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Rob Schenk on Business Unveiled

How to Legally Protect Your Business

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How to Legally Protect Your Business

ROB SCHENK ON BUSINESS UNVEILED

How to Legally Protect Your Business

If you’re like me, you’ve put a lot of time and energy into building your business. But do you know if your business is protected legally? Protecting your business through contracts between you and your clients is as important as the actual work you do, especially when you are just starting out. It can be challenging to know where to start and what steps to take first. 

Contracts are one of the most important legal documents in a business. They protect both parties with terms and conditions, and create expectations for how each party will behave. When you sign a contract with another company or individual, you're agreeing to abide by the specific set of rules outlined in that contract. 

I’m so excited to share our guest Rob Schenk, founder of Wedding Industry Law. Rob is an attorney representing wedding and event industry professionals. He is sharing with us all about how to navigate the legal waters of business, what types of contracts are common in an entrepreneurial and event setting, why they're necessary, and how to use them effectively.

MAIN TOPICS
  • Recommendations to address Covid cancellations in 2021? 
  • Tips on keeping retainer money if client cancels for non-covid reasons? 
  • Why you need permission to use the principal photographer's photos for your own marketing 
KEY TAKEAWAYS

Your contract can protect your money from Covid cancellations 

 

Your contract can protect your money from clients getting cold feet 

Your contract should address photography if you plan to use photos 

MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST

Rob Schenk is a trial attorney representing wedding and event professionals.  Since 2012, Rob’s focus has been on helping wedding pros operate legally and stay out of trouble! In 2016, he launched WedFormz.com, a database of downloadable contract templates for wedding and event businesses. In 2020, Rob started the Wedding Industry Law Youtube Channel and Podcast. Rob’s expertise has been featured in Time, Huffington Post Weddings, Yahoo News, Slate Magazine, The Knot, PetaPixel, Above the Law, and Mobile Beat.

EPISODE TRANSCRIBED

I'm back for another episode of business unveiled. And today's guest Rob shank who I've known for 30 years or something. Like tell it our age. We went to high school together y'all and he's like a bad ass attorney like helping creative professionals out. So Rob, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for having me. Angela mountain Juliet represent.

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Okay, I was close to 97 I think your request 96 maybe? Yes. Yes. It was so funny yesterday was going through my all my facebook group. So one of my team members and their Did you know, there's like a Facebook group for like mount Juliet. People that like graduated, like in the 90s. I knew that I was under the impression that we had just one for our class 96 I did not realize there was a 90s class, which I'm sure it's probably way crazier. Yeah. I'm like, I don't need to be in those groups. I don't think because if I don't contribute anything, like I don't really need to be in a group. But yeah, we've had some really sharp people, like come out of Mount Juliet, which y'all was the country back then is not the country anymore. There's like malls, and it's crazy. But anyway, okay, everybody listening today, thank you so much for being here. We're super excited. If you're creative, if you're in the event industry, the wedding industry, if you do anything creative, or sell anything creative online, you're going to want to listen today, because I will tell you from my experience, and you don't know what you don't know, I've been drugged to court a few times over legal battles, not because of me, just because I was subpoenaed because of crazy clients or crazy situations. And it's not fun when your legal stuff in your contract is not like buttoned up. So that's some of the stuff we're going to talk about today. And then you add the pandemic, to this mess, where it's like, guess what? We've never been through this before, as, as a creative person who does like all these business and works with all these businesses, and does all these events like every single person when the pandemic started, they were kind of like deer in headlights, like, we have to advise our legal counsel, we'll get back to you kind of thing. So a lot of stuff has changed ever since the pandemic. But before we jump in and talk about legal stuff, Rob, I do want you to let everyone know that's listening. Let them know a little bit about you. And like what it's like, we know you grew up in Mount Juliet in the country. But after that, like how did you decide to become an attorney? Like what made you want to get into law? And then how did you decide what was the Why did you want to help and serve creatives? Because there's so many different, like avenues of law that you can go in? Let's start from the beginning. So when we were rocking and rolling, drove it up and down mountain Julie road, I wanted to be a rock star, which that skill set was, you know, yeah, performing. And we were kind of political. So there's a little bit of argument. And so performance and argument is kind of my natural skill set. And so after about five or six years of trying to make, you know, make that happen. I couldn't so we're playing you know, originally was Roadhouse, you know, in, in, in in BFA or whatever, and in front of nobody. So I'm like, Well, what can I do now? And so I'd already graduated UT, and was like, Okay, well, UT University, Tennessee for the University of Texas. Go balls. Exactly. And so I was like, I go, what can I do? And so I wanted to take those skills and apply them to the law. So that's the kind of that was my natural tendency was to be able to speak, talk to people analyze things and essentially to perform. So did that and then I graduated from Georgia State here in Atlanta, Georgia, where I'm talking to you from in 2008. And I started the my legal career as a business litigation attorney, meaning somebody that defends people or bring sued for breach of contract. on an international level it was actually was a little tiny
Poland have a French law firm is based in Paris. So I had, luckily was able to go kind of go to Europe a few times for legal matters, that kind of thing that was super fun. At that point in time, I was dating a wedding photographer, and reviewed her contract and
found it to be lacking. And, you know, based on what I learned, fix it up and became kind of known within the Atlanta wedding photography community. And then that grew into essentially, the event industry and creative entrepreneurs as a whole. So over the past, you know, decade or so, I've been representing event industry professionals, creatives and contract and litigation matters. And, and here I am today talking to you. And you have to, right? I do so last year, right? Like not not because of it just happened to be coincidentally, the same week as the pandemic really hit in March of 2020. I started my YouTube channel and my podcast, which is just the wedding industry law podcast, and it's weekly, kind of like this, and you know, just different different topics every week we go into. So to the extent that somebody out there is listening in, we don't talk about what you want us to talk about, maybe you can find it on my on my YouTube channel on the podcast. Absolutely. And we'll put it on the show notes too. Because here's the thing you don't as a, just as an entrepreneur, you don't know you're doing anything wrong, until you get a knock on the door, and a letter handed to you that you have to sign for. And I'm like, what's this? And I read it. And I'm like,
What? Like, what's this?
subpoena? Right. And like when this first started, I just built a house, right down the road for mount Juliet. And there was a like, no one even had my address like Google Earth, the the, the sign on the street hadn't even been put up. And so I don't even know how people got my address. And I drove up to my house one day, this was a long time ago. And there was something taped to my door. And it was like a brand new door. And I'm like, why someone putting tape on my brand new windows that had just been cleaned. Because I cared about that back then I don't notice thinking. There's a way bigger problems. And I opened this thing up. And it's like, you've been subpoenaed to testify in court and blah, blah, blah. Well, I grew up watching my dad in Night Court. So court doesn't like make my heart pound. Like it does a lot of people and like they sweat. And they're like, Oh, my God did it. And I was like, get up, tell the truth. And just answer the freaking questions like, it's not hard. But when you don't know what you don't know, that makes people very uncomfortable when you're not, when you don't feel like you're empowered with the right knowledge and the right information. And it's like, oh, my God, I did something wrong. So you help protect people of that. And I'm also wondering, too, even before COVID, since you started off, like with photographers, because now I have another online company, we have a stock image company and photographers contribute their photos and license them to other people. And so even for people that are not in the wedding and event industry, I know what the influencer market, and people needing photos, a lot of photos for content. Again, every business, no matter what industry you're in, you need content and you need photos. And so some people know that you can go to the stock image websites and like, download these images. But can you lend a little like year of information to people who were like googling and then they're using those google images on their promotional, like, if they're selling something like can you just tell us a little bit about that and how you shouldn't do that? And why you shouldn't do that? Yeah, that's the that's the first thing is don't do that. Don't do that. Yeah. So any any typically any photograph is going to be protected by what's called copyright. And the usually the individual that snaps the photograph or paints it or makes the rap song writes the lyrics sings the poem, that's the individual typically, that is the the holder of the bundle of copyrights. And those rights include publication.
Making derivative works, meaning like why added an extra beat to the rap song or added a smiley face to the picture. The copyright holder is the only one that typically has the right to do that. So it's a bundle of rights. And when someone uses a photograph or uses that picture, without the permission of the copyright holder in some way, then that individual is likely going to be the defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit. So just for the
fact that you found something online doesn't mean that you can use it or that includes Facebook, Instagram, whatever you want. So typically how it works is that the copyright holder will grant someone a license, meaning that that is the permission to use the photograph, by whatever means, is understood between the parties. So, as you mentioned, there are kind of the clipart, or the stock image websites, and what you're doing when you go to one of those sites and you pay money, or maybe you're paying a subscription fee is the copyright holders and that website have all agreed together? For the people listening? I'm putting my hands together.
Okay to show them that again. Anyway, so they're saying, Okay, well, you know, we're going to grant a license, just a license to use for websites, or whatever the case may be of how you get it from that, that now, you couldn't because of that license, go around and say, sell it to Hallmark for $50,000, or sell the image to wheedies to be on the cover of Wheaties? Because you did not. The scope of the license typically isn't that broad? So from the standpoint of Rob, can I use this image? First thing is find out who has the copyright to it or who has the permission to grant you licenses and get the appropriate license before you use any image on your website before you use any image in your marketing materials. That's the safest thing, because what you're going to get is an email or a cease and desist letter from some attorney probably in Washington state for Getty Images or whatever it is that saying, you always back retroactive license of $5,000. Or we're gonna sue you for copyright infringement get more.
Yeah, and y'all I learned the hard way. Because you don't know. You don't know. And so if you don't take anything other than this, don't Google and go to images and slot it over to your desktop and use it in any of your stuff. Okay, like, just don't do it. And at first, I'm like, Well, I'm this tiny little fish in this little country pond. And they will find you, okay, so and the more you put out, and the more consistent you are, and the more people that follow you and find you through hashtags and stuff like they will find you. And so there's even been times where with Pinterest that and I don't know if you've done if you've handled like any Pinterest cases, but I will have, we have an internship program. And so we have interns go on and pin things to some of our boards that inspire them or would inspire some of our clients. And then I'll get an email that says your pin has been removed, you do not have rights, blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, if it's on effin Pinterest, and I'm just pinning it, and like to show somebody like, Why Why can't I do that? Like, I'm not using it for marketing purposes. But do you know why we get those emails? Like, what does that mean? The the, there are essentially, in my opinion, it's, it's, it's almost unethical, but understand where a professional photographer for Getty or for the Associated Press, they make their money by selling their images to journalists, and to newspapers and to websites. Okay. So whenever you use that image, you're taking away from the the value of that image. So I kind of get that. So what they do is they pay law firms, and they pay tech wizards to essentially run programs that that creepy crawl the internet. And as soon as even if you're even if Angela puts that that photo up on our website for two seconds and brings it down, they've got a screen image of it. In the end, they have that information, because there's information embedded in the photograph itself. Now there's possibly at this point ways to get around that, but I'm not getting into that. But at any rate, that's how they're finding you. And that's how they found you so quickly. So when you do that, and you don't have the right to do it, they do have the right to sue you for copyright infringement. So when you get that letter, what they're doing is give us a little bit of money in exchange for us not suing you for that. So that's how that happens. Now with Pinterest, when you're adding the social media component to it, it's a little bit more of a gray area, because, you know, if you're taking an image off the internet and putting it on Facebook or whatever, yes, but if the image was already on Pinterest or already in Facebook, then you're getting into a gray area that you know, it's a fact by fact basis. But at the end of the day,
just if you're using images to promote your business and you're using a lot of just either get a subscription to one of to Angeles company to anybody's company where you're safe and you have license to do it. If it's one or two. You taking a risk you maybe we won't get found maybe the robots maybe Skynet won't get you. Maybe they will. That's the risk that you're running.
Yeah. And so y'all, there's this thing on Google
called like, Google reverse lookup, okay. And so my brother owns a PR company. And so he would find like these really quick people. And I had this guy catfishing me and I said, I would do a podcast just about this catfish thing. One day is so funny. And so I showed this picture to my brother, and he runs it through Google reverse images. And he's like, Ah, that's an actor like that. You're being catfished. And I'm like, yeah, though, I felt like something was kind of funny. Like, apparently, this guy, like, wanted an event planned. And then it like, turned into something else. And then I'm like, basically, at the end of the day is like, Hey, will you send me $6,000? And then, you know, it's like, I'm not stupid. But then it's just funny to like, run the pictures through this. But I didn't even know that existed. So y'all Google that, because you can always run an image through the reverse thing. And there's a whole show called catfish, which is a whole nother podcast that I didn't even know existed. I'm like, how do people have time for that? Stuff like that? Because they make money on it? Like, I mean, like, we have to, I have to go to seminars every year as an attorney and listen to the 30 minutes of like, okay, because I mean, this happens to attorneys to like, you'll get an email be like, hey, we've sent you this check, you need to send it back in like, you know, of course, it's all a scam. And I've been like, I mean, I'm not falling for it. I mean, it's 2021 at this point, so like, I get it, but like, there are some people that do and usually they're the only they're skew older. So it's making somebody money. Yeah, it's just it's so sad. It's so sad. So we'll, we'll stop talking about images. But I feel like that is pertinent to anybody listening, what we've actually done, after all that stuff is another company was born out of it, I'm like, okay, we'll just hire our own people, they'll be in house, we own all of our images, we pay for it, we have a contract. And even though it's like some of these people, it's like, you know, we're friends, we're like bros, you know, we hang out, my business managers, like, super like, we are following the process. And so everybody signs everything, there's no gray. And we started owning everything internally. And so everything that you see is owned by my company. And then we started another company out of it. That's good. And let me let me let me button this up before we move on, because this is super important, is in that just reminded me what you just said. So a lot of times, your audience might not be doing the website work, or the marketing work, you pay somebody to do that, okay? You have to make sure that the individual company or the entity that's doing that work, they're abiding by copyright law, and they're getting the appropriate licenses, because even though you might not have been the one that puts on your website, your marketing team did it, you're going to be the defendant. So there's two things. One, you have to make sure that the marketing team with a website developer, whoever it is, is given the images and put it on your website, they have the permission number two is in your contract with them. And hopefully you have a contract with them. You didn't even look for the words indemnity, indemnify, meaning that they are going to step in and hold you harmless and pay any judgment to the extent that you are defended in a copyright infringement lawsuit, if that makes any sense. So that's the words that you want to look for any contract that you have with any marketing team or website development team, because that happened to me. I didn't do it. The team that I had hired that had done so, or Oh, my gosh, but we learn these things, right? Like, we learn the hard way. And then we go out every time something crazy happens. I'm like, okay, everything happens for a reason God is teaching me this. So I can go out and help other people don't be a dumbass like me.
So just make fun of myself. But, you know, again, like we're constantly learning and learning a business is freaking hard. It's like, how are we supposed to know all this stuff, right. So just make sure that you have the appropriate contracts, because that will save your butt in court sometimes. So moving on to a different type of contract. I know with the pandemic, and COVID and things that have never happened really, in our lifetime. As far as I know. It just it has completely been a game changer for the wedding industry, the events industry, even though we don't do 250 plus events anymore. I'm still very heavily involved in the hospitality community on the consulting side. And then we still do some events. I mean, we had five outstanding events that we still haven't done, we're still under contract, and of course we'll do them. But I'm not planning and replanting and replanting and replanting, I'm like, we're going to wait until the health department in Nashville releases any of this paperwork stuff because if I have to
Do paperwork one more time, I don't know how it is in Atlanta. But in Nashville, the numbers are so high, it's kind of embarrassing.
We had to fill out paperwork for any event that was over 10 people. I mean, what event has a planner for 10 Fn people come on. So I mean, these these events had 250 plus people, they wouldn't approve it. And so there was one event, it was another planner, it wasn't me who submitted paperwork. And by the way, you can only do it two weeks before the event. So could you imagine having all these people thinking they're coming to to a wedding or an event, and then the health department denies it. So the Health Department said you can have 25 people, it's a five hour event, you can only you have to do drink tickets to drinks within five hours per person. And then you can't have a band, no dance floor. And I'm like, well, that's not gonna work for any of our clients. So we had to go to our clients and say, we just have to push this back until people are vaccinated or there is there's so many people dying from this, like your event can wait. So what I can't wait to hear like what you have encountered over this whole pandemic thing and how many contracts you have probably revised and fixed and put lots of addendums I think that's how you say it. Like, what, what can what can people do now to really protect themselves from some type of a pandemic in the future? Great question. So I think that there are principally four primary things that you want to review and and place into your contract and consider at least the first one is
understanding what it means. And you just laid this out perfectly. What does it mean, for a wedding one event, to not be able to take place. And I what I mean by that is sometimes Angela wants to show up, she got her mask on, she got her, you know, she's got her alcohol, hand sanitizer. So let's do this. The client says no, I envisioned a wedding in which no one had masks on, we could eat it a buffet, I could have 200 people. And somewhere in between there's a gray area. So then the missile depends on what jurisdiction you're into. Because California has, as far as I'm concerned, way more restrictive things going on than say Nashville, Tennessee. So number one is from the perspective of both the client and the vendor, come to an understanding as to what it means not just you can't just put pandemic in there that this meaning less, you need to have if a pandemic causes the government to require social distancing mass or whatever. And you come to an understanding as to what it means because there's going to come a point where
perhaps it can go forward legally, but there's so many hoops that either the client doesn't want to or the vendor doesn't want to but the other side does, and then you have a problem. So identifying what it means to not move forward with the event really get in there bullet points, okay. And make that make sure that it's clear to the client when you're signing them up. Listen,
I adhere to CDC guidelines, if the CDC guidelines say masks, you're putting masks on, like, and that means the wedding is happening and y'all got massell. Right? That conversation needs to happen. And it needs to be explicit in the contract. The next thing is this.
No one knows what's going to happen. I hope like I'm getting my vaccination today or tomorrow morning. Okay. But who knows? That's that could last me three months? and talk to Dr. Fauci. I don't know, because there could be various right? Or the vaccinations that we're getting, might need 15 boosters, meaning that we don't know if we're out of the woods yet, we probably are. But who knows. So the concept is this.
Instead of saying, well, we're going to like wipe our hands at this event, because we can't go forward in the event that we can go forward. So we've identified what it means to not go forward. Now we can instead of being like, what happens now like do you do we just terminate it? Do we whatever, obligate the parties to reschedule, you want to get full contract value as the wedding that or at least I hope you do always be closing. You want to get full contract value ever. So you want to make sure it's explicit that the parties are obligated to reschedule that event within a certain amount of time, nine months, 12 months, 18 months, or they're in breach of contract because what happens is the clients and all too often this happens. The client wants out of the contract. Yeah, okay. COVID happened, but they also broke up. And this is an excuse to get out of the contract. I've seen that that
More than would be, you know, seems to me to be reasonable. So obligating the parties to reschedule meaning you put in good faith efforts, like okay, well, I'll give you two or three dates in the next nine months or 12 months, we'll try to meet in the middle of whatever. Cuz, you know, that kind of thing.
That's extremely helpful because it takes you out of the gray No Man's Land of what happens next. We know what happens next. We got to reschedule? Because that's not the default situation in a force majeure event. The third thing is this. What happens to the money? So to the extent that the that you've decided that this is the wedding can't go for the event can't go forward?
We're going to reschedule to the extent that we're going to reschedule am I? When does the next payment come in? Or what happens to the money at that point, okay. And even more important, Angela, is, if the client decides not to reschedule, or the client, you know, like forget this, or doesn't do a good faith effort to reschedule, you keep the money, or you have something where it's like, I get X amount of the money, because that is the land most people that are in litigation right now sit in terms of COVID litigation, is how much money if any, do I have to get back if we can't move forward? Right. So get out of that problem area by saying this is what I'm entitled to, and why. And the fourth thing is this.
Make sure that the contract explicitly says And again, this will be jurisdiction jurisdiction. But luckily, we live in this, we live in the south, at least you and I live in the south where if you're an adult, and you contract your you live by those terms, you can you can expect the judge to get you out the terms. But
make sure the client understands that they are the ones that are assuming the risk if they get the contract can't go forward because of COVID. So even if you've done good faith efforts to reschedule all that and they still went out, they're the ones that have assumed the risk, you're keeping the money to the extent that that's in your contract. So that's four primary things that I would consider any person that is in any event, insure whether you do a bar mitzvah, kinson yada, I don't care. Because COVID is not going away yet. And even if COVID does go away, at least you'll be protected if it's a tornado or hurricane. If it's you know, alien invasion, whatever the case.
Like, oh,
yeah, I don't know if I'll ever see like an alien invasion.
Do check your check. Like I don't know what it because when I worked when I worked at the, when I first graduate, I worked at a French firm, I had a read crazy insurance agreements between like maybe like, say, like, the French Embassy in Atlanta and their contract with whatever, or or of that nature, and it would be like, anything that you could possibly think of like, Civil War, you know, political terrorist, like it's so crazy how many things are listed in this country? Anyway, I digress. So yeah, alien invasion. It's crazy. But I will say like, I want to talk more about where does the money go? Because clients that are not in the whole event world, they, they don't understand. And this is one reason why now if we do events, 99% of the people that we actually do it for they're entrepreneurs, they own their own business, so they get it, where we don't even have to have that conversation of will do I get my money back if we just decide not to have it. And we actually had that conversation with a few corporate clients when actually the pandemic started. And it's so funny because we thought the world was gonna be shut down for like, two weeks.
That's it. The other day, I like pulled up a an old vlog and I'm like, I, I vlog all the time. But I don't do anything with it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don't. This time I did. So I'm like, Okay, today was exactly a year from where the world shut down. It's just like, let's see where we are now, kind of thing. But we learned so much. If you are open to like learning and changing and pivoting, like it's not a bad thing. It like helps us grow more, at least from a business perspective. But we have clients that said, I just I don't we don't know, we there's too many unknowns. We just we don't want to do it. We don't want to move it. I'm like, that's fine. You're not going to get your money back. I just want you to understand that. I mean, every place that we talked to, that was the consensus because that money is holding business a date that they could have sold to someone else. And so you know, I'm constantly having to educate people. It's like we're not trying to be jerks, but that money is gone. If you don't want to have it and we
had multiple people that just said, let's just cancel, we'll cut our ties. And we didn't really have too many problems with it. And then we had other people that said, Well, can we get our money back for the food and beverage deposit, so that we can take that and like, build out a digital event? And I'm like, well, that really doesn't help the food and beverage department at that hotel. So no, it's not gonna work like that. But it's just constantly educating people because they don't know what they don't know. And sometimes people get pissed, and they get heated, because they just don't understand. So we've had to learn, like, keep our cool and educate and state the facts and educate them. But I will say, though, the people that have said, Let's reschedule the venues and the hotels and places they've been very accommodating, and very gracious, with the the government and the CDC saying, like, you cannot do this, you cannot do this. But guys, you have to remember, even though when you're planning an event, or a wedding, and it's fun, and it's like an emotional thing, behind the emotion is a business. And people have to run a business. And it's not that like, we're heartless, or we don't care. But there has to be that business aspect. And when you don't have it in writing, and the emotions take over, then it's just, it's a hotter mess, bigger mess. So that's why I'm like, What does the contract say? And then my team's like, with the contract actually doesn't really address this. I'm like, Okay, well, let's get on this. Let's talk it through, don't do it through an email, like get on the phone, schedule a call and talk it through. So it may be able to be a win win situation for both parties. You don't know, I would say that anecdotally. The fact that you pick up the phone and and be Angela for mountain Juliet and try to work through these problems. Probably Did you? Well, I think that like if if you're saying that, Rob, we you know, we've managed to Okay, except for maybe a couple spots, you're doing pretty good. And I would say that it comes back to that like trying to meet somebody, I educate them. Let them know, like, this is what the you know, this is what's going on, I think that probably served you very well. Because I've got some thoughts of like, well, I lost all my business, because I sent out 15, you know, heated emails or blah, blah, blah, but yeah, no, that's that's really good. Let me just say this. Let me throw that let me throw a chair on top of this part of the conversation. Yeah, is that I want to want to make sure that everybody out there understands that a contract or an event that can't go forward, for reasons beyond the control of the parties, and how the money is handled, is separate. And apart from how the money is handled, if the event doesn't go forward for reasons within the party's control. So everybody out there is like, Well, my my payment is non refundable. It might be but that doesn't, that's that typically, depending on what jurisdiction you're in, does it come into play, if it's a pandemic, it comes into play if the bride is cheating on the groom or vice versa. Okay. That's what the non refundable portion is for. So I just want to clear that the best practices is to make sure that your contract addresses both circumstances at this point. And because of COVID, it needs to address the cancellation for reasons beyond the control in greater greater detail. So anyway, yeah. And the other thing, too, that I will add is that
almost everything that we've decided, Okay, we're going to move forward, we're going to reschedule, we asked for an addendum. And we signed it, client signed it, venues vendors signed it. And I know some of my creative clients that are creative, like me. And we're like, why do we need to do this like was just more like to do. But again, as a business owner, and then being caught before, completely off guard, like not knowing what you don't know, I'm like, Listen, this is to protect you, as much as it is to protect the venue or the vendor. So instead of having the mindset of contracts are, you know, so stuffy, and like, we got to have it like, and it's like, well
as the client like you're protected to so like that should be good thing. I mean, right?
I would say that by way of analogy, Angela. It's kind of like if you and your client are playing Monopoly, and it's like, well, I landed on free parking, I get $500 it's like, No, you don't. That's not how free parking works. The contract is when you flip the top of the board upside down and read the rules. Like this is what we've agreed This is how we've agreed to play Monopoly. Let's say anything about getting 500
dollars at free, free free lead on free parking is just a free space that you land on. So in that way the contract acts as just like this memorializes, or this is something that's better than our memories about what we can expect our interactions to be like and what we can expect our obligations towards each other, moving towards this event. That's kind of the contract. So yeah, hopefully your contract isn't stuffy. And you can understand it and read it. But that's basically what it's there for. It's the rules of the road, and memorializes the obligation so that, you know, you're not relying on your fault or memory of like, No, you said that we were going to have, you know, 200 people, and we were, you know, blah, blah, blah. So, anyway, Yes, exactly. Right. It's really funny how I mean, it's actually not funny, but looking back and some of the situations how people somehow be, it's like, they get amnesia. And they forget that, oh, a years gone by, and you said this, and we said this. And then you go back to the contracts, we have everything in the clients Dropbox, and it's like, well refer to Dropbox. And it's, it's crazy to me how people interpret things differently. And so again, that's where you go back to the contract and say, Well, this is what we agreed on. I'm sorry, if you misinterpreted what was said. But this is where if you as a creative, don't want to sit down and go through a contract with your client, then you have a team member do it for you, or you have someone and we we have learned again the hard way, when people say, Well, I didn't know that I had to pay a percentage of that. And it's like, well, it's in your contract. And so we've added, so any feedback that we ever get where people are like complaining, or there's like miscommunication or misunderstanding, I'm like, let's just put a little line, and we're verbally going to say it, it's in writing, I even make a video about it. Now I'm like, this is what your contract means. And so I don't care how you learn, we are delivering the information to you and all those forms. If you choose not to listen, or ask questions to clarify what the hell it means that's on you. And I don't know what to tell you. But like that's what the contract says no, that's that's a smart way to do it. Sometimes I have clients that are like, well, I want them I make them initial after every paragraph or whatever. But typically, and again, it's it's so funny how states are different and regions are different. But typically in a set in the southern states, there's an automatic default duty to read. And if you if there's something Why didn't see that it said this, that's on you. Now there are some jurisdictions where, depending on the size of the contract, if you're sending somebody 10 or 15 pages, and something's in small font, and it's not conspicuous, but it's material, then there are
rules and applications of the law that would get you out of that contract. But by and large in the wedding and event industry, you know, if you're dealing with the regular sized contract, you're not you're not having to deal with that rule of it having to be more conspicuous. But you're right, the safe thing to do is to educate the client videos, conversations. Do you have any questions about my contract? let's address it now. Like initial hear those are on the spectrum? On the safer side? Absolutely. Yeah, I mean, bottom line, guys, listen, just communicate, like be a good communicator. And if you don't understand something, you can always go to YouTube. Listen to Rob's channel.
Or, or like ask somebody and it's it's worth its weight in gold to invest a little bit upfront on your in your, for your contract for your business, to make sure that you're doing the right thing, because you never want to be caught off guard. Like it's super uncomfortable. I mean, there were nights where I didn't sleep because I'm like, Did I really do something wrong? Or was it negligence on my part because I wasn't paying attention? Like, what could I do better to make sure that or could I've done something differently to avoid this whole situation and usually it is my freakin fall and just take accountability and learn from it. Just don't do it again. So I have one more question for you since you've gotten into like YouTube and videos, and we both likes to do video and have YouTube channels but
I've we've been working with a lot more clients now that and everyone listening we all are creating content. So for example, I'll hire a video crew to go and get B roll of like Nashville or Cabo or wherever we're at, for a client for B roll for a client's videos for their content. So in the contract, and this recently came up, he's
Like, will I own the B roll, but I'm going to insert it in because usually I'm going to get B roll of like all of Nashville, and then this part of Cabo, and then I'm gonna, I'm going to use that. So I need you to initial that, like, Is that okay? Like, I don't really care. If you use the scale out of Nashville in five different videos for content, like, I don't really care. But then a client actually asked me that, like, is that my B roll? Like, can I take that B roll and do what I want to do with it? Like, will I own the rights to all that footage that I'm paying for? And I'm like, well, that's something that we need to talk about that with, with the video crew, you know, whoever's capturing that. And then in the back of my head, I'm like, shit, I'm gonna have to go by video camera to
yourself, right. So like, in this instance, if you are paying somebody to either give you video, or photos, it's the same concept, you need to understand what rights you have. Because just because you paid money doesn't mean that they've what's called assign their copyright to you, meaning that you are now considered the person that took the photo, or took the video. So for you, Angela, you want to make sure that the contract that you're signing with them, especially if it's costing me a lot of money, is to make sure that you are the one that owns the full copyright in the that videographer needs to come to you for a license to use the Nashville skyline in his or her videos. But if it's not like that, and somebody comes along to you, it's like angele love that video, can I use that, depending on the license that you have with your videographer, you might not be able to give that permission to them, they might have to actually go to the videographer, it's kind of like a weird, you know, because you own the copyright in your you're kind of lending a piece of the right to somebody else. And it doesn't mean that the person that's given that piece has the whole thing. So you're that piece might not be able to allow you to give a little piece of that breaking them off a piece to somebody else. So yeah, make sure that you understand if you're getting a license, and what's the scope of the license? Or if you're getting full copyright in whatever it is that you're doing.
Yeah, I kind of learned that the hard way too. So. And I mean, if you've been following me for a while, you know this, but when I first started doing video, like I dated the guy that owned the company for years, and then guess what it's like a bad marriage when you break up. And then it's like, well, whose footage? Is This Really?
The same thing? Because I mean, obviously I broke up with the wedding photographer a decade ago, right? Because now you're married. Yeah. So like I had to take everything down. But you're right. And
in, because we have haven't touched on this. But if I have an upcoming well, it'll it'll be out by the time this is published. But I have a video addressing music as well. Oh, God, that's a whole nother thing, y'all. So it's the same concept if you're using music, especially, or
in marketing, but also, if you're a DJ, if you're a videographer, or if you're a venue, if music is played at your venue, if it's in your video, or if it's you know, you're using it as you're performing. There are copyright issues at play in that and I have a new video with a really talented attorney, we go toe to toe on that. So to the extent that you want to talk about music, check out that video. That's a whole nother ballgame. Like I could talk about that too. And again, we learn the hard way. Now there are a few websites that we have subscriptions to where we'll go and like, buy the sounds and you know, buy the little jingles. But it's crazy to me because on the phone, which is a whole different conversation about like the TIC tocs and using the music and all that. But my phone has said like hey, you can donate like to someone and like use the sound or the jingle or whatever it's called. And so like, it's like 99 cent jhol. It's like nothing. And then or you can get a subscription, but then I'll go put it on Instagram or put it somewhere and then it will mute my music because it's like copyrighted material. And I'm like, wait a minute. I just paid for it. Paying $1 to be able to use it on Tick Tock. That's the license that you you've been granted. For one platform. Correct? I'm assuming, but that's why that's y'all This is what you need to read the fun for it. Always be that fine print. Like even with me, like I try to run a tight ship. So like any music that I use on my videos or about podcasts. I've either I grew up with a guy that made it and I have a license from him or just make it myself because I had the ability to do that. But like, I don't even fool with that because I'm yeah, even as an attorney, I'm a man. I don't want to get the thing on my door and they mess up my windows and I got to go downtown the courthouse. I don't want to
If I'm going to be the party to the lawsuit, that's right, you were in a band. So you can just like make your own music. But for those of us who are not musically inclined, like you're not visually inclined, so like I can't my website looks like crap. And like, my videos are terrible, but like, the music is good.
It's all about the music as music feeds the soul. This is so much fun. It was so much fun to catch up with you if people want to find you. What's your like? Is your favorite platform now YouTube? Like where would you like for people to connect? I think they go into YouTube typing in wedding industry law on YouTube because I don't think I have a direct URL yet. Wedding and she'll on YouTube. I'll be there at wedding lawyer on Instagram and I'm at wedding lawyer on clubhouse. That's where
we are. We haven't talked about clubhouse too much. I've been on it a few times. But I'm like, it's another thing. Dude, it's like it's blown up, dude. Like, it's crazy. That's crazy. You got to get on there. It's good stuff. I'm just so much more like a video person. And then I'm like, already have a podcast with audio. There is one guy was on his podcast the other day and he had a fancy board. And he's like, and we're broadcasting live on pod
clubhouse too. And I'm like, Oh, I need to get that board. So you know, you can just like do it once and then it goes everywhere. So that's coming this coming. So everybody listening. Thank you so much for listening. Or if you're watching, thank you so much for watching. And be sure to tune in next week to another episode of business unveiled by y'all.
That's it for this week's episode of business unveiled. Now that you have all the tools that you need to conquer the world and GSD get shit done. Would you share this with your friends and fellow business leaders? One thing that would really really help us and help new listeners is for you to rate the show. And leave a comment and Apple podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you tune in and listen to business unveiled. You can check out the show notes at Angela proffitt.com slash podcast and link up with us on social media so you can share your biggest insights. And I want to know your aha moments. Until next week, remember the profitable shifts and structures you're creating in your business help you be more present in your life. So get out there and GSD

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Published: June 29, 2021

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