Or as I like to call it;
"How to protect your wallets from EVIL"
To begin our adventure into the world of law, I must make a legal disclaimer, I am not a lawyer. I am, however, A former professional and freelance graphic designer and I’ve had to write out more than a few contracts in my life.
Contracts are everywhere!
What is a Contract?
Why do I need a contract?
Any time you’re working with another developer, a contract can help protect both parties involved
Lets lay out some basic terminology:
Party - think of a contract as groups of people sitting at a table, each side of the table is a “party”, and each party represents one set of interests.
In this example we have 2 parties;
Group 1 - Wants to have an office built
Group 2 - Wants to build an office
Unqualified Acceptance - Yes. No ifs, ands, or buts, an unqualified acceptance MUST be a yes without any terms attached.
Contracts have a few requirements to lay out first;
Each Party has to promise or provide something of value to the other; Otherwise you there is no contract.
Offer and Acceptance
There must be a clear offer in the contract, and an “unqualified acceptance” - this is a “Yes”, Without the “If you…” The terms of the contract should outline the “if you”. Any additional terms added to a contract first, void the original contract, and bring us back to our unqualified acceptance, after the contract is edited.
A contract cannot violate the law, you cannot legally organize a contract to rob a bank for instance.
to be “capable” of making a contract, both parties must understand what they are doing. You cannot organize a contract where in Minors (those under the legal age of 18) or anyone, who doesn’t have soul legal guardianship over legal matters can participate.
Contracting parties must intend to be bound by the agreement and agree on the terms laid out in the contract.
That was a lot… BUT NOW! The good stuff.
Parts of a basic contract
This is the who, when section. Here you enter the name of the agreement, when the agreement was established and entered into, the name and (legal, working) address of the client, the name and (legal, working) address of the developer, Collectively “the Parties”
Purpose or Purposes of the agreement statement, And obligations.
This is the “What” area of the contract, and contains the most material. This covers things like, project description, schedule, client approval and revisions, and most importantly, payment. Confidentiality agreements, terms of product use after expiration or termination of contract.
Assurances to aspects of the agreements
this area can be used to define how and when the client will be notified of revisions/approval, and how contract termination will be handled.
Finally the part where we actually sign away our souls- er, contracts.
The following is an example contract that any user can reference to produce their own.
A word to the wise, Seek legal help for large projects or large exchanges, it is very easy to overlook aspects of a contract that can have huge legal ramifications.
I have a contract… How do I get it signed?
There are a few different methods, but if you cant get it done in person, I always suggest Electronic signature websites. If you can get it done in person, bring a third party witness, or try to get a notary. Fax and Mail are also options, and both can be notarized at signing. Notaries are like Legal faeries, that come with fun stamps, and when signing they authenticate and act as a non-biased party, so that should a signer attempt to backtrack and say they didn’t sign, a notary glides in on its little legal wings and saves the day.
Hope this helps someone out!
This post contains general legal information and does not contain legal advice. I am not a law firm, nor a substitute for an attorney or a law firm. The law is complex and often changes. For legal advice, please ask a lawyer