Trade bodies launch model website contract

This month sees the launch of a new specialist “Model Contract” for website design and maintenance. It has been created jointly by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA), the representative body for UK advertisers; the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the trade body for leading marketing and advertising agencies; and online agency New Media Knowledge.

The Model Contract provides a template for advertisers and their online agencies to pick and choose legal clauses tailored to their relationships. Its producers claim it is a landmark document, allowing the development of sound commercial agreements cheaply, easily and quickly.

The detailed legal terms suggested in the Model Contract have been developed with the help of specialist interactive and property rights law firm Briffa. Input into the drafting also came from a number of major UK advertisers and key Web development agencies.

As well as offering relevant legal terms, the Model Contract provides wide-ranging practical advice on briefing Web developers, with a dedicated section at the beginning of the document setting out detailed processes for best practice in this area.

ISBA director of membership services Debbie Morrison, who negotiated on behalf of advertisers, says: “Unlike previous Model Contracts developed by ISBA, a significant part of this document is dedicated to providing basic guidance on best practice in the area of briefing. Feedback from the industry suggests there is great call for this particular aspect within interactive services agreements.”

IPA legal director Marina Palomba says: “The IPA hopes this guide will encourage agencies and advertisers to ensure that sound, clear contracts are agreed in this difficult area so as to avoid confusion later should difficulties occur. A good working relationship should be founded on clear contractual terms and it is hoped this precedent will be a useful aid in achieving that aim.”

NMK director Zoe Black, who negotiated the contract on behalf of online agencies, says: “We expect 2004 to be a year of steady growth within the industry, and hope that initiatives such as this contract will play a part in sustaining that growth.”

The full Model Contract document is available, free of charge, to ISBA members, members of the IPA, NMK and others. The contents of the Model Contract, its benefits and how advertisers and agencies might use it will be covered in a special “teach-in” session for ISBA members, to be held at ISBA’s London offices on February 26. There will be a nominal charge for delegates.

NMK and Briffa will also be holding more detailed follow-up workshops for developers.

The new Model Contract framework adds to a number of such documents ISBA has developed for negotiating terms with full service advertising agencies, media agencies, creative agencies, direct marketing and sales promotion agencies.

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