I ran across an interesting article on CNN titled David Cassidy goes after ‘Partridge Family’ fortune If you read past the headline, it’s much less ominous than the title sounds.  at a glance, it sounds like David Cassidy is looking to get something that isn’t his.  But as you read further, we learn on contracts for merchandise featuring his image, name or likeness, of which he was to get 15% of the net profits. (Oh how I wish I got 15% royalties!)

He was apparently paid all of $5,000.  The cast of Happy Days are also filing suit over lack of payment from merchandise as well.  There seems to be a debate about rights, terms, statutes of limitations… it will be an interesting story to follow.  Add to it that David Cassidy’s contract was recently found in a box that he hadn’t unpacked since the 70’s.

A few lessons for us from this saga:

• Keep track of your contracts – and optimally in duplicate and multiple locations.  If you don’t have your contracts it’s he said / she said which doesn’t do much for you if you end up in court.

• Know what you’ve agreed to and pay attention to results.  Are you receiving royalty statements each quarter? Do you see products in the marketplace that aren’t licensed or where royalties aren’t being paid?

• Include an “audit” clause in your contract that gives you the rights to audit the books if things seem fishy.

If any part of your agreement isn’t in writing, it won’t count in a dispute.  Contracts are designed to make sure both parties know what should happen when things are going well and outline how to part ways if they aren’t.  Did you hear the part about it all having to be in writing?  Good. 🙂

Here’s to your creative and protected success!

– Tara Reed

P.S.  Check out the Art Licensing Manager software to help you keep track of contracts, licensed products, expiration dates and more.  At some point, it gets hard to keep it all straight in your head – trust me!