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Zuda Contracts Now Available

Zuda Comics, a website service of DC Comics, has finally posted their contracts. There are three of them:

  • the Submission Agreement (for anyone whose art appears at Zuda),
  • the Rights Agreement (which details the rights of creators who have "won" the Zuda contest and will be having their work published),
  • and the Services Agreement (also for winning creators, except this covers the "consideration" that a creator will receive for their efforts).

[XEREXES: T Campbell had a few thoughts on this at his blog. And Joey Manley makes the good point of getting legal advice before submitting to Zuda. He also links to the NY chapter of Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts who do indeed provide cheap to free legal advice to artists. There are Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts chapters all over the country actually - here's a listing of many. Lastly, Gary Tyrrell links to the Zuda contracts and then offers some comments on the Submission Agreement.]

Re: Zuda Contracts

I'd have to agree with Oddjobs. The Rights Agreement is little more than a standard work-for-hire agreement. You get paid and, in return, Zuda gets all material rights and control.

The reversion rights are something of a red herring since they only apply in the case of non-payment and can be very cheaply avoided by Zuda.

This doesn't mean it's necessarily a bad contract. Like the much maligned Platinum contract, it will suit some and not others. If you're looking for a creator-owned deal, though, then this probably isn't it.

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Broken Voice Comics
Because comics are not just for kids

Re: Zuda Contracts Now Available

Tim Broderick's picture

Here's my comment to Joey Manley's post over at talkaboutcomics

Joey, I’ll go even farther. Comics community, you are better than this.

Look, that $1,000 is not an advance - what gets paid in anticipation of sales. From what I can tell, that’s the purchase price, for all rights, for all media for the duration of the copyright.

I’d be pretty happy with a $1,000 advance for a print book - and only a print book, and only for a far more limited time. But for ownership of additional rights? Film? TV? Holy cow, that’s the payday! I mean, it’s fine for a publisher to acquire interests in those rights - for a limited time and percentage. But not ownership for the length of the copyright! Not for $1,000!

I’ve said it before: There is a difference between being a publisher and a property owner.

This Zuda contract is about accumulating property at very little risk. That they’re honest about it is good, but that doesn’t make it a good deal. It’s likely the submissions they accept are ones where they calculate they’ll recoup their relatively small initial investment. That’s fine, that’s business. They’re free to do that, they should be commended for being so open about it and any creator who takes the deal should know what they’re getting into.

But I recommend trying to find a publisher for your work before settling for a property owner.

Comics publishers in this country are not going to change until their supply of product is challenged - until they have to compete for the right to publish creators with other publishers. But if creators limit themselves to comics publishers, then they’re limiting the pool of potential publishers - and there’s a glut of people who want to work for them.

If your work is good enough, you don’t have to settle for such a deal. You can find other venues for your work - traditional publishers are looking seriously at graphic novels. I have such a deal - my book is coming out in January.

If I can do it, so can you.