Why Have a Lawyer Review a Multi-Channel Network (MCN) Contract

Why have a lawyer review your MCN contract

Why have a lawyer review your MCN contract

The name Grace Helbig may not be familiar to people who only consume content provided by the mainstream media but in the YouTube space she is a star.

She may not be a celebrity in the traditional sense but to her 2 million subscribers on YouTube, she is royalty. These subscribers are enamored by her partly because of her sense of humor and mostly because they can relate to her.

With this kind of influence, it is not surprising that Helbig and other YouTubers are making a lot of money from their channels. The monetary factor in running a successful YouTube channel has not only drawn in more talented people who want to use the platform to strike it rich but has also caught the attention of MCNs



What is an MCN?

A Multi-Channel Network is an independent company that is not owned by YouTube but gets into partnership with several YouTube channels and offers them assistance in a myriad of ways. 

MCNs can help a YouTube channel through promotion, monetization of content, funding and so on. That means that signing of contracts is involved in the process. Had you told anyone in the early days of YouTube that YouTubers will be signing contracts with major companies in the future, they would have laughed at you.

The significant growth of the YouTube ecosystem has been an unprecedented phenomenon and this has brought in professionalism into a space amateurs thought belonged to them.


Why Have a MCN Contract Reviewed?

However, with contracts comes complications and this stays true even for people like Grace Helbig.  Rob Barnett, the CEO of an MCN called My Damn Channel, discovered Helbig through her vlogs on YouTube. 

They partnered with her and as a result the DailyGrace YouTube channel was formed in 2010. In 2013, Social Blade showed that the DailyGrace channel had 3 million subs, about 200 million video views and more than $725,000 in annual earnings.

It is not clear whether Helbig got a lawyer to read her contract with My Damn Channel before she signed it. What is clear is that after five years with MDC, the YouTube star chose to leave the network in December 2013. Her contract with the network had expired and she decided not to renew it.

The split seemed amicable until the company announced that it would keep the DailyGrace channel active and post old videos that never made it to YouTube. It soon became clear to subscribers that Helbig was forced to forfeit the DailyGrace brand and all the content she had posted on the DailyGrace YouTube channel when she left MDC.  That means she was no longer able to benefit from the proceeds brought in by the content she had created while she was working with MDC.

To avoid such a situation, you should always involve a trusted contract attorney to carefully read the contract you are about to sign with a Multi-Channel Network.

A business attorney is able to read in between the lines and demand that you get a good deal or a valid contract.


Sam Mollaei, Esq., YouTube Lawyer, can be reached @ (818) 925-0002 or by email sam@mollaeilaw.com.

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