by Maria La France with support from Brett Trout, Attorney. PowerGig.com, August 2001
This article discusses
performance contracts for single performances,
It never hurts to review
and improve even a contract you've been using for years. Intellectual
property attorney Brett Trout contributes some great wisdom and provides
even-handed contracts that opt for clarity rather than bargaining strength
on either the Buyer or Seller's side. "The goal is to lay out the
deal so everyone is on the same page. The more fair a contract is, the
more likely everyone will agree to sign it." Brett shares.
Definition of performance: Both parties should know what is expected for a "performance." Provide a clear yet concise description of the nature of the performance, including minimum length, set breaks, and anything else unique to the performance (1-3 sentences is fine).
Location, date and time: This seems like a no-brainer, but we've heard horror stories about performers showing up on the wrong day, two performers booked for the same time, enough said. Length of performance can be described here or in the definition.
Compensation: It should be clear whether a fixed amount (guarantee), a percent of door or revenue, or both. Include when payment will be made, to who, how, and any deposits. Be very clear here as to payment method and who specifically receives it. For example, if the deposit goes to the agent, and the remainder to the performer, it should be in the contract. If payment is based on percent of door, both parties should have the right to be present in the box office and access to box office records or gross receipts.
Recording, reproduction, transmission, photography: This is usually the artist's right to grant specific permission, but press and publicity is a good thing. Flexibility is key. It is common for the Buyer to have the right to use the Performer's name and likeness in advertisements and promotion, so its good to make sure the Buyer has appropriate promo materials.
Right to sell merchandise on premises: For smaller venues and engagements, this right is usually the performer's, because its a large part of the performer's compensation. But for larger venues, they may have specific terms for merchandise, but they may also have their own people to sell it.
Meals, transportation, lodging: This completely depends on the performance type and gig type. Corporate and College gigs usually cover most everything, and public venue gigs and benefits are a little less gratuitous. Guest lists, passes, dressing rooms, and other hospitalities vary.
Sound and production: It should be clarified who provides sound and how. It's too often that a performance is ruined by improper sound production, so its good to allow the performer to designate a representative to control sound equipment.
Permits, licenses, and taxes: It is customary for these to be covered by the Buyer.
Acts of God: These events, such as weather or illness are intended to protect both parties.
Cancellation: There are a number of ways this is handled, and again, it depends on the gig. Usually if there is enough notice, neither party is penalized. But again, it helps to be clear.
Royalties and licensing: Responsibility for this clause usually goes to the party with deeper pockets. Brett observes, "a small performer is probably not going to get sued, but a performer with 6-7 CDs and plenty of merchandise sales will." A venue or large promoter on the other hand is an easy target for a lawsuit. But its smart for performers to either have permission or the necessary licenses when performing copyrighted material.
Specific requirements/restrictions for performer: Eating, attire, language. Depending on the gig, there may be certain requirements of the Performer or the Buyer depending on the gig, such as thanking a sponsor, announcing the performer, attire or language at corporate or private gigs, etc., etc.
Agent terms: Often
the agent is the Seller, and the agent may draw a
Insurance & Security:
Personal liability insurance and property insurance
There are numerous other
clauses, but the above are the most common. Brett recommends that you
look at a variety of contracts and decide which clauses apply to your
situations. Brett also welcomes you to draw from his example contracts,
but only with the awareness that NEITHER these sample contracts NOR
the opinions in this article constitute legal advice.
About the author: Maria La France is president of www.PowerGig.com, a service for finding, booking, managing, and promoting entertainment. PowerGig is free for people seeking talent, and a low fee for performers. PowerGig is used by college talent buyers, concert promoters, venue managers, industry executives, event planners, and more. All gig details are saved online, and gigs can be promoted to other event-listing sites with one-click, saving time.
Legal notice from Brett J. Trout Esq.: These Agreements and newsletter simply provide[s] information about legal issues related to a Performance for Hire. Information, however, is not the same as legal advice. While these Agreements may indeed be applicable to your circumstance, no Agreement is universal. The author, therefore, expressly disclaims any warranty or representation that they are appropriate for your situation. Please consult your lawyer regarding the applicability of these Agreements to your particular needs. - Brett J. Trout, Esq. (515) 288-0219.
Some other sites to check
out are below. But they may not all be in the public domain, which means
check for permission before using.