Ed Greenberg’s Top 10 List of Legal Blunders

Mon 02nd Feb, 2009

Posted by Staff in Business Advice

My Top 10 list of things experienced photographers insist upon doing (or not), despite logic, law, money, advice and screaming:

  1. Finding preposterous excuses not to obtain a model release and following through on their specious notions only to later say, "oops! I thought that..." ;
  2. Use of abysmal paperwork or none at all;
  3. Failure to register work;
  4. Treating clients and prospective clients as if they are buddies and pals who share your self-interest;
  5. Waiting, waiting, waiting and letting clients stall you about why they are not paying you;
  6. Assuming that a client's filing seeking protection from creditors via a bankruptcy court means that you are without remedy and S O L;
  7. Assuming and accepting that if you are told something is "standard", it is, and can not be negotiated or changed;
  8. Starting any sentence by saying, "I never thought this could happen. I have been in the business X years and nothing like this has ever...";
  9. Failing to read the copyright stuff on EP because it might serve to educate. After all its a waste of time even though its FREE!. The time you take reading could be better used watching "E" Showbiz Tonight!;
  10. Taking all definitive professional advice from government employees, photographers or reps - never from lawyers or accountants.
  11. The list will be the same next year. I know this because it is the same every year. Forgive me, but it is enormously frustrating to have prospective clients fail to follow the above rules which mean that I can't sue people, make money and keep my wife happy by buying her stuff. Oh yeah, neither can the photographers.

I have over the years threatened some of my clients with telling their spouse the details of their business screw ups. Confidentiality prevents me, but the temptation is great. The threat of spousal knowledge and reprisal is the only effective teaching technique.

Frustrated I remain,
Edward Greenberg, PC

(Edward Greenberg is an attorney specializing in Intellectual Property based in New York City.)

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