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What are “Rights”?

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A right is permission given by the owner of a certain piece of property to use his or her work. When producing an type of media (film, TV, theatre, web series) you must own the rights to the material that the media is based on. Here are some important things to remember when attaining the rights to a piece of property:

–       Make sure whoever is selling you the rights indeed owns the rights. Have him/her present the property documentation proving that they are the rightful owner. This documentation is known as a chain of title.

–       Sign a written agreement. If possible, hire an entertainment lawyer to draft up an agreement for you.

–       Make sure there is consideration. Something of value has to be exchanged by both parties. In other words, you must pay something for the rights – even if it’s one dollar. Rights cannot be attained for free.

–       Specify what type of rights you are getting. There are many types of rights and it is important for both parties to know what types of rights are being exchanged. For example, the owner may only want to give you motion picture rights, but not television rights.

–       Specify a term in which your ownership of the rights will last.

–       Make sure that you are getting the EXCLUSIVE rights so that nobody else can use the property.

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