win win

I played SXSW in 1993 and after that was offered a publishing deal. It was (in theory) worth the average cost of a Toronto house – if everything worked out. If everything worked out means there were clauses that stipulated various sums of money would be awarded if certain conditions were realized. For instance if anything cracked the billboard top 100 then $75,000 would be released, other threads like that.
Most troubling for me was the duration – my life plus 50 years. Not unusual in American publishing deals, so said lawyers and artists I then knew. In Europe the durations for such deals were less. Imagine that, everything you write and everything you might write, is now be pre-owned by someone else. Imagine you want to write critically about the man ….but the man already gets a 50% commission on whatever it is you are saying. Another clause said $25,000 released upon signing the deal. Hard to turn down a whack of money when you don’t have a whack of money in the bank.
My lawyer was not quick to get everything together and after a month they resigned the offer. My lawyer felt like it was his fault. I didn’t care, I was immobilized the entire month, wondering if I could live with myself if I did it. So now the decision was made, ok by me. During the next couple years, anytime I needed that lawyer for anything at all, he never charged me because he felt like he had owed me. It was win win.

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