Legal Question in Entertainment Law in California

First-time Non-Union Voiceover Contract

I am providing all voices for a video game, over 1500 tracks and several weeks of recording. Company is startup, new to games; I'm new to voiceover, no agent. Have been working under a verbal and been reluctant to sign written contract they've provided. Should I sign or renegotiate:

-Contract seems standard Ind. Contractor agreement - approp. for voiceover?

-Payment to me of $200/wk retainer ENDS after 8 weeks; I doubt project will be done by then; seems contractual burden for finishing project on time put on me as voice performer

-Revenue sharing at 2.74% of Client's revenue after they get back their expenses, which they claim are 100k

-I sign over character/voice rights to them, they deal with software distributors, presumably sell game to other company, or self-distribute

-What is ''assignment''?

-Termination on notice w/30 days warning - this okay?

-Additionally they have had me start writing much of copy for game, which is not covered in any of our verbal or pending agreements

Asked on 7/14/03, 7:22 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Erik Hart Law Office of Erik A. Hart

Re: First-time Non-Union Voiceover Contract

No attorney can tell you what you should do without first reading the agreement. You should find and hire a competent entertainment attorney in your area.

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Answered on 7/14/03, 7:53 pm

Re: First-time Non-Union Voiceover Contract

An intellectual property and entertainment lawyer needs to look over the contract. There may be provisions which are very bad for you, which you have not asked about in your post. Thus, I cannot comment on your questions in a vacuum.

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Answered on 7/16/03, 12:32 pm
Keith E. Cooper Keith E. Cooper, Esq.

Re: First-time Non-Union Voiceover Contract

Contract review simply can't be done through a free bulletin board, and the points you question are not as simple as you may think. But, yes, you will need to sign a contract--the point is to make sure that it includes protections for you. Most likely, your employers have an attorney advising them, but their attorney is bound to look after their interests, not yours.

You need to consult with an experienced entertainment attorney IMMEDIATELY. The attorney's fee you pay now will be re-paid many times over in the long run.

If you are in Los Angeles, please feel free to call me.

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Answered on 7/15/03, 3:22 pm

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