What is the Overall Vision for the Project? What is the Expected Level of Collaboration? Will Everyone Receive Attribution? What Happens if Someone Leaves the Project?
Regardless of what expectations collaborators have, issues can, and often do arise. By planning ahead, many issues can be avoided entirely, or handled swiftly.
Consider the following prior to exchanging ideas or beginning to collaborate on any project.
1. Overall vision for the project
You need to have a goal both individually and as a collective group.
- What is the purpose of the project? Is it a novel, a how to, an outline, a comic book...?
- This is the foundation of your project and therefore must be solid and agreed upon.
2. Level of Collaboration
What does the word 'collaboration' mean?
- It is important for everyone to have the same understanding of what collaboration means.
- The amount and type of collaboration can vary based on the scope of the project and the parties involved.
3. Who is an Editor and is there a Defined Style and Format?
There must be a designated person to make the final call on format and content decisions.
- Diversity in opinions, experiences, and levels of expertise can be valuable assets to a project.
- Account for co-collaborators that may be unwilling to accept feedback, or who feel like their portion of the work is being taken over.
4. Will each collaborator receive Attribution and how so?
Attribution is not a right granted to creators in the Copyright Act.
- Will all collaborators receive credit in name for any derivative work?
- What if they are not involved in development of the derivitative work?
5. What happens if any collaborators leave the project?
Leaving the project does not erase a departing collaborator's copyright in the content.
- Without a signed agreement, the Copyright Act's defaults will apply.
- Does a departing collaborator retain any or all of their ownership interest or rights in the copyright?
- Is there a difference in the rights of a collaborator that leaves voluntarily versus if they are asked to leave the project?
6. who is the point person for dealing with attorneys, publishers, and other such concerns?
It must be clear who has the right and the responsibilities to conduct certain business activities related to the collaboration.
- Who is going to register copyrights and trademarks?
- Who is required to be copied on all correspondence or consulted with on these matters?
what are you waiting for?
While the above issues are best addressed before work has begun, it is never too late, or too soon, to address prior, current, or future concerns.