Learn More About Loopholes

In some cases, contracts incorporate terms such as “notwithstanding” to offer a way out of previously stated requirements. Keep an eye out for a contract that contradicts a party’s previously stated obligations by using this terminology.

“If you’ve read a services agreement or another business’s boilerplate, chances are, words like ‘notwithstanding’ and ‘hereunder’ discreetly pop up during the course of your read,” said Alex Lauderdale, founder of EducatedDriver.org.

“One can go through an entire contract, up to the end, thinking they’ve just landed the most amazing terms and conditions the world has ever seen. But wait! There it is: ‘Notwithstanding the terms and conditions set forth in clauses A-Z,'” Lauderdale said. “If you see this phrase, it’s time to start paying close attention. Chances are good you just ran into your part of the bargain, and it may not be what you were expecting.”

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Intellectual-property clauses – When you are entering into an agreement, it’s important to consider who owns the work of a contracted party. If you’re hiring a creative freelancer, for example, make sure you retain the intellectual-property rights to the work for which you’ve paid. Otherwise, that content could be used elsewhere at the discretion of the other party, with no regard for your intended use.

“Under U.S. copyright law, the owner of a work is generally its creator,” said Ozelle Martin, founder and managing attorney at Cre8tiv Legal. “Therefore, an independent graphic designer may be the copyright owner of the work that he or she produced for you unless a written agreement says otherwise. “Many entrepreneurs are not aware of this and tend to think that if they paid for the design, they own it, but this is not how it works under U.S. copyright law,” Martin added. “To attain full ownership of the work, you must ensure that the language of the contract indicates that the graphic designer will convey all rights, title and interests in the work to you.”

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