The long-awaited day came on Friday — the text of the contracts that will govern American Zudaidol hit the web and a bunch of people started carefully parsing them. They are, as Ron Perazza promised, up before the initially-announced October date, and in reasonable plain language. I was thrilled by the lack of terms like “estoppel” and “thereunto” and “party of the first part”, but I’m getting slightly ahead of myself. There are three contracts; if you’re thinking of submitting to Zuda you need to pay attention to at least one of them immediately — the other two can wait until you decide if the first contains any dealbreakers.
It explains, among other things, the conditions under which you can submit your work, the rules by which we can read and evaluate it and details about the competitions we plan to run. Everyone wishing to submit a comic to Zuda must read and agree to this agreement. If you don’t agree with it you should not submit your work.
covers the rights that you have as a creator and that we have as the publisher and all of the various conditions and considerations that might arise from that working relationship: including things like what kind of royalties you get for different products and publications, copyright and trademark issues and how your property can revert entirely back to you.
and the Services Agreement:
covers the consideration for actual work that is done â€” things like the page rate for the artwork and additional royalties you’re due as the artist.
As you might imagine, this is a huge moment for the whole Zudaexperiment; in their favor is the fact that Zuda is making the contracts (including what terms you’re working under if they choose you) up front. To my knowledge, this has not been the case with other publication competitions to date. With Zuda, there will be no moment where you’re told, “Okay, you’ve won, but you get nothing unless you sign these additional contracts and agree to these terms and no, you don’t get adequate time to absorb them.”
The potentially very bad news is the contracts themselves. Because this is such a big topic and I continue to analyze these things (and may I remind you all that I Am Not A Lawyer), we’ll be breaking up the analysis.
The next few days will be the first pass — my first-impression notes of each contract as I read them, immediate visceral reactions. After that we’ll present the in-depth analysis and hopefully present some analyses from others to make this a full discussion. Somewhere in there, we’ll try to have at least some non-Zudacontent, because any sane person will have to take a break from it sometimes. Strap yourself in, kiddies, this one’s gonna be bumpy.