what is the standard rate for life rights purchase agreement in TV, film and books? 2 Answers as of August 26, 2013

I am wondering what standard rate (or range) for a life rights option/purchase agreement. Specifically, the option and purchase price for: TV, Film and Book. What is a recommended term.

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Roe Law Firm
Roe Law Firm | Theodore M. Roe
This entirely depends on the person's life to which the rights are being obtained. i.e., the President of the United States, or a garbage person would have a substantially different value to their life rights. There are to many variables for there to be a standard rate but rather this is the product of a negotiated value.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 8/26/2013
Lawyer for Indie Media
Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
It all depends on whose life and what is being purchased. Generally speaking, if a person is a public figure who is in the news, there is no contract needed to write a story about the particular events that have made the person newsworthy. However, you cannot infringe on any writer's copyright by borrowing the research they have done for a magazine article, long news story, blog post, book, or other such researched writing. You always will need a good lawyer to work closely with you on this for the duration of the project. If you are seeking a contract, you are seeking the cooperation of the person or people whose real life story is being told. You are seeking their help in telling you the story, in making photos and other items available to you, etc. You would want this all specified out in the contract. Once the story is written, you want a certain amount of time to try to sell it. There are two prices that are of concern: the option itself and the sales price and percentages in the event of a sale. The price for the option will vary greatly depending on who the person is, if others seek the same cooperation, if the deal is exclusive or nonexclusive, how long the option is, and what duties the person will have. Another important factor is whether the person will be able to assist in getting releases from others who are part of the story. Again, keep in mind that if a person is in the news, obtaining their life story rights may have very little merit or financial value. In any case, you should be consulting with a lawyer. If you are working on a story about a person who is not in the news, then you will need a contract where they agree to share with you. I suggest having a lawyer work closely with you to help design a contract that allows you time and cooperation to get the story, to write it, and to sell it. The contract should reflect fairness to all in the terms of being paid, both upfront and later. The agreement should be devised so that the experience is gratifying and good for all.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/23/2013
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