Business · Copyright · Creative · How To · Intellectual Property · Negotiation · Uncategorized

How to Discuss Content Licensing (like a pro)

Congratulations! Your pilot / article / idea has attracted the interest of somebody with influence! This wonderful opportunity can be turned into “fun stress” if you are organized, informed, and aware of what you want.

Remember – a successful negotiation happens when both parties “win”!

Licensing somebody else’s idea can be seen from a legal perspective

  • Creating an agreement between two parties that specifies the exact peramiters upon which the license is agreed upon.

Licensing somebody else’s idea can be seen from a business perspective

  • Wherein a publisher distributes their intellectual property to a third party in exchange for some value (financial gain, distribution / traffic / leverage, or altruism).

Licensing your idea to a business can be seen from an creator’s perspective

  • !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • €€€€€€€€€€ / $$$$$$$$$!

The terms upon which you agree to allow others to use your ideas / you use others’ ideas will be different every time.

It is wise to have a very good idea of:

  1. Who is this guy?
    1. Why do they want to use your ideas? / Why do you need theirs?
    2. What is their purpose? / How will you explain your purpose?
    3. Who controls the client / client information?
    4. What do they expect / gain from this agreement?
    5. What do I expect / gain from this agreement?
  2. What is this about?
    1. How exactly will this content be used in the future?
    2. How might future uses change? Are both parties OK with that?
    3. Is it in your best interests to enter into an exclusive and long-term arrangement? These agreements generally pay better, but depending on the content, you may want to consider the future before agreeing to anything “forever”.
      1. It could mean that your fantastic idea is never put to use because the owner does not utilize their property – or it could mean that your idea is taken in a direction that you never anticipated. You’ll have to be O.K. with that or negotiate a solution if this is a problem for you.
  3. Money…
    1. How much am I willing to pay? / What value do I assign to a successful deal?
    2. Are there other non-financial benefits that I am seeking? / What non-financial assets can I offer that would interest the other party?
      1. Don’t underestimate the value of distribution!
    3. How long will this agreement last? / How regularly will it be renewed?
    1. Every negotiation / negotiator will have different interests, needs, and expectations of your license.
    2. A boiler-plate license or an example of a successful license is an excellent starting point, but you will need to make several careful adjustments to the details.
  5. Bring in the suits (attorneys) when you are almost ready to agree on the terms of the agreement.
    1. Although it is very wise to conduct negotiations around experts, having too many cooks in the kitchen can make it difficult for the interested parties to get down to business.

Here are some helpful links:

Digital Media Law Project

Television License Agreement Examples

Good luck!


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