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Legal manual launched to help freelancers working in the creative arts, Singapore News & Top Stories

SINGAPORE – Freelance videographer Derrick shot and edited a video for a client that fell short of his standards.

But after repaying her full $ 4,000 payment at her request and withdrawing her rights to the film, he later found out that she had posted a video containing about 75% of her work.

He was neither paid nor credited for any of this.

“I didn’t (sign) an official contract or have the money to hire a lawyer,” said Derrick, who declined to give his full name.

During his four years as a self-employed person, he said, he also had to deal with clients delaying payment for up to six months or paying less than agreed upon.

At the launch of a free legal manual, Advocates For The Arts on Tuesday, January 23, Mr. Adrian Tan, vice president of the Law Society of Singapore, advised freelancers to sign a contract with clients with exact terms that protect them from this ill-treatment.

He encouraged self-employed workers to have a professional lawyer draft a single contract that can be reused with different clients.

Key terms should include the names of both parties, the services to be provided, the amount, method and time of payment, and dispute resolution methods.

The new 12-chapter manual contextualizes the laws for the creative arts industry and aims to inform and educate artists about their legal rights.

It was launched by the Pro Bono Services Bar (LSPBS) and the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) at the NTUC Center on Marina Boulevard.

It provides information on contracts, insurance, copyright and trademarks, and dispute resolution options. It is written in layman’s terms and features cartoons.

In 2016, there were over 40,000 professionals, including freelancers, in Singapore’s creative arts industry.

LSPBS Managing Director Lim Tanguy said, “While (hiring a lawyer to draft a contract) may seem like an upfront cost, it’s a great investment as it makes you look more professional and educates clients as well. on key markers such as performance. “

He added that contracts should also include agreed details about intellectual property rights, such as who owns the copyright in the work and for what purposes each party can use the work, as well as insurance s ‘there are risks associated with work.

Mr. Patrick Tay, Deputy Secretary General and Director of the Legal Services Department of NTUC, said: “We hope to make sure that … workers in the (creative arts) sector, whether self-employed or employed, know their rights and privileges, and are safeguarded and protected. “

Ms. Stella Chung, a freelance screenwriter in her thirties, is no stranger to unfair treatment.

In 2014, she was fired by a production house and refused the agreed payment of $ 150 for a draft of a TV series episode she had worked on for three months.

Ms. Chung said she filed a complaint against the company with the Media Development Authority at the time.

However, when the episode aired, she discovered that 70% of the script was her job, for which she was neither paid nor credited.

She said the legal guide will allow freelancers like her to express their legal rights and defend themselves.

The manual will be available for download next week on the NTUC U portal (www.ntuc.org.sg) and the Pro Bono Services website of the Bar (http://probono.lawsociety.org.sg/Pages/default.aspx).


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