Youtube Lawyer Insights – MCN Contract Review
If you are a Youtube video star and you entered into a MCN (Multi Channel Network agreement) with a private company that is, or has offered you the world, BEFORE you sign that agreement you should have an Internet & Youtube Lawyer review your contract and carefully explain to you what EVERY CLAUSE MEANS. In most cases you are giving up certain rights that you need to be 100% aware of as this could affect the growth and success of your video channel, and could affect you where it counts – YOUR POCKETBOOK!
What is a MCN agreement?
A MCN agreement is between the video content creator / video producer who runs a Youtube channel and monetizes their digital content. A third party company may see the success you are having and want to partner with you to help you build your channel and share in ad revenue. Some of the typical services you might be offered are:
1. Access to royalty free content
2. Services to help make you the X-factor in your niche
3. Video production and editing services
4. Co-branding and sponsorship agreements
5. Audience development tricks
6. Social media marketing and distribution of videos
7. Channel optimization & expansion
8. If you have a huge fan count and subscriber levels, you may also be offered an initial signing bonus
There are a wide variety of companies and packages in this service space, and some people have told me these companies can be more ruthless than record labels in the music industry. So while their offers may seem attractive, these are contracts that could bind you and your Youtube channel for one or more years, and there may also be some impact on your intellectual property rights. Thus, it cannot be over-emphasized that THESE ARE THE TYPES OF CONTRACTS YOU WANT REVIEWED BY A YOUTUBE LAWYER BEFORE YOU SIGN THE AGREEMENT. Put another way, this is money well spent.
What types of benefits to Multi Channel Networks provide?
In short, a MCN network can help you grow you Youtube or Vimeo channel, and can help increase ad revenue, which they will want a part of for providing their services listed above.
Grounds to break the MCN services contract
If you find yourself in a MCN agreement that is not being honored, or not working, or you just feel “stuck” with the wrong company, we can help evaluate potential grounds to cancel or break the contract. Some common grounds to try to invalidate an agreement are:
1. Fraud in the inducement of the contract (any false statement that was made to induce you to sign the contract).
2. Contract was signed under duress
3. Contract of adhesion (contract was presented as a “take it or leave it” and has harsh one-sided terms).
4. You lacked capacity to enter into the agreement (ex. both parties were drunk signing the contract out at a dinner party or club)
5. Mutual mistake of fact as to essential contract terms
6. Contract was unconscionable
These are just some of the grounds we can look at. Obviously, every case is examined as to its own set of facts and different legal theories and defenses may apply.
Other Youtube and Vimeo related legal services
Here are some other legal services we provide in the area of digital video law:
1. Copyright protection for your videos
2. Trademark slogans used in your videos
3. Copyright clearance (for film and music, and publicity rights)
4. First amendment / fair use / parody analysis
5. Channel Syndication
6. Character infringement (ex. for cartoonist)
7. Dealing with Youtube channel take down notices
8. DMCA notices
9. Cease and desist letters
10. Arbitration, mediation and litigation (state and federal courts)
Contact The Video Lawyer
If you need help dealing with a Youtube issue, or reviewing an MCN network services agreement, contact us at (877) 276-5084. We have extensive experience in business and internet law and dealing with intellectual property issues such as copyright and trademark. There is no cost for the initial consultation.
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