Now that you've created your information product, you might consider using a license agreement to allow others to market and sell it for you. A license agreement grants someone else ("the licensee") the right to use your product. Without one, a seller or marketer would be using your product illegally and would be liable to you financially.
Licensing Intellectual Property
Why would you license your information product instead of selling it outright to the highest bidder? Here are some reasons:
- To maintain ownership: You might want to own your work, but not have the skills or finances to sell it yourself.
- To control use: You want your product (that has your name on it) to be used properly and not violate your ethics or creative intent.
- To access multiple markets: The person who wants to license your product may be limited in their ability to market worldwide. You can grant non-exclusive licenses to multiple individuals, to sell or distribute your products in different markets.
Elements of a License Agreement
A license agreement can be one page or it can be 10 plus pages. It all depends on the complexity of the underlying intellectual property or how much you paid an attorney. Whatever the length, here are a few terms that you must include in your license agreement:
- Grants of rights: Spell out exactly what the subject matter of your license agreement is, such as the right to distribute, reproduce, adapt or advertise. You'll want to keep the rights as narrow as possible so that you'll retain as much control as possible over your information product.
- Exclusive or Non-exclusive: The fee you charge for an exclusive agreement will be higher because no one else will have the rights to use it (including you in some agreements).
- Term: This spells out the months or years of the license plus any extensions.
- Territory: You may decide to limit where the licensee can use the license, especially with non-exclusive agreements.
- Assignments: You can choose to restrict or not restrict the licensee's ability to grant his license to someone else without your permission.
- Forms of Distribution: Decide how you want your information product distributed in the license agreement, so that you can charge based on the form of media. For example, you'll charge higher if your product is used in a reality show versus distribution as an ebook.
- Payment terms: Decide whether the licensee will pay you a flat fee, a percentage of royalties, a percentage of gross or net sales or other forms of payment.
- Warranties: You will have to make several representations as the licensor, such as the fact that you own and have registered the copyrights to the information product (and that it doesn't violate someone else's copyrights). The licensee will also have to make representations, including the right and ability to perform the duties required in the agreement.
A license agreement can be a great way to earn extra income, and in many cases, it can be faster than trying to market and sell your information product all by yourself. Make sure you clarify all major points of the license agreement before you sign it. It may be worth the investment to hire an attorney to draft one that you can reuse.
Daphne Mallory, Esq. is the co-owner of Mallory Writing Services and has written more than 100 articles helping home based business owners and entrepreneurs start and market their business. You can learn more about her here.