Legal Help: What Options are There for Creators?

You may have started posting online as a passion, but now that you’re generating revenue and making deals with brands, you may be wondering about contracts, IP, and other legal questions. 

In a manner of speaking, creators are producers of intellectual property. Usage rights, licensing, and trademarks are concepts to protect created entities, but when it comes to the creator economy, these concepts are not set in stone, and different parties organize legal aspects in different ways. Some creators don’t even protect their work, and leave the matter up to the brand to deal with (or not).

Unfortunately, when it comes to affordable legal protection of creators’ digital work, options are scarce. This is because creators are such independent workers, with teams that can range from themselves and their mom as a manager, to high-powered agents and professional managers. Additionally, the market is fairly new, and we’re still in a period of uncertainty where standards and systems have yet to be established.

However, there are resources out there for online creators to protect their work. Here’s a round-up of legal options that exist for creators.

1. Glean information online

There are countless resources you can find online, including contract templates specifically for influencer-brand agreements.

You can also get tips from other creators on how they protect their work. This video by a YouTuber who is also an attorney provides a great overview of the topic. 

: All of this is free, and teaches you a lot as you conduct your own research. It’s empowering to get a sense of how these legal matters work, and you’ve got nothing to lose by looking into it yourself.

Cons: First, this research is time-consuming, and you already put on so many different caps (creative director, model, editor, manager, accountant, etc.). Second, you’re not a lawyer, so as you attempt handling your legal protection alone, there might be some confusing aspects of the documents you find. Lastly, if you’re facing an irresponsible company that backs off at the last minute—which is rare, but can happen—you’re on your own to figure it out. 

2. Get professional help

Every collaboration is different, with its own specificities and requirements. Hiring professional help (a manager, an agency) gives you the security of knowing that things will stay smooth from one collaboration to another, because all aspects are taken care of by experts, leaving you to focus on your content creation. 

Pros: Agents will take care of the legal aspect, and they will have all the answers to your questions. These companies work with attorneys, so you cannot be in better hands. 

: Agencies and managers are expensive, and therefore only accessible for established creators who can generate revenue.

3. Use online tools

This one is very limited as of today, but we believe that with the creator economy booming, more and more tools will be developed to serve creators’ needs on the legal front.

We’ve tested Creators Legal for you, which is the very first platform to offer legal help specifically for creators. It provides tailored contracts, a dashboard to organize documents, online secure signature, and more. We’re excited because it’s a beautiful mission, and here at Createur, we share similar values: helping creators with the time-consuming aspects of the job so that you can focus on creating and producing. 
Here’s our opinion on the platform: 

: Lawyers can cost up to hundreds of dollars an hour, and agencies take a big cut, so having a digital platform with a monthly subscription or a pay-per-contract option is a real game-changer. It underscores the empowerment that lies in being an independent worker. 

You get to review every contract and fill them out yourself, which is very enlightening. The process isn’t too intimidating, because the platform’s tools are very intuitive, especially the Form Builder, which lets you fill in the blanks with info specific to each agreement. 

The wide range of contracts specific to each category (Podcasts, Video, Sponsorship) is extremely valuable. Each contract template is reviewed by legal professionals. 

We love what Creators Legal calls the Digital Briefcase: a dashboard that holds all your drafts, your contracts in progress, and the ones that have already been signed. 

: The monthly subscription of $40, while more affordable than many legal options, remains out of reach for smaller creators who are less able to pay. Usually, creators who can add this bill to their monthly expenses are established creators—the same ones who will consider hiring a manager or already have one, which means they already have the legal aspect of their jobs covered. 

Those who don’t have an agent often can’t afford to add a $40 monthly cost to their budget, especially with the ever-changing income of an influencer. As an alternative, finding free contract templates online remains tempting.

In most cases, for paid collaborations, the brand provides the contract and someone needs to review it, which is a service Creators Legal doesn’t offer for now. 

One advantage of having an agent or a lawyer is being in contact with people who have answers to each specific situation, which does not seem to be available on Creators Legal. However, the platform can easily remedy that by introducing a forum or a chat, and could be on its way to democratizing answers and advice for all.

All in all, Creators Legal is a tool that offers a much-needed intermediate step between being a solo entrepreneur with no team and being a well-established creator with an agent or a manager. The industry is in dire need of affordable, accessible legal help for content creators of all sizes, and this is an important step in that direction.

    ← back to home