Q: I am entering a partnership with someone and need assistance on how to protect myself.
She is making shirts and wants my artwork on them. We are combining businesses and it'll be 50/50. It's fair but if this doesn't work out in the long run how do I protect my artwork and business name? Will we both be able to produce the shirts still afterwards? Will she end up with rights to the art that was used on the shirts? Can I prevent that from happening, it is my artwork. She'll be selling them out of another establishment so would they also get a cut? How do I keep track of inventory? My main goal here is to sell my artwork and still keep the rights to it. I don't want her stealing it.
A: You are prudent to seek assistance for your business relationship and protection of your artwork - before you begin. Use the Find a Lawyer tab and contact a local business attorney who can advise you and answer questions about business formation and copyright protection.
Each and every one of your questions can be dealt with by a specifically tailored agreement setting forth how each one of those issues will be addressed. They are all a matter of contract. Whatever the two of you set forth in your partnership agreement that is what will control the answer to these issues.
Without a partnership agreement, an argument could be made that in exchange for a 50% share of the profit and loss you provided the artwork and now the artwork belongs to the partnership as though you were a person for hire.
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