How Do I License My Copyright?

Congratulations, you have a copyright that you’d like to monetize. You’re considering licensing your work to others, but not sure what you can do. The great thing about licenses is that they are very flexible.

As the owner of the copyright now, you have the exclusive right: to make copies of your work; to distribute and sell it: to make derivative works; to perform the work publicly; and, to display it publicly.

You may license any of these rights in whole or in part, and may grant someone an exclusive license or not.

For example, you may want a publishing house to be the exclusive entity to make copies of your book, but want to reserve the right for yourself to make derivative works (say a movie adaptation). Similarly, if it’s a play, you may not want to have the local community theater be the exclusive licensee for performances of the work, but rather allow for multiple runs up across the country.

You may negotiate terms, and geographic restrictions on use, in addition to many other limitations.

It’s very important to be clear with the exact terms while negotiating a license, as details may make future lucrative deals impossible without a previous licensee’s consent.