The ultimate guide to paperwork for your creative business

Do you work in advertising, marketing, architecture, the performing arts, R&D, publishing, software, design, video games or TV and radio?

All creative industries share a common critical need: protecting their assets. In your creative work, how can you ensure that there is clarity on who owns the rights to what is produced? Signeasy highlights how Electronic Signatures help your creative business flourish.


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Whether you own a large business, are employed, or run a one person show, there is always a need to sign on the dotted line.

Creative business made simpler

The beauty of the creative industry is that it has always been a trailblazer of innovation and advancement. So it’s a surprise that media agencies still hand out clipboards with paper release forms, and architects sit with piles of physical files on their desks.

There is nothing worse than waiting on set for a runner to return from a local print shop with copies of the model release agreements, all because your office printer jammed at the final hour.

Do you want to lose out on a potential job just because the essential paperwork isn’t provided? It’s incredibly easy to switch over to a paperless solution and get your important documents signed electronically and securely.

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Almost every creative business leader now carries their smartphone with them everywhere they go. Why not use them smartly?

With Signeasy, contracts for the creative business can be signed in-person and also remotely. Even if you don’t have an internet connection, you can still ensure all your documentation is up to date.

It takes just a few minutes to set up your Signeasy account, and the first 14 days are entirely free and. Once you’re set up, you can create reusable and shareable templates that will help you do business more efficiently.

Here’s just a few of the most popular use cases of how you can use Electronic Signatures whether you’re at a desk or on the move.

Electronically signed non-disclosure agreements

In order to get the job done, you may need to share confidential information with another organization or individual. Protect yourself and your creative assets by imposing restrictions and highlighting the value of the information you are sharing.

That’s where the Non-Disclosure Agreement, or NDA, comes in.

NDAs help you define the confidential information,  what it can be used for, and who is able to access the information. This could include patents, designs, client information, storylines, or even just an idea.

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You will also need to include the timespan dictating how long the information can be expose, and also any disclosures that are required by the governing law, such as criminal or illegal activity.

If you don’t have time to create a full NDA, or just need to update an existing one, then draw up a short Letter of Confidentiality that can be self-signed by you or the relevant party.

Make life easy for yourself by uploading an NDA template on your own Signeasy dashboard that you can send off to a new individual or organization with just a few clicks of a button. This is ideal if you need to send NDAs out on a regular basis.

Signeasy will keep reminding the signee to complete the form and will inform you once they do.

Top Tip: Store your electronically signed forms in a safe and easily accessible system. You can integrate the Signeasy system with third party apps such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and Box, so that they are all filed away correctly, just the way you like it!

Electronically signed contracts

Contracts are essential documents, that detail, in plain black-and-white, the full range of expectations for the business relationship.

Not only is it the ethical way to do business, but both parties are protecting themselves should the relationship disintegrate.

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Contracts are common sense

Whether you are self-employed, have an in-house team, or tend to outsource most of your labor, be sure to get those contracts signed. Highlight all the roles, responsibilities and rights of each party.

Top Tip: It is always good practice to ensure that signees receive a copy of any completed and signed forms. You can easily share copies via email using the Signeasy system.

Electronically signed IPR agreements

An Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) agreement is a critical piece of documentation in the creative business industry because it refers to ‘intangible creations of the human intellect’.

What is IPR?

Intellectual Property is divided into:

  • Industrial IPs, which  include patents for inventions, industrial designs, symbols and trademarks and,
  • Copyright IPs, such as literary works like novels and scripts, music, any artistic works, and architectural design.

An IPR agreement highlights who owns the rights to any new creations for a specific period of time.

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Intellectual Property infringement frequently comes into the media limelight over major competitor disputes.

But most of the time, IP legal cases arise when creative partners who wish to split and have uncertainty as to who created the works and owns the rights.

When individuals aren’t clear at from the very beginning, it can become incredibly hazy from a legal perspective at a later date.

Sign your IPR agreements electronically at the earliest opportunity!

Top Tip: Any forms should always be completed and signed before the work or production begins, as legal forms only take effect once they are signed.

Electronically signed liability waiver forms

Creative individuals are often required to waiver liability when working for others.

This is a legal form that is signed by a subject to grant permission to publish and use works  for promotional reasons or for commercial gain.

Signeasy adheres to all international and federal Electronic Signature laws, including the ESIGN Act and eIDAS.

Fact: Electronic Signatures are legally binding contracts, made all the more trustworthy than handwritten signatures, with their clear audit trail and secure SSL encryption.

A copyright release form is such an example of a liability waiver form.

This comes into play when you need exclusive and sole use of content by a freelance writer you have engaged, or photos and illustrations from a photographer or designer you have seen online and wish to use.

A copyright release form should highlight any compensation received, whether it is an upfront fee, through royalties, or simply an attribution. Regardless of whether money has exchanged hands, you still need to ensure permission has been granted and that you hold all the relevant rights. The copyright release form should include clauses on whether the party has the right to modify and adapt creative assets and use them for commercial gain.

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One of the most popular forms in the creative business industry is the model release form, in which models transfer rights to all images as a result of being photographed or filmed.

Creative business is always on the go!

Before you start that next big project, make sure that all of the required forms are signed in advance via email from a reusable, shareable template on the Signeasy dashboard.

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Creative Business Electronic signatures

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These are just a few ways creatives are using Electronic Signatures. Do you know of any more?

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Once  Electronic Signatures start being used in the creative business industry, we’re sure the days of clipboards and flying sheets of paper will be long forgotten.

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Images courtesy of Pixabay under Creative Commons CC0

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