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Hi guys, I need a bit of help.
I started working with a client who wanted me to sign a confidentiality agreement, which was fine. They had sent me their manuscript and such before we had worked out a letter of agreement. I read it over, thought it was ok, and sent it back.
Now that we have a letter of agreement going they want me to sign the confidentially agreement again. Herein lies the issue.
We have not explicitly agreed if the works are made for hire, and I'm pretty sure they aren't consider works for hire (it's a children's book). Maybe I'm not reading the text correctly, but in the letter of agreement we drew up, I'm only giving licence to publishing printed and electronic books.'All of the results and proceeds of Contractor’s services provided under this
Agreement, whether in writing, filmed, taped or otherwise, are and shall be
deemed “works made for hire.” If for any reason such results and
proceeds are not deemed “works made for hire,” Contractor hereby
irrevocably assigns to Author all rights, title and interest (including all
copyrights, trademarks, service marks, and inventions, whether or not
such inventions are patentable) in and to such results and proceeds, in
perpetuity throughout the universe. Accordingly, Author shall be
deemed the sole author and/or exclusive owner of all of the rights
comprised in the copyright thereof, and Author shall have the sole and
exclusive right to exploit any and all of the foregoing in any and all media,
whether now known or hereafter invented, as Author determines.'
So I'm not too sure how to approach this, and honestly feel a little dumb for not thinking ahead on this.
Any suggestions on how I should handle this?
Talk this through with your client? Would probably be the easiest way to just go/call/email to them and say you're not 100% clear on these terms and discuss them through.
If they insist on keeping it work for hire then tell them you'll need a (much) higher fee.
But it's perfectly common (and expected) for you to negotiate these conditions. Companies will often write a contract that gives them far more rights than they realistically need in the chance that an artist won't bother confronting them on it.
All that said, work for hire can be painfully common in certain industries. Sadly I don't know what the standards are in the children's book field.