In Mark Litwak’s Risky Business book, he lists 17 items on his Filmmaker Defense List.
Here is a summary of some of the most important ways filmmakers can protect their interests:
3. Obtain an arbitration clause: make sure contractual disputes are subject to binding arbitration [...] Arbitration is less costly than litigation, and going to court is not much of a remedy if you can’t afford it.
That’s a good idea, but watch out for a wrinkle. You need to make sure the arbitrator isn’t biased in favour of the distributor. A recent report into credit card companies use of binding arbitration shows that individuals should opt out of that clause in their contract with credit card companies. In the case of producers agreements with distributors, both parties should agree on the choice of arbitrator.
There’s more information on dispute arbitration on Mark’s Entertainment Law resources site.