Maximizing Revenue & Creative Freedom: Best Practices for Licensing Your Documentary
What are the best practices that I should be aware of when licensing my documentary? My goals are to maximize my income and retain my creative freedom.
When licensing your documentary, it's important to keep your goals of maximizing income and retaining creative freedom in mind. Here are some best practices to follow during the licensing process:
Understand the types of licenses: Familiarize yourself with the different types of licenses, such as exclusive or non-exclusive license, worldwide or territory-based license, and term-based or perpetual licenses, and determine which type best aligns with your goals.
Set clear licensing terms: Clearly outline the rights granted under the license, such as distribution, marketing, merchandising, sublicensing, and performance rights. Make sure to consider any grant of rights that could impact your creative control, like editing or changing content.
Royalties and fees: Negotiate royalty rates and fees that provide a fair share of the revenues generated from the documentary. Ensure that payment terms, reporting, and auditing rights are also in place for accurate accounting and payment.
Protect artistic control: Ensure you have a say over critical creative decisions, such as changes to your content, marketing and advertising materials, public relations efforts, or merchandise, by including clauses that require consultation or permission.
Maintain control of your intellectual property: Clarify the ownership rights in the license agreement, particularly for any new content, materials, or derivative works generated during or after the term of the agreement.
Credit and attribution: Make sure the license agreement properly outlines how credit and attribution should be displayed for you as the creator of the documentary.
Termination and reversion rights: Establish clear termination rights in case of a breach of the license agreement or if some negotiated performance criteria are not met. Consider including reversion rights, providing for the return of the licensing rights to you after a specified period or under certain conditions.
Approval and consultation: Include provisions that grant you the right to approve major decisions or be consulted in specific aspects of the licensing process to ensure proper handling and protection of your documentary.
Warranty and indemnification: Provide accurate warranties and representations about your rights to license the work, and negotiate reasonable indemnification clauses that protect both parties from liabilities related to potential breaches of those warranties and representations.
Engage a lawyer or agent: Engage the services of an experienced entertainment lawyer or agent to represent your interests and help negotiate more favorable terms.
Working with an attorney experienced in entertainment law will ensure that you navigate the licensing process effectively, and that your interests, both financial and creative, are well represented in any licensing agreement.