SWA's full-time Legal Officer is available to answer queries of its members and offer legal advice and guidance for contracts and Copyright related issues. This service is free of charge. SWA Members can also meet our Legal Officer by taking an appointment.
(Appointment timings: 3.00 -6.00 PM, Monday to Friday).
Ms. Shirvaikar is a graduate from the Symbiosis Law School, Pune (BBA.L.L.B course). Her area of specialization being Intellectual Property Law and Media & Entertainment Law; she has previously worked at the legal departments of renowned production houses such as Red Chillies Entertainments and Yash Raj Films, as well as the IP departments of law firms like Khaitan and Co., TMT Law Practice, W.S. Kane & Co., and Banana IP Counsels.
Request the producer to enter into an agreement with you for assignment of copyright in your script. Do ensure that the agreement is in conformity with the basic terms and conditions as stated in these FAQs.
If the producer is unable to enter into a full-fledged agreement at the moment, request the Producer to at least enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with you for a copyright assignment/license in your script before you work on any modifications suggested by the producer. An MoU is a preliminary document crystallizing the intention of the parties to enter into a Long Form Agreement at a later date. Please note that an MoU is not sufficient by itself and is only an understanding between the parties of the basic terms and conditions of their deal. Do not sign the MoU or any other legal document to that effect without reading and thoroughly understanding it and preferably having it examined by a lawyer.
An agreement forms a legal relationship between the parties where one party promises to deliver the goods/services (which, in your case, is the script/screenplay) and the other party promises to pay a valuable consideration for the goods/services in return. When such a legal promise is entered into, the breach of such promise (by either party) would naturally attract a penalty in the form of damages. The party breaching the promise has to compensate the party who suffered a loss (monetary or otherwise). Avoiding a contract or non-performance of a contract amounts to a breach and would entitle the producer for compensation from you for the losses suffered due to your breach.
The amount for compensation for such losses would vary from case to case and would solely depend upon the contract you have entered into.
While the SWA’s Legal Officer can certainly guide and advise its members on an existing contract, the services of drafting a contract for the writers do not fall in the dominion of the services of Legal Officer. However, we do have a database of competent advocates who can offer these services to you either for free or for a subsidized cost. Drop us an email.