright, they can’t afford to sue you. I didn’t say “Take the money and run,” but you get the idea.

Hey, we didn’t start this. We just want to draw and write stuff and not end up on the street when we’re old.

(For those of you who are not my readers, this is supposed to be be funny.)

Harper’s has a morals clause in their publishing contracts now

This is not likely to affect most of us, but Harper’s is now including a morals clause. This says that Harper’s has the right to cancel your publishing contract if “Author’s conduct evidences a lack of due regard for public conventions and morals, or if Author commits a crime or any other act that will tend to bring Author into serious contempt, and such behavior would materially damage the Work’s reputation or sales.” This is, IMO, over the line.

There’s a lovely article at the Book View Cafe (a lovely site for authors, btw). You can also read the original blog post by Richard Curtis on this topic here.