When one sells a copyright, what exactly is one selling? 2 Answers as of November 10, 2010

Am I an author, and I am looking to have my book made into a movie. I found an interested producer, but before I start the process, I wanted to know how selling a copyright works. What exactly am I selling?

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Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
First do you have a federally registered copyright or are you relying on common law copyright protection. What you are selling depends on what you want to sell. Is it to be an exclusive or non exclusive license or an outright sale and assignment of copyrights? If it is a sale are you selling all rights including the rights to make a derivative work or just the rights in that one work? Basically you negotiate to sell what you want. Just like your house - you can sell the satellite dish or take it with you. You can sell the hot tub and the appliances as well. You can sell the adjacent lot if you own it or not.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/10/2010
Ochoa and Associates
Ochoa and Associates | Susan Ochoa Spiering
It depends on how the copyright agreement is written. But usually, you are selling the right for someone else to use your book to make the movie, and anything else you allow them to make from your book. You negotiate rights to make, use, sell, or offer to sell anything based on the information in your book. Consider the rights you give away...for example, do you just allow the movie to be made, or also peripheral materials (t-shirts, cups, posters) based on the movie? Do you allow sequels to the movie if it does well? Do you keep the right to review the material from your book (i.e., the movie) ? or do you release all rights (exclusive rights), or just some rights?
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 11/9/2010
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