BAD Freelance Contracts

by ryan

Learn to Say “NO” to BAD Freelance Contracts


As a freelance illustrator, I still remember the excitement I got from getting commissions from well-known magazines when I first started my freelance business. Here’s what I didn’t know…

Some magazines are owned by large corporations. The larger the company, the more rights they will usually want from you.

For example, rights to republish your work in their other magazines for just a small fraction of the cost or for free.

I don’t necessarily view these companies as bad… They simply have A LOT of freelancers and images to deal with, so it’s easier if they get all the rights to protect themselves from future misuses.

Therefore, before accepting any work, be sure to request for the contract and review it carefully.

The important thing to remember is to not be intimidated. I usually highlight clauses that I don’t agree with in the contracts and request for a revision. The person you are interacting with usually has nothing to do with the contract (they are just doing their job). If you are nice about it, they will usually help you out.

My experience is that there is usually a ‘second’ contract that they give out to illustrators who know better.

And if there is no second contract and the other party refuses to make any changes.. be prepare to say “no” because you deserve better.

Of course, Not all large companies run this way. I’ve worked with many large circulation magazines that are extremely fair and never request for more images rights than they need.

I hope you find this article helpful. Feel free to share your experiences with bad contacts below and how you deal with them.

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