Licensing of Your Copyrighted Work Protects You and Gets You Paid

Any professional photographer, videographer, writer, artist or other creative individual all have one thing in common: the need for licensing agreements to protect them and get them paid for their work.

A license agreement is a contract between a copyright holder and someone who wants to use or acquire your copyright protected work.

  • Photographers enter into license agreements allowing others to use their photographs
  • Musicians enter into license agreements to allow others to perform, adapt or reproduce their work
  • Artists, including designers, illustrators and others, sign license agreements with those who want to publish their work
  • Video and film professionals also license their work to those that want to use that work

The reality is that a solid license agreement – a contract to use your copyright protected material – is an essential for any professional to earn a living.

How Copyright Licensing Works

A copyright license is a contract that allows another to use your copyright protected work. There is no one single license. The terms of the license agreement are negotiated and can contain a wide array of terms, such as:

  • The parties to the agreement;
  • Whether a party can sub-license or assign their license to a third party;
  • How long the license is good for (or is the license perpetual);
  • At the end of the license period, are the parties required to stop using the copyright protected material, or can the user renew the license
  • The medium on which the copyrighted material can be placed (for example, print publications, television, posters, t-shirts, mugs, hats, websites, video, etc.)
  • The limit to the number of items on which it can be used (circulation);
  • Whether variations can be made (for example, reusing an image as part of a larger work, converting it to another medium, etc.);
  • What royalties (if any) are due to the creative individual based on the particular usage, the volume of usage, etc;
  • And more.

In truth, the parties are free to agree on terms they want. It is our job to make sure those terms are fair and cover situations you may or may not be considering.

The attorneys at Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC draft and negotiate contracts on behalf of our clients, to help ensure that our clients’ expectations and requirements are met.

Good License Agreements Protect You Against Infringement

While the contractual obligation of a license will not magically stop someone from violating your copyright, it can spell out their rights and restrictions. It can identify the penalties for violating the agreement.

A licensing agreement helps people avoid infringement by ensuring that all parties have a clear understanding of what is and is not permitted.

For those who do understand but violate the agreement anyway, it provides clear proof to the courts that they understood your rights and the restrictions placed on them, they ignored the agreement, and acted in a way that violated your copyright. As such, you may be entitled to increased damages for willful violations, have an easier time securing injunctive relief and more.

Why a Good License Agreement Is Important to You

Whether we draft a license agreement for you, or you start with a license agreement prepared by the other party, we need to be sure that it protects you. Ultimately, your rights are defined by that agreement.

If the agreement is vague, you are more likely to have disputes in the future. While we occasionally find publishers who are intentionally violating your rights, others are acting under a vague agreement. They interpret it that they have certain rights, and you interpret it differently.

In the end, it may be for a court to decide who is right. Instead, why not draft a good agreement that protects you and ensures all parties are clear of their obligations and limitations? The best way to avoid a lawsuit is to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them.

How We Enforce License Agreements

When necessary, we work with you to enforce your license agreement. We can initiate an action in court, ask for injunctive relief when necessary and sue to recover financial damages caused by the other party. Our attorneys are extremely well versed in the legal system, and are ready to go to court, when necessary, to protect you and your legal rights.

Call Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC Today

If you would like us to review and advise you on a license agreement you received, or help you draft a license agreement for your photographs, films, videos, written works, illustrations, designs, musical compositions or other creative work, contact us today at (800) 778-1660. Our copyright attorneys are here to help you.

Related Information About Licensing Agreements & Copyright

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