University of Western Australia Law professor Camilla Baasch Andersen has helped businesspeople draft legally binding contracts that take the form of simple comic-strips, arguing that their simplicity not only promotes understanding, but also insulates companies from the risk of courts finding their contracts unenforceable because they were too confusing (an Australian court has forced insurers Suncorp and Allianz to refund AUD60m paid for insurance that was of "little or no value," but which Australians purchased thanks to confusing fine-print that made it hard to assess).
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Chicago-based design firm Segura has streamlined their contract. The result is a simple, but effective, agreement that leaves out all pretentious jargon.
Here are their terms and conditions:
You give me money, I’ll give you creative.
I’ll start when the check clears.
Time is money. More time is more money.
I’ll listen to you. You listen to me.
You tell me what you want, I’ll tell you what you need.
You want me to be on time, I want you to be on time.
What you use is yours, what you don’t is mine.
I can’t give you stuff I don’t own.
I’ll try not to be an ass, you should do the same.
If you want something that’s been done before, use that.
If you want your way, you have to pay.
If you don’t pay, I have final say.
Let’s create something great together."
In case you're wondering about the legality of this, Basecamp's Founder and CEO Jason Fried remarks
For those who will be quick to point out legal holes or missing protections, there are many ways to do business. One way is working with clients you trust — people who appreciate this approach to work. And if you guessed wrong, and someone fucks you, rather than pursuing legal remedies which cost even more time, money, and hassle, there’s an alternative: Take your losses, wash your hands, and don’t work with them again.
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I keep having to sign contracts where I waive all rights "throughout the universe." Lately, I've been crossing out "universe" and writing in "solar system."
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Facebook entered into evidence what it says is the original contract between founder Mark Zuckerberg and Paul Ceglia
, who is suing the company for part-ownership. Unlike the version produced by Ceglia, identifying him as part-owner of "The Face Book", this version has no mention of the company at all. The "original" coding contract was recovered from Ceglia's own computer by forensic specialists; Facebook says he tried to keep it out of the lawsuit by claiming attorney-client privilege. [Wired] Read the rest