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What do contracts do?

| Oct 11, 2015 | Contracts |

Most people who have contact with contracts on a regular basis view them as utilitarian instruments designed for a particular purpose. They may contain the agreement for a commercial lease, between a tenant and the owner of the building. They describe the terms of a distribution agreement for a product between the manufacturer and their distributor. They convey property during a sale, or they may describe your “ownership” of the song you have “purchased” on iTunes.

Because contracts are very flexible, they can be as simple as a one-page document or, like the iTunes agreement everyone who has an iPhone likely has agreed to, they can be so complex that a copyright attorney with 25-years of experience working in the field can say that he would have difficult time determining if you still had a right to use the music you have purchased from iTunes, should Apple go out of business.

 

 

With your business, you probably want to avoid the necessity of becoming involved with contracts of this level of complexity. While complexity has its place, and sometimes is necessary, in many cases keeping your business relationships simpler will result in a more robust and sustainable operation.

Contracts lay out the ground rules by which the parties are expected to behave and straightforward terms and conditions are likely to better set the expectations of everyone involved. This can prevent misunderstandings and contract disputes that can develop into business litigation, which is expensive and can damage your important business relationships.

An added benefit of keeping your contracts straightforward; it means you can understand them.

Source: theatlantic.com, “When Amazon Dies,” Adrienne Lafrance, October 7, 2015