About to start a collaborative script project with a co-author? Learn how to protect your work – and your partnership – through a collaborative agreement. A professional writer working on a book “as I said” might want to try to find a provision that if the subject gets cold and withdraws, the author does not have to repay his share of the advance. A related problem is the right to use the material already written when the project is cancelled or when employees decide not to collaborate. While the authors` contributions are easily divisible (z.B. John wrote chapters 1-9; Albert wrote chapters 10 – 14), the simple solution is for each writer to get sole custody of their respective documents. Things get more complicated if the authors` contributions are not easily divisible or if an author is dropped before the parties have signed with a publisher, or if someone is hired to terminate what the outgoing employee started. Depending on the facts, there are various options, including the purchase of materials already prepared (z.B. Sometimes the purchase price reflects a premium for the outgoing author or writer, who agrees not to compete with the current work. If the authors` contributions have been collected (i.e., there is no practical way to separate rights and take them back from each one), a cooperation agreement could help them solve the problem. One way to deal with this scenario is to state in the cooperation agreement that “no party can use the work or part of it without the prior written consent of others.” In the competitive world of publishing, it is not realistic to grant each common author the right to freely use the combined parts, as publishers seek “exclusive” publishing rights. Many lending agencies are not aware of the consequences of working without a written agreement. When a joint work is created, it is considered that each employee is assumed to own the copyright and participate equally in the royalties. In addition, under the rules of delay of the copyright law – which can be changed by a written agreement – any employee can grant non-exclusive licenses on the work to third parties, provided they fairly charge the profits to the other.
Problems are common when there are multiple job offers or applications for exclusive rights and there is no agreement between employees. A recalcitrant employee may prevent the other employee from conceding or granting exclusive rights to third parties in the plant. Another disaster scenario is the unilateral end of the project through autobiographical work, as was the case with the failure of the collaboration between Fay Vincent, former commissioner of baseball, and David Kaplan.