Potential Legal Issues for Freelancers: What They Don’t Tell You – by Emily Thompson

Potential Legal Issues for Freelancers: What They Don’t Tell You – by Emily Thompson

DISCLAIMER: Emily Thompson is not an attorney. Please consult with your attorney for your specific legal needs. 

Running your freelance writing business can be both fun and profitable. Working on your own terms is also a freeing experience. Needless to say, being a freelance writer comes with some of the best perks. But, nothing in life is smooth sailing. So, there are a few concerns that may come with your freelancing career.

To ensure that you’re operating on the straight and narrow, here are some things to keep in mind with regards to legal liabilities for freelancers.

Limit Your Liability

As a freelance writer, you may face legal issues. Even so, you’re looking to be on the safe side in case this happens. The best way to do this is to limit your liability.

For instance, if you want to work as a full-time freelance writer, ensure that you do not have any current or prior agreements that may inhibit the growth of your business. These agreements could be with any other employer and they would likely be in form of non- compete, solicitation and non-disclosure agreements.

Avoid a Lawsuit

As a freelance writer, you may receive lawsuit threats for intellectual property infringement, defamation, and breach of terms of service. By knowing how to present your services, and adhering to all terms and conditions, you’ll enjoy a happy working relationship with your clients.

To do this successfully, make sure that you familiarize yourself with ALL terms and conditions that you should meet before embarking on any writing project. The trick to doing this is to work directly with clients, cutting out any middlemen from your projects.

Consider Insurance

Whether you work from home, the coffee shop, or any other location, do not forego insurance. We are not talking about health or disability insurance for freelancers, we’re talking about the following:

Property Insurance

Your regular renter or homeowner’s policy may not cover property like your computer if it’s stolen or damaged but property insurance will protect you from this.

Professional Liability Insurance

This insurance covers some of the expenses you  might need to pay when your client suffers business losses that occur due to negligence on your part.

Important Things To Remember

The best way to protect yourself from any legal implications is to provide a legally binding contract at the start of any writing project. Your contract should ALWAYS include the following:

  • payment obligations
  • scope of services
  • ownership of intellectual property
  • confidentiality obligations
  • termination rights
  • miscellaneous legal terms

Additionally, if you’re bringing any subcontractors into your projects, you’ll need to provide a subcontractor agreement, which resembles a client contract, but it comes with different terms and conditions as you’ll be the hiring party. This agreement should draw special attention to intellectual property provisions.

Don’t forget to state that you rightfully own all the work that your subcontractor provides (you’ll need a work-for-hire agreement). If you don’t do this, chances are that your subcontractor could own the work and this means that he or she could re-use or sell it elsewhere.

It’s important to remember that you can’t protect yourself from every legal liability. After your research into what should be done, your lawyer should come in to ensure that you are fully protected at every turn.

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Emily Thompson is a freelance writer who has contributed to publications such as Reviewed, Freedom With Writing, The Sun, and many more. In her free time, she enjoys whipping up recipes with her daughter and walking her dog.

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