Commercialising copyright

Copyright can be thought of as a bundle of separate rights relating to the treatment of original works. The copyright owner is the only person permitted to exercise those rights (or allow other people to exercise them), so each right can carry economic value.

Ways to commercialise your copyright


The range of ways to commercialise copyright varies hugely depending on the type of original work and the intentions  of the owner.  However, commercialisation will generally boil down to copying, publishing, distributing, or performing the work personally, licensing these rights to a third party, or selling all the rights.

Choosing between these approaches will typically depend on who has more ability to market and trade in the work to consumers. Even where the original author is the main driving force behind the commercialisation of a work, it is often necessary to grant some rights to third parties, at least temporarily, in order to facilitate the performance, display, or distribution of the work.

What should an agreement include?


The most important things in any copyright commercialisation agreement include certainty around what bundle of rights are being granted to the other party, whether these rights are exclusive, how long the rights are granted for, when they may be altered or terminated, and how compensation will work. The types of agreement you might require to commercialise your copyright can take many forms and will depend on your needs. For example, an agreement to sell photographic prints may look very different to a royalty agreement for selling digital stock photos.

For help with commercialising your copyright, contact our specialist team today.

Meet our experts

  • Joseph Bracewell
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  • +64 9 373 3137
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    Head of Dispute Resolution, Auckland

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    Senior Associate, Wellington

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