A friend of mine recently discovered the importance of reading and understanding documents before signing them. Unfortunately, she learned the VERY hard way. Let’s call her Marian.
Marian wrote a screenplay. Then, without reading and/or understanding the piece of paper she was asked to sign, Marian signed away her rights. The document she signed was an assignment agreement. Unlike a license, an assignment gives away ALL of your rights in a particular property. Unbeknownst to Marian, she accidentally and completely transferred the rights to her work over to her new agent and business partner, who immediately registered it with the US Copyright Office. By the time Marian realized what had happened, it was too late. Marian’s agent and business partner was unwilling to sign over the rights back to her, leaving her with few options—an expensive legal remedy being one of them.
You might be thinking, why didn’t I help my friend and tell her not to sign it before reading it. And my reply is, I did. But she chose to do what she wanted to do and ignored my counsel. One thing I have learned is when it comes to friends and legal issues, I tread lightly. We are all adults, and you can take a thirsty adult to water, but you cannot force them to drink it. My clients pay for legal advice and most of them take it. Not so much with my friends.
Sometimes we have to make poor choices in order to learn the hard lessons.
Do you learn from your mistakes? If not, why not? What does it take to get you to drink clean, fresh, sparkling water when you are thirsty?
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