(I am not a lawyer & the statements below are NOT meant to be taken as legal advice!)
Are you a YouTube star? Do you plan on being one?
As many of you may know, YouTube is an amazing way to get yourself seen and heard to the masses. Big labels and production companies are well aware of a YouTube channel’s ability to garner fans and a stable amount of viewers (due to the ability to “Subscribe” to channels).
Unfortunately, I have this gut feeling that many of the successful channel’s, which are getting amazing opportunities to design their own shoe lines, or help promote certain brush brands, are under contract, & although the contracts seem very enticing and appealing, they are actually very one sided. By one sided I mean, the YouTube artist is on the losing end, while the production company or the corporation is on the winning end.
If you’re going to sign a contract for more than a year ( if the opportunity will last more than a year, DEFINITELY get it in writing), you should talk to a lawyer. You should also talk to a lawyer, if you consider the amount contained substantial or if the product could be viewed numerous times or through varying modes of media.
As stated before most of these contracts are one sided. I recently read this off of WestLaw and found it to be incredibly helpful:
[An] entertainment company that wishes to engage talent on a new media production will attempt to acquire the maximum of rights for a flat fee (subject to the requirements and rights contained in the applicable union agreements). . . . [An] attorney must negotiate all of these deal points (royalties, reuse, compensation for exploitation through other mediums, gross/net-revenue definitions, payment terms, audit rights, etc.) and include them in the final agreement. In both cases, union and nonunion talent, creators and their representatives must think through the potential for future revenue streams and assess how their contribution should be valued. In many cases, the talent and/or creator will likely wish to remain involved should the program move from the Web to other media platforms, such as television, or a sequel be developed. © 2013 Thomson Reuters. No Claim to Orig. U.S. Govt. Works.
I know all of this must seem like a bunch of legal jargon, but the main point is hiring a lawyer, although may seem expensive on the front end, will actually garner you more rights and more opportunities to collect profits from your artistic work. Also, if a company is going to use your fan base to sell their products, you should have the ability bargain the provisions of your contract fairly, with provisions that are favorable towards you, and that help you remain loyal to your fans.
I’m now going to end this post with videos from some of my favorite YouTube Channels!
Bethany is a perfect example of a YouTube star. She has a following and some of her videos have more than a million views. Her fans trust her, and I feel as if her ability to influence her fans is incredibly strong.
Chriselle does an amazing job with each video. Her success as a YouTube star has, in my opinion, lead to more faithful blog viewers, as well as helping expand her business as a stylist.