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Monday, September 24, 2007

9/24: "Huh Huh Huh, He Said 'IANAL'"

One long post today to give people a chance to catch up on Saturday's stuff. And my mind's still on Zuda today, so let's just pick up the numbering where we left off:

6) IANAL (I Am Not A Lawyer) is one of the more useful Internet acornyms, and never more so than in cases like this. As Joey Manley points out, Zuda ITSELF is advising would-be submitters to check their contracts over with a lawyer. I am not a lawyer. Neither are most of the usual commentators. I'll be seeking legal counsel about this through the week and I'd join Joey and Zuda in urging other observers or would-be submitters to do the same... seek their own legal counsel, that is, not wait for a comics-law blog post to do the legwork for them. What's important to you may not be important to us. (I will post what I learn here, but it could take time.)

7) That urging is Zuda's single best PR move to date. It's unimpeachable, yet it protects the imprint from the old PR problem of "Siegel and Shuster stories." And more immediately, it reduces the authority of impulsive bloggers without legal training, giving Zuda more of a chance to shape its own story.

8) Zuda's worst PR move? The blog page, which after two months still says, "Come on...one thing at a time, ok? Seriously we'll start this up later." Grammar check, anyone? It just sounds so defensive, almost paranoid. "GET OFF OUR CASE, MAN!"

Was anyone AFTER them about this? I mean, of all the things people wanted from Zuda, a blog is WAY down the list.

9) More attention should probably be paid to the Zuda message boards, where Perazza and Johnson are answering questions that come their way. Activity has been slow, but, um, I'm pretty sure it's poised to pick up.

10) Gary Tyrrell isn't happy with the contracts, and plans to spend the week explaining why. Buried in the ALT text of his latest post is this choice tidbit: "Today, we use the foreboding Zudalogo, because all contracts are inherently about ensuring that -- if needed -- you can cut the other guy's heart out and he's legally obligated to provide the blade."

...ALL contracts, Gary?

Favorite comic of the day... let's just do two tomorrow.

11) And one more, since there's already been a bit of confusion about this: the "submission agreement" covers the rights of those who submit to the contest but are not selected, the "rights agreement" covers the rights of the original creator or creators of a selected SERIES and the "services agreement" cover the rights of the creators of the individual EPISODES of said series. In about 98% of all webcomics, the creative team that created the series is still creating the episodes, but there are notable exceptions like Life's a Bluff and Megatokyo. If you are not one of those exceptions, and you are selected, then you are entitled to both the compensation outlined in the rights agreement AND the compensation in the services agreement.



Blogger Gary said...

ALL contracts, T. Ever read an End User License Agreement, or a mortgage? A contract is about protecting your interests by explicitly denying the interests of the other party; if the tradeoff is a deal you can live with, sign with a happy heart.

But never fool yourself that a contract is ever anything other than an instrument to be used against the other party if you have a falling-out.

September 24, 2007 9:15:00 AM AST  
Blogger Joey said...

Their best PR move was posting the contracts online in the first place. That's an unprecedented move for a company as large, established, and conservative as DC. While I personally don't think, given my own undoubtedly flawed reading, that these are the best contracts that could possibly exist, having publishers begin to publish contracts out in the open can only, over time, lead to publishers competing for talent based on the fairness of their deals -- that's the only reason somebody would publish a contract -- which, in turn will lead to better and better contracts. If the trend continues. I hope the trend continues!

September 24, 2007 11:03:00 AM AST  

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