Apologies range from “but we`re so old, good friends!” to “I don`t want to act like I don`t trust him!” I am not here to psychoanalytically analyze these common excuses – and I am not qualified at all for that – but I will try to explain how a written agreement that governs the agreement from the beginning is actually quite critical. Bad things happen in life, where someone realizes that a project is simply not what they need (or another commitment comes to light). If the staff has not addressed all this in advance in a written agreement, then the project will be sucked into a state of legal floating where no one will be willing to continue working there and no one will certainly be willing to buy it. If one of you does not hire the others for the project and you invest all your time and creative and commercial energies in the project, the cooperation agreement will be clear and (hopefully) briefly and succinct. The cooperation agreement should be seen as a “constitution” of the joint creative enterprise between two or more participants: the agreement will recall each other`s respective rights and responsibilities and will govern the project in all phases of development, production and exploitation (hopefully). But this is a classic example where the old phrase “a sting in time saves nine” applies. A little clumsiness and frankness, addressed in advance, can put so many problems in bed that can become quite destructive over time. In the absence of a cooperation agreement, any number of events could cripple the progress of a project. Through a cooperation agreement and the structure they create for the company, partners can focus on developing and using the best possible project.
Often, the cooperation agreement provides that the remaining employees can continue the project and use other parties to fill the hole left by the lost employee. As a general rule, the outgoing employee (or his heirs) continues to receive some of the money – usually half of his or her original share in the event of death or disability, or a negotiated reduction in good faith when there is a voluntary withdrawal. However, the remaining staff would have all rights and retain all creative and commercial controls. In addition, there is a central legal reason for a cooperation agreement: rights and transfers of copyrighted material (which encompasses just about all literary and filmed entertainment works considered here) must be established in writing.