What is Art Licensing?

July 2009
Another option for making money from your talents.

Art licensing is an important area in the licensing world. It can help improve an artist's exposure to the world and subsequently help increase his income as well. With an art license an artist leases the right to use his legally protected name, his artwork, any logo, any title to his art, saying or any other legally protected words, phrases or graphics etc. It is a formal agreement between the licensor and the licensee. The specific purpose of this agreement is stated in details in the formal agreement. Also, a definite financial remuneration is stated in this agreement for granting the rights of usage of specific property, image etc. This is called the Royalty, which is usually a percentage of sales using the artist's image. In addition to the Royalty agreement there is a minimum guaranteed royalty agreement as well. Here a set amount of remuneration is paid to the artist even if there were no sales. Thus art licensing can open up world of opportunity to both the parties. It is recorded that sales generated by the licensing industry have tripled in the last decade.

Licensing your art is one aspect but protecting your rights at the same time is another and they both go hand in hand. An artist can sometimes lose his copyrighted material or even the original art work without his will, if a close attention is not paid when arriving at the clauses of the agreement. Some licensing companies actually help an artist who is going in for licensing agreement for the first time. But it is important for the artist to do his own research as well and understand very clearly as to what to put on such agreements.

The license should always include the detailed specifics of the art work in question at the very least. Then the question of where the artwork will be used comes. That can help the artist's image or spoil it. It should also include an agreement to bear the artist's copyright notice on all promotional material where the artwork will be reproduced. Weather the products or services will be marketed in the international markets needs to be stated with the names of the countries they will go to. The artist should be able to terminate the agreement if the need be. Hence there should be a clause covering that aspect. If any advance payments are made that should be stated to be non-refundable. The artist should be able to look into the books of the manufacturer or whoever he is going into the licensing agreement with, at any time. Lastly a time period should be stated very clearly during which the said products will be brought to the market or else they will lose the right to use the name. But these are some of the basic things one has to consider in a license. Depending upon the complexity of services offered or the nature of art work etc. it may be necessary to add lots of other points to cover other issues. Obviously a knowledgeable attorney in these matters will come in very handy. As there are few things to consider towards what should be put on a license agreement, there are many things to consider what not to put on it. Again a trained person in the field will carefully cover those aspects as well so that the artist does not lose his copyright to the companies or lose the ownership of the original work even. Plus many more aspects of safety and self protection should be carefully considered by the artist.

In the end, I would like to advise young artists who are getting into this industry for the first time to please go through licensing courses. There are many available on-line. This will open up a very vast world of opportunity for you to put your art work to some constructive use as you enjoy creating the art work as well as making a good living from it.

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