RE: generic Contracts for Clients and Sub-contractors

Subject: RE: generic Contracts for Clients and Sub-contractors
From: "Mike Bradley" <mbradley -at- techpubs -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 12:12:27 -0700

> Speaking of contracts, where could I get some generic
> contracts that I
> could modify for clients or for people who were doing some sub
> contracting for me?

I'm a member and contract advisor in the National Writers Union, and
it has numberous services for independent contract writers: contract
guides, sample contracts, reviews of individual writers' contracts
(the same contracts other writers sign, not group contracts like the
ones, say, autoworkers or teachers sign). The union also publishes a
broadly-focused book on writers' issues, including contracts, for
freelance writers of all kinds. The book, Freelance Writers' Guide, is
distributed by Writers Digest Books.

In my contract advising for the union, I found a guide on independent
contractors from the California Chamber of Commerce to be very useful.
Most contract issues are state-specific, so a local guide of some sort
is just about mandatory.

I have found boilerplate contracts on the Web by searching for terms
like "contract" + "technical writing." They are usually at sites that
sell any number of boilerplate legal documents.

I don't recommend using the boilerplates. They don't come with user
manuals so adopting them is very much like flying blind. What's more,
they are generally written from the client's point of view, not the
contractor's, and often incorporate blatantly unenforceable provisions
that can be very damaging to writers. It doesn't make sense to offer a
client a contract that is disadvantageous to you.

One example of these clauses is the prohibition on working for a
client's competitor. This is very common, yet there is hardly a court
in the country that would enforce it except in very narrow, very
specific circumstances that a writer would never find himself in.
Other examples are confidentiality agreements that go far beyond what
a court would enforce and outrageous warranty clauses that make the
writer liable for all the client's legal expenses even if the writer
had nothing to do with the contested issue.

= Mike Bradley


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generic Contracts for Clients and Sub-contractors (was RE: RoboHelp for Word or RoboHelp Office?): From: Greg Thompson

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