I Want to Let Others Use My Work
If you are a graphic designer, author or songwriter, you may want to be able to let others use your creations. Generally, this type of content licensing falls under copyright law.
As the person granting the content license or assignment, you have a great deal of freedom in how to structure the transaction. These choices can have a substantial impact on your ability to make money from the work, the amount of control you retain over it, and the costs associated with the transaction.
In such cases, it will often make sense to hire a lawyer in order to deal with such a transaction because of the potentially high stakes. Copyright law can be very nuanced, and misunderstanding certain concepts can have big repercussions.
Fortunately, our Intellectual Property team places great important on educating our clients so that they can have the tools and knowledge to understand their licensing matters without needing to call a lawyer every single time!
Today, creator-owned content licensing has become a big trend in comics, video games and e-books. Perhaps you are an individual who owns intellectual property in a story universe, and you would like to license your content to different media channels and products. This particular set of rights is sometimes called “Story IP”. A well-known example of this is Angry Birds, which first launched as a mobile app, and then blossomed into movies, comic books, video games, toys and more.
Back in the old days, only mega-corporations could afford to build such Story IP portfolios, but today, the internet has democratized this area. But when it comes to intellectual property law and content licensing, you do not get a pass simply because you are a small-time player instead of a mega-corporation with a team of in-house lawyers!
If I transfer or license my work, is this permanent?
Not necessarily. The length of time that your “permission” lasts will depend on the transfer or license arrangement you enter into. For instance, you can grant a transfer or license your rights in relation to your work for a specified duration of time. If you do not specify an end date in the executing document, or even if you if specify that the transfer or license is permanent and irrevocable, there may be provisions under copyright law, or other intellectual property law, that allow the rights to revert back to you after some period of time.
Sometimes, if you entered into an agreement with someone, but did not receive “consideration” (payment or some other kind of benefit in exchange for the grant) from them, this license is revocable.
Someone Is Using My Work Without My Permission!
When someone reproduces your work without your permission, it can be very frustrating. If this unauthorized use is on the internet, it may be tricky to even figure out who the actual offender is.
First, you should consider whether the material that is being used is actually subject to any legal protection. Many things are not copyrightable, such as facts and ideas, and therefore anyone can use them without worrying about infringement.
If you determine you might have a valid legal claim under the unauthorized use, you likely have many avenues to take. Some of them might be simple (for example, a DMCA take-down notice to the web hosting company) and quickly accomplish your goal of removing the content from a website. Some might be more complex and require the help of a lawyer, and even initiating litigation.
At the Law Offices of Daniel T. Goodwin, our expert legal team can help you navigate a wide variety of issues when it comes to intellectual property and content licensing.