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Electronic Signatures

Moving into the electronic age has meant many of our old, comfortable processes are going online. Signing contracts is no exception.

Several online companies have sprouted that allow all different types of companies to get electronic signatures from their signees.

I've seen this in motion at the recording studio in Burbank, for example, where the studio executive has the voice actors sign their contracts on an iPad. I've personally been using electronic contracts for several years with WilyWriters.com because many of my authors are in different countries and mailing takes too long, is too inconvenient, and lends itself to delaying the contracting process. The U.S. Postal Service has become something of a dinosaur, sadly.

I've pulled together some information on electronic contracts for you to browse.

Authors

Authors, a digital or electronic contract's content should be no different from a regular, paper one's. The only difference is that you place your mark on the contract and agree to its terms with an electronic signature. A click of your mouse button may be all that's required. Your hand-written signature is no longer needed.

Other contracting methods you may encounter include approving the contract via an existing account, such as your Facebook account. Also, it may simply be via your E-mail account in conjunction with the personal information you include such as your mailing address and phone number. Or it may be as simple as clicking the "I agree to the terms" button on a Web site. Remember that you are signing a contract every time you agree to a site's "Terms of Use."

Publishers

Publishers, especially those publishing magazines, anthologies, or other such projects that require a great deal of contract wrangling, will find electronic contracts to be a life-saver. Adobe's EchoSign offers the following conveniences with its online electronic contract tracker:

  • You can send the contract to multiple signers as well by simply listing all the E-mail addresses it must go to.
  • You can set up the contract as a template and fill in the appropriate information for the signer each time.
  • The program alerts you via E-mail and sends you a copy of the contract once the signer(s) has signed.
  • The program will send reminders to your signers if they forget to sign.The program will automatically send the final copy of the contract (all signatures done) to all the signers.
  • You can store all your contracts online, where they are backed up by the company and less likely to be lost in a hard-drive crash.
  • And many other benefits.

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Happy browsing!