If something goes wrong, you can always sue, right? Perhaps not. It is quite common for contracts to contain clauses limiting a person's right sue in court, requiring him or her to arbitrate instead. Several kinds of clauses govern how the parties must solve their disagreements. For example:
• Can the parties sue, or must they arbitrate disputes? (See Appendix C:Arbitration, p. 298.)
• Do the parties have time to cure problems before they are in breach of contract? (See Appendix C: Default-and-Cure, p. 299.)
• What happens if something goes wrong and it's nobody's fault (e.g., an earthquake, flood, or fire). (See Appendix C: Force Majeure, p. 300.)
• Where must a lawsuit or arbitration be initiated? (See Appendix C: Choice of Law, p. 299.)
THE BOTTOM LINE: The value of the film property lies in its copyright. Written, well-drafted, and signed contracts are the only way to safeguard the film's copyright.
GOT A FEW MORE MINUTES? GET SOME CONTRACT LAW UNDER YOUR BELT!
Now might be a good time to acquaint yourself with the basics of contract law. You may want to read through the contract law section in the Law Library portion of this book. (See Appendix B: A Filmmaker's Guide to Contract Law, p. 283.)
A catalogue of common contract clauses and their definitions can be found in Appendix C: The Clause Companion, p. 291.
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