A Brief Introduction About the Artist Licensing Agreement
There are artists across the globe who create artworks that they have copyright for. These artworks may include music pieces, paintings, poems, etc. When an artist permits a person or a company to use the artwork for a purpose, this is called licensing. At such a time, an artist licensing agreement is required.
Through this art licensing agreement, an artist gives a client permission to use his/her work. In return, the artist is paid compensation. This agreement lays down the terms and conditions that govern how the licensed work shall be used by the client and until what time. Through this agreement, an artist sells the permission to use the artwork and transfers the copyright he/she has in the artwork to the client.
Who Takes the Artist Licensing Agreement?
The licensing artwork contract is between an artist and a person or an organization that wishes to get rights to such artwork. The artist has absolute rights over the artwork, like rights of public display, rights of modification, right to distribute, etc. Any person, company, or organization, willing to use the artwork for commercial purposes and any artist willing to sell the rights to such an artwork take this artist agreement.
Purpose of the Artist Licensing Agreement
Also known as the artist copyright agreement, the use of artwork agreement is essential to ensure that neither party is cheated when licensing artwork for commercial use.
- The artist license agreement is an integral part of growing an artist’s business; it also adds a layer of formalization.
- It protects the artist and the client both in case of a breach.
- It allows the artist to control how the artwork can be used.
- It is a very crucial document that serves as evidence and can be referred in case of a future dispute.
- It lays down the rights, obligations of both parties.
Contents of the Artist Licensing Agreement
A good artist licensing agreement contains the following:
- The names and details of the licensee and the licensor (or the artist and the client).
- The duration of the agreement (whether it is for a limited period or a lifetime).
- The products and the means through which an artist’s work shall be used after licensing.
- The compensation and royalties that will be paid to the artist, along with the mode and frequency of payment.
- How the contract can be terminated and the notice period.
- Definitions of several terms used in the contract.
How to Draft the Artist Licensing Agreement
Keep these points in mind while drafting an agreement to create a loophole-free document:
- While drafting the contract, you must define where the artwork can be used.
- Include a clause that mentions whether the rights are transferred for a limited period or a lifetime.
- Mention when and how the royalty will be paid.
- Insert a clause to determine whether copyright ownership has been transferred. Will it be a transfer of copy rights or grant of rights?
- Address whether the contract can be renewed automatically.
- Determine whether the contract is exclusive or non-exclusive.
- Make sure that the copyright license agreement is written in clear language.
- Mention the governing law of the contract and dispute resolution procedure.
- Include the boilerplate legal clauses like confidentiality, severability, etc.
- Insert a clause that requires approval from the writer for the use of the product. Also, write about samples.
- Insert a clause that deals with credit and whether the artist’s name/logo/impression will appear everywhere the product is used.
Almost everything in the contract can be negotiated. A good negotiation strategy will result in a meatier contract for either side. The points of the time, credit, compensation, royalties, and usage are where negotiation is critical, so both parties can get a deal that is beneficial and not unfair.
Benefits & Drawbacks of the Artist Licensing Agreement
Here are the benefits of the contract:
- It prevents the misuse or exploitation of an artist’s artwork.
- The contract serves as proof.
- For the client, it ensures that they get original artwork that is not plagiarized.
- It reduces risks for both parties.
These are the drawbacks of the contract:
- As most contracts are customized, it involves hiring an attorney. This can be an expensive affair.
- In case of an exclusive contract, that artist may lose the right to the artwork or making more money from it.
- It can be a time-consuming process.
- More exposure as a result of the agreement can lead to IP thefts.
What Happens in Case of Violation of Artist Licensing Agreement
A violation of the artist agreement can happen when the client does not use the product according to agreed-upon standards or fails to pay the artist or in other ways. An artist can violate the contract by falsely claiming to have a copyright to that product or in other ways. The injured party can claim monetary damages, the basic remedies of breach of contract(1), and any other relief that is specific to the nature of the contract.
Art licensing is a 70-billion USD industry, which is growing every day. This is why the contracts for such licensing are drafted very frequently and are considered to be vital for an artist’s career.
If you don’t want to hire an attorney for legal assistance in drafting, go through the licensing agreements templates that are available on the internet, and do a comparative analysis. Choose the clauses that apply to you, and don’t rush to sign the contract