9 questions for creating a copyright agreement

September 19, 2016

If someone is working for you and creating content, you need to reach an agreement concerning who will hold the copyright on that content. Answering these questions before coming to an agreement with a content creator can help you create a clear, substantive agreement:

  • What work will the content creator create?
  • Who owns the rights to the work?
  • What rights does the content creator grant to the hiring organization? Is it an exclusive license? (Exclusive licenses prevent anyone except the license holder, including the contractor, from sharing the work elsewhere in print, online or on social media without express written consent by the license holder.)
  • Alternatively, is it a limited license? If so, what rights does the content creator retain?
  • Are the rights limited to a particular medium, number of uses, length of time, etc.?
  • How can the organization use the work created by the content creator?
  • Can it modify, edit, add to, delete, distribute, license, duplicate and/or use the work however it likes?
  • How will the content creator be compensated?
  • Who will pay for any related travel or other expenses?

Taken from Copyright Law and Fair Use for Journalists, a self-directed course by Catherine Cameron and Ellyn Angelotti Kamke at Poynter NewsU.

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