More and more businesses are taking to the internet to create and share online content to boost their brand. If you have created online content for your business, others should only be using that content if you have granted them permission to do so. Granting this permission is usually completed through a content licence agreement. A content licence agreement provides one party with the right to use content that another party owns. This article will unpack the key clauses you should include in a content licence agreement if you wish to grant someone permission to use your content.

1. Licence

If you create content, you are automatically the owner of that content. 

For example, if you write an article, you will immediately have legal rights over the article when you write it.

If someone copies that article and pastes it on their website without your permission, they will have infringed your copyright. If you want to permit them to use your content, you should do this in the form of a licence.

2. Content

Your content licence agreement should clearly outline what content you are licensing to the other party.

For example, outline whether you will be proving the licence to a one-off video, or to regular video content once a month.

This is crucial as it will outline that the other party cannot use different pieces of content that you have created.

3. Scope

Once you have addressed what content you will be licensing, you should describe the scope of the licence. One consideration regarding the scope should be whether the licence will be exclusive. If a licence is exclusive, it means that you cannot licence that piece of content to any other businesses.

There may be some cases where a particular company wants to feature an article of yours on their website and will want to ensure that you do not license the same article to any other business. Other times, you might want the flexibility to use the content yourself and license it out to other companies. 

Here, you should also be clear that the other business cannot sublicense or sell your content to any third parties. If they do so, they may have more rights over the content than you originally intended.

4. Territory

The licence should outline where the other business is allowed to use your content. For many online businesses, the licence will allow the business to use the content anywhere in the world. 

However, if you are providing content in a more controlled format, you could restrict the business’ use of the content to a specific geographical location.

For example, if your content takes the form of a flyer, you can restrict the other business to only use it within New South Wales, if you wish.

5. Use of the Content

The content licence agreement should clearly state how the other business can use the content.

For example, you may only want the other business to publish an article of yours on a particular page of their website, and you specifically do not want them to post it on any other page of their website, or in print media. 

You may also like to include terms around the attribution of ownership. Here, you can ask that your name and brand is listed on the content and that a link is provided back to your website.

6. Alterations to Your Content

The content licence agreement should outline who will own any alterations to the content. 

For example, if the business was to modify your content or add something to it, you may wish to stipulate that you will still own those improvements.

Alternatively, you could also use the content licence agreement to make it clear that the business cannot change your content in any way.

7. Length of the Content Licence

The content licence agreement should outline how long you intend to license the content.

For example, this could be indefinitely, or for a specific period of time. 

Even if you choose to license the content indefinitely, you can still revoke the licence if the other business breaches the agreement. 

This could occur, for example, in situations where the other person uses the content for reasons you did not licence it for, or if they do not acknowledge who created the content when you had asked them to do so.

8. Licence Fee and Payment

When licensing your content to another business, you should consider whether you want to receive payment for this. For some companies, asking for a link back to their website will be sufficient compensation. However, other businesses may expect to be paid. 

If this is the case for you, the content licensing agreement should outline how much the other party must pay you for the content licence. This may be: 

  • a flat monthly figure;
  • a one-off payment; or
  • based on the number of views. 

The content licensing agreement should also state what the payment terms are, including:

  • how often you will invoice them; and 
  • when you expect to receive payment.

9. Liability

If you are providing your content to another business, you must make sure you are not legally responsible for: 

  • anything the other company does with the content;
  • the content not being suitable for their business requirements; or
  • any of their customers relying on your content to make business and legal decisions.

Your content licence agreement should, therefore, include clauses to exclude your liability in certain situations and limit your liability in others.

Key Takeaways

If you want to provide your content to another business to use, you should formalise this in a content licence agreement. Using a formal agreement is crucial so that you can clearly set out the parameters of your licence, including: 

  • what content you are providing;
  • what the other business can use it for; and 
  • any prohibited conduct.

If you have questions about drafting or reviewing a content licensing agreement, contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

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