Collaboration Agreement with Co-Author
Where can I find a form for a "collaboration agreement" for co-authors? I wrote a true-crime book which was published. Then a friend and I wrote a screenplay based on my book? In order to avoid problems between us if a film producer wants to buy it, I was told by an intellectual property attorney that we need to have one. Thanks for any help you may be able to give me. Scottie Priesmeyer
3 Answers from Attorneys
The law library for the law school in your area and/or the law library in the county court house that serves your locale will have a series, "NIMMER ON COPYRIGHT LAW", and you should be able to find and example for the form that you seek in NIMMER.
However, you might also consider filing an application with the Register of Copyrights, on Form TX, wherein you would set forth that the applicants are co-authors of the screenplay. Form TX can usually be obtained at a public library in your city.
"Entertainment Industry Contracts" a multi-volume work edited by Donald Farber and published by Mathew Bender has a number of different forms. I suggest you look at Form 42-3 in volume 3 which serves as both a collaboration agreement and a book publishing contract.
Collaboration agreement for book
Besides the good advice from Ms Levine and Mr. Taddeo, given the nature of your question and the complications that can arise, I'd also suggest you contact an intellectual property attorney (look under copyrights and trademarks in the Yellow Pages) to help advise you on the copyright issues and the contract issues involved. I believe your posting said you lived in Missouri. There are good IP attorneys in Kansas City and St. Louis. My law firm in Sioux Falls, SD is affiliated with Armstrong, Teasdale et al in St. Louis through Lex Mundi so you might start with them and ask to talk to someone in their intellectual property department. I think it is worth a couple hundred dollars to make sure you haven't missed something. Also, I think you can download the TX copyright registration form off the Copyright Office's site at http://www.loc.gov. (That will at least get your foot in the cyber-door. I forget the rest of the address. Otherwise, go to Yahoo and type in "Copyright Office".) If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to email me at the address below. Good luck!