We can’t give any legal advice, and we always recommend that our creators talk to experts such as an attorney or council. However, we thought it would be helpful to give some general legal guidance to Content Creators and Influencers.
The #1 Question
The number one question we get is “ What exactly does it mean to license your content to a brand?” Simply put, it is you giving the brand a right to use the content that you create. The default under the law is whoever creates it owns it. Brands do not have the right to use your content for anything unless you give them the right to do so in a contract. Note: both the brand and the creator should sign the contract.
Work-for-hire content vs. Usage rights
Work-for-hire is when a brand is hiring you to create content and then you’re granting them ownership rights for the content. The brand owns the content and you don’t own it anymore.
Usage rights are when the content is still owned by the creator. You maintain the ownership and you can do with the content what you choose. Then, you’re also granting them the right to use it in a certain way, on certain platforms, for a certain period of time.
A contract is a must!
Regardless of if you get paid or what the terms are, there should be a contract in place. You want to put some kind of cap on any usage rights, and you don’t usually want to give the other party perpetual usage rights, meaning the rights to use it forever because that could significantly impact your ability to monetize that content.
What to charge
We cannot give an exact rate to charge for content, or when to grant perpetual rights because the correct answer depends on a lot of factors. For example, what is the content being used for? How long is the campaign? Do you have a large audience (for influencers)? The list is endless. As a creator, you determine the value of your time and content you are the best judge of what to charge per video based on the requirements and usage rights requested by the brand. And remember, you can always negotiate!
Should you negotiate?
YES! Just because you can negotiate it, doesn’t mean they will agree…BUT you can negotiate any part of a contract. Whether you’d prefer to get payment upfront, or don’t agree to the original terms, need a longer timeframe, want to give a limit for usage rights, or don’t agree to the payment terms… It is your content, you own it and you can control it.
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