10:30 – 11:30 am

Contracts – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

This one hour plenary presentation will teach participants how to recognize, revise and negotiate bad contract language and terms. Many medical illustrators, from the inexperienced to the highly experienced, fall victim to agreeing to potentially harmful contract language due to a lack of a full understanding of the legal meanings and phrasings of certain terms that are frequently included in proffered contracts and licenses. This presentation will include a review of basic contract language and structure and the different types of documents that can be a legal contract. It will discuss the critical importance of precise contract, language clearly written and explore a list of terms used in contracts that often cause confusion among medical illustrators. In exploring this list of “Bad Contract” terms, specific examples of contracts that are outright abusive, sneaky all rights contracts, work for hire contracts, etc., and contracts that illustrators should simply walk away from will be shown and discussed. Strategies for negotiating around bad contract language will also be discussed and examples shown.

Session Takeaways:

  1. A review of basic contract/license language and structure and learn the importance of using comprehensive, precise and understandable terminology to describe the terms they want a client to agree to.
  2. A comprehensive list of potentially bad, deceptive or misleading contract and license terms, frequently misunderstood by medical illustrators, whether inexperienced and experienced, will be presented and discussed. (This list will be based on the presenter’s many years of experience helping medical illustrators with contract misunderstandings and questions.)
  3. Understand the meaning of these potentially harmful terms and how to identify them when buried in dense contract language
  4. Actual bad contract/license examples – from the presenter’s 40 year collection – will be shown, highlighting the use of numerous bad, deceptive and outright abusive terms that illustrators should learn to identify and avoid.
  5. How some clients cloak such terms in seemingly innocent language and gain an appreciation for when it might be best to just walk away from certain contracts.
  6. Strategies for negotiating around many of the worst terms in a bad contract or license.
  7. Learn counter offers to bad contracts/licenses.


William B. Westwood, MS, CMI, FAMI

Owner, Westwood Medical Communications

William B. Westwood, MS, CMI, FAMI, is a Medical College of Georgia graduate with some 50 years of experience in medical illustration. He worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for ten years before leaving to start his own business, Westwood Medical Communications, in Albany, NY. Bill is a past President of the AMI and served two terms on the Board of Governors. His medical artwork has won 39 awards, including a Billings Gold Medal from the American Medical Association, and he was the 2010 recipient of the AMI’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2016 recipient of the Brödel Award for Excellence in Education. He is Board Certified and a Fellow in the AMI. Bill is a frequent speaker on illustration techniques and business issues affecting medical illustrators and creators in general (negotiation, copyright, licensing, contracts, pricing, etc.), and is a 20 year panelist for a popular regional call-in radio program, “The Copyright Forum” on WAMC Northeast Public Radio. Bill has taught “Business Practices for Visual Artists” as an Adjunct Instructor at the Sage Colleges, in Albany, NY and is currently on the Adjunct Faculty of the Medical Illustration Graduate Program at Augusta University.