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Rufuss Sewell
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#1
17th November 2006
Old 17th November 2006
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Contract question

I don't deal with too many contracts since I mostly work with local artists. But a client wants me to sign a contract stating a few basic things that I'm cool with. This last paragraph is bit confusing though. I don't feel comfortable granting power of attorney to this client if I don't sign furthers contracts that this client happens to hand me. It seems a bit open ended. I guess it's time for me to get a lawyer. I just wanted to know if this looks like typical stuff or something I should be wary of. Thanks!

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Engineer hereby agrees and acknowledges that the work done for Artist shall in no way be construed as the work of a producer and no claim shall be made as such. Engineer further agrees to keep the studio where all recording takes place, private and for the exclusive use of the Artist when time is blocked out by Artist. Artist further agrees to execute any and all additional documents reasonably necessary to effectuate the terms of this Agreement, within 5 days of any request by Artist. Should Engineer fail to execute any documents requested, within the time limit set out herein, Engineer hereby grants Artist his power of attorney, coupled with an interest, in perpetuity, to execute any such document on his/her behalf after the 5 days.
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#2
17th November 2006
Old 17th November 2006
  #2
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WAY WAY OVERKILL

What a PITA lawyer...

Make them pay your lawyer fees,

If you aren't producing, (dont forget if you have any cool ideas, you are contracted NOT to pass them on to this artist ) and are just engineering, there is NO WAY you should be forking out for legal fees.

Say "sure, but I will need a lawyer to look at it for me, and as you want this signed, YOU need to pay for it",

However that clause is so heavy, it should be a warning sign that you are dealing with total w***nkers... Make sure you really want to get hitched with these people before starting..

Any lawyer on your side, will toss that out...

If you are engineering and not producing, there aren't any further contracts that will need signing.. its BS..

Probably done by someone not familiar with the music industry..

IMHO
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17th November 2006
Old 17th November 2006
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Looks like overkill to me. Especially, the section reading "[s]hould Engineer fail to execute any documents requested, within the time limit set out herein, Engineer hereby grants Artist his power of attorney, coupled with an interest, in perpetuity, to execute any such document on his/her behalf after the 5 days." A power of attorney giving the right to the artist to execute "any document requested" is definitely way broader than I would sign off on.

If I were you, if you are cool with the rest of the document, cross out the section that you quoted and initial and date next to the crossed out section, then go ahead and sign the document and give it back to the artist. Let him/her know that you had to make the some minor revisions, which are noted, but that, otherwise, it is cool. Then, wait for his/her reaction. The artist should be good with it. If he/she comes back whining about the power of attorney section, have a dialog about the scenerios that they are trying to cover. Based on that dialog, you should both be able to come up with some appropriate language. Good luck.

By the way, using this technique puts a signed (but amended) contract in the artists hands. If the artist is as lazy as most, he/she will see it as much easier just to sign it and move on than to go back to you and argue about the details.
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#4
17th November 2006
Old 17th November 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
...Engineer hereby grants Artist his power of attorney, coupled with an interest, in perpetuity, to execute any such document on his/her behalf after the 5 days.
Yuck ~ :

Yeah - that's a great idea from Jules... Tell them that since it's them wanting you to sign it - they should pay for an attourney of your choice. It's only a single consultation..

Personally, I would hate to give up all future producer rights if I was just starting into a session cause you never really know what people will need and how much you will end up giving. If you get a good lawyer you can leave that somewhat negotiable depending on conditions that you setup.

I've worked with people who I initially thought were f*cking brilliant and by the end I'm listening, thinking, "Hmm.. that's my drumbeat cause he couldn't think of anything.. got him out of a deep funk and practically wrote the guitars on that song... talked the her out of quiting and I made this whole record sound great... F*ck - I produced this; I did as much work as all of them combined !:::"
#5
17th November 2006
Old 17th November 2006
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K question

As a general matter you don't want to grant anything in perpetuity and in many states such an assignment is not permitted. I would not accept that provision...so it says that if your even once fail to execute a document (sign) within five days the artist is deemed to have your power of attorney forever..
#6
17th November 2006
Old 17th November 2006
  #6
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Sounds like you're dealing with extremely inexpereinced people.

The whole prodcuer credit thing is no big deal. If you're being hired to engineer, then that's what you should be doing. If they ask you for you opinion and you give them a great production idea, that does not make you the producer of the session, so you're not giving anything up.

You should not be granting power of attorney to anyone unless it's for a spcific thing and the scope is limited or for health reasons.


The producer credit thing strikes me as someone wants credit for themselves and is feeling very insecure, probably becuase they've never produced before (or they have and they know that they're no good and htat other people are going to be doing the producing for them). You should do you best to make the session happn and the client happy. I'm pretty certain that this cleint is going to be a pain in the ass. They're not going to meet the goals in the time/budget alloted. They're going to end up hiring someone else to mix based on some previous "major label" credit and in the end they're going to spend a lot of money and it's not going to go anywhere like 99.9% of all projects.

Go with the flow and don't stress if the project falls through becuase some nonselcical clause in the contract is a deal breaker for them. If that power of attorney clause is a deal breaker, that's a sign that you really don't want them as a client.
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18th November 2006
Old 18th November 2006
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Ok, I let her know that the paragraph had to be removed before I would sign. We'll see.

Thanks guys!
#8
18th November 2006
Old 18th November 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Engineer hereby agrees and acknowledges that the work done for Artist shall in no way be construed as the work of a producer and no claim shall be made as such.
Ha ha! Call that clause the "White Stripes" clause. This artist has been paying attention to the news!! Even though the White Stripes won the case, this artist still wants to protect themselves. I call it overkill, because they should be so lucky to make it big enough that their engineer would consider suing them claiming he invented their "sound".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Engineer further agrees to keep the studio where all recording takes place, private and for the exclusive use of the Artist when time is blocked out by Artist.
Pretty vague and unenforceable even though this is the definition of "hiring" a studio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rufuss Sewell View Post
Artist further agrees to execute any and all additional documents reasonably necessary to effectuate the terms of this Agreement, within 5 days of any request by Artist. Should Engineer fail to execute any documents requested, within the time limit set out herein, Engineer hereby grants Artist his power of attorney, coupled with an interest, in perpetuity, to execute any such document on his/her behalf after the 5 days.
Well, an obvious typo, they meant to start with Engineer! Anyway, I can't imagine this clause having any meaning in terms of an Artist/Engineer relationship. "Documents"??!!?? Do they mean to imply the recording medium? That's the only way I can conceive of this having some relevance. And, if so, it's totally unacceptable. They probably just copied that clause from some boilerplate contract, thinking it was relevant.


The first clause, the "White Stripes" clause, I can see some savvy lawyers putting into their artist's contracts. And, frankly, after the White Stripes debacle, I fully understand it. But, as an engineer, I always fully define those rolls before taking on a project and so, I wouldn't have a problem with that clause.
#9
18th November 2006
Old 18th November 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Caffrey View Post
I'm pretty certain that this cleint is going to be a pain in the ass.


But hey, If you're like most of us it's important to learn how to deal with the PITA artists. I had a client JUST like this last year. She was sooo firggin type A and so inexperinced that it made the two months we worked together my own personal Dante's Inferno. But I made a lot of money, bought a lot of gear, and had some fun stories to tell at the end of it.

I rarely let contracts stand in the way of work. It will probably never matter if you delete the last line of that ill conceived pile of crap or not. But use this as an opportunity to grow in your negotiating skills.

Be open and honest about how you feel about the contract. Points one and two are acceptable but get her to explain exactly what she's trying to get out of point number three. If she can't explain why it's there then you'll probably have a better chance of getting it deleted or changing the wording to accomplish what she's trying to get at.


And if you do leave that last line in the contract and the artist starts using their power of attourney to execute documents that ruin your life I will personally repay the debts incurred as well as compensating you for any pain and suffering caused by this artist. I guarantee it *








*This statement is not a guaratee and in no way obligates Paul David in any matter financial or otherwise to Rufuss Sewell or his client.
#10
18th November 2006
Old 18th November 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul David View Post

I guarantee it *


*This statement is not a guaratee and in no way obligates Paul David in any matter financial or otherwise to Rufuss Sewell or his client.
That's toooooo funny.

Wouldn't it be great if the only goal was to make a brilliant - mind blowing - and timeless recording?

Where it was an open ended contract where everyone there working felt like giving it their "all"? Giving every last drop of skill, every last ounce of energy and focus to produce a great sounding record?

Not for the money. Not for the credits. Just for the sake of making something special.
#11
18th November 2006
Old 18th November 2006
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danasti View Post
That's toooooo funny.

Wouldn't it be great if the only goal was to make a brilliant - mind blowing - and timeless recording?

Where it was an open ended contract where everyone there working felt like giving it their "all"? Giving every last drop of skill, every last ounce of energy and focus to produce a great sounding record?

Not for the money. Not for the credits. Just for the sake of making something special.


yeah, fuggetaboutet.

that kinda sh&t doesn't happen anymore.
(or it DOES, and all the creators get screwed)

wudduh yu, walt fr%gg*n disney ova here?
(another ruthless m&therf*cker)

i totally agree with jules.

they want you to sign something weird - ARTIST pays the legal fees.
(and that DOESN'T mean you'll SIGN, it just guarentees that you'll
NEGOTIATE). but whatever the case, you won't sign anything ignorantly,
AND you won't get stuck with legal fees.

besides, what would you rather have - a useless contract
(as was mentioned 99.9% of artists and recordings never go anywhere),
or a brand new piece of gear
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#12
18th November 2006
Old 18th November 2006
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What, you're not allowed two weeks of vacation in the south of France without some dumbass client taking power of attorney? And what if they change management, re-release an album and want you to sign away anything you're due?

NO FAHKKIN WAY.

I understand people being worried about "producer" concepts, but I'm OK with locking out a studio for an artist, as well as staying as the engineer. But I'd also say in several places where you KNOW they are going to want your expertise to fix something, "you're not paying me to produce, and I signed your contract. Tell me how you want it."

Stupid lawyers making dumb money. To think I gave up Yale Law for audio

of wait...to think I considered practicing law instead of the music industry!

Sorry- get back to the issue:
If it were me, I'd sign it, striking THE LAST SENTENCE, and initial & date that strike.
The sentence before is lousy language but is Artist to Artist, their mistake. Screw 'em.
#13
18th November 2006
Old 18th November 2006
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i can't tell you the number of people i know who gave up law,
and are MUCH happier now. not suprising.
(as, i'm sure, are the folks who might've been dealing with them).



but hey,

it's those 99% of lawyers that make the other 1% look bad
#14
18th November 2006
Old 18th November 2006
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhartman View Post
If I were you, if you are cool with the rest of the document, cross out the section that you quoted and initial and date next to the crossed out section, then go ahead and sign the document and give it back to the artist. Let him/her know that you had to make the some minor revisions, which are noted, but that, otherwise, it is cool. Then, wait for his/her reaction. The artist should be good with it. If he/she comes back whining about the power of attorney section, have a dialog about the scenarios that they are trying to cover. Based on that dialog, you should both be able to come up with some appropriate language. Good luck.
I like this trick a lot. it reminds me of the old ..."I bet you a dollar I can cut your tie in half and then put it back together again perfectly' joke... (you cut the tie, say 'er.. actually I forgot how to do this'.... then hand the victim a dollar... )

But this part....

Quote:
Originally Posted by mhartman View Post
you should both be able to come up with some appropriate language.
...gives me indigestion... as I believe the only people that should be coming up with 'language' for contracts, are ... lawyers.

I don't believe an 'I'm not stupid, this can't be so hard' attitude to contracts is advisable..

Hire a pro..
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