19 November, 2010

Read That Amazon Studios Contract Carefully, Kids


"The best deal for creators, therefore, is to create your own original script or film and submit it — however, to do so gives Amazon Studios a free 18-month option on your content: “For 18 months after you create a project at Amazon Studios, you cannot display, sell or license your script elsewhere, or withdraw it for any reason,” the contract synopsis reads. They might buy the rights to your script or film for $200,000, but there’s no guarantee of that.

A commenter on the Amazon Studios forum points out that:

“Amazon wants to option scripts for free. The problem here is 18 months of exclusivity… for free. Normally options are paid. Writers do not give anyone exclusive rights to anything for free. TOS needs to change ASAP. I was really exited about amazon studio [sic] and this is a ridiculous term is in the fine print. No serious writer would should consider giving away exclusive rights for free.”

Read article in full


NR said...

Yes when I read that I took a step back but here is what a couple of friends had to say about it.

Friend 1 "This is actually BETTER than any deal you'll get with a producer (if you can get a producer). Many will make you sign a 7-year exclusivity, and you are ALWAYS blocked from doing anything else with it. And yes, they will also be making revis...ions to your work - with or without your approval. This is what I went through with ********, and so in actual fact, this is immediately more appealing. If this same deal was offered by a producer and not a big corporate, I'd snap their hand off. That's the way you have to look at it. Truth is, Amazon are getting smart by creating and distributing product, all with a certain level of quality control. If you want complete, total independence, self-funding is the only way."

and another from a different angle:

"Sounds pretty cool Neil. It sound similar to Open Source in software programming, which has been a huge success over the last 10 years or so. I've heard of similar ideas in Music and other forms of literature but have no idea how successful they have been."

I'm still not convinced.

Robin Kelly said...

I'm also not convinced. I can see its use as a last resort but not as a first resort.

Bad producers make you sign 7 year exclusivity (unless they're paying you a fair price for it) and bad producers don't allow you at least a couple of drafts to fix problems yourself.

And, as John August pointed out, open source in programming works as its about facts but films are about artistic choices.