Popular media, whether a joke from a television sitcom or a hook from a song that people keep singing, can do a lot for marketing. It is a common practice for creative professionals and businesses alike to make use of existing works of art, ranging from movies and music to photographs and illustrations.
Whether you want to play a song in the background of your upcoming advertising campaign or print t-shirts with a particular image on them, you may need to license the rights to those original works. Creators who produce original works and the companies that buy the rights to original creations have control over how other people and businesses use those original works.
When you understand three of the most common licensing mistakes that businesses make, you can avoid a potentially costly intellectual property dispute.
They don’t look into licensing at all
One of the most common licensing mistakes involves assuming that you won’t have any issues. Perhaps because your business is so small or because you only intend to share the work of art or video on your company’s social media pages, you don’t expect that the original creator would ever catch wind of your marketing plans.
However, the internet has made it faster and easier than ever before for content creators to track the unauthorized use of their works and to initiate enforcement actions.
They don’t attempt to negotiate
Many creators go viral for a single illustration or song and want to make as much money as possible. They may start out licensing negotiations with a seemingly ridiculous price point, but they may respond to counter-offers.
Those negotiating with independent artists and content creators sometimes make the mistake of overpaying for licensing privileges because they are too eager about securing rights to a specific creative work.
They contact the holding company but not the artist
Recently, there have been some licensing stories that have made the national news. One of these scenarios involved a mainstream musician theoretically sampling a song from another musician. However, in at least one case, although they did secure the appropriate licensing from the companies that own the rights to the song, there was no communication with the original artist.
Disputes and bad blood have resulted from these scenarios, which just helps illustrate how important communication with original creators can be, especially if you anticipate your licensed creations reaching a national audience.
Learning about and avoiding the most common licensing issues when hoping to secure the rights to you someone else’s intellectual property can take some of the risk out of those negotiations.