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Why It’s Important to Own Your Copyright

Do you create content for someone else?

You’ve likely wondered what’s the difference between giving someone permission or license to that creative work and giving them copyright ownership.

Think of copyright as a bundle of rights. What comes in bundles? How about a bouquet of flowers!

As a copyright owner, you are the only one with the right to use that content. In other words, only you can license, sell, copy, or distribute it.

Each of those is a separate right in that bundle (or bouquet). So think of each right as a little flower you can either give to different people, or you can keep for yourself.

  • If you own a copyright you own and control all of the little flowers in that bundle or bouquet.
  • If you’re licensing something, you’re giving away permission to use that flower or that right for a specific purpose.

For example, when you own the copyright, you can give your client or collaborator permission to use that creative work on social media for a certain amount of time. But if they want to go beyond that such as using it in a print ad or another advertising campaign, or on a website, they have to ask you permission first.

If they own the copyright, they can do whatever they want with it, whether it’s photos, graphics, video, captions, etc. This includes using somebody else, another content creator, to create new material based on your original work, and they don’t have to credit you for it.

With ownership, you keep all the flowers in that bundle for yourself. You give permission to someone to hold or use the flower you give them for that right for a specific purpose or for a specific amount of time.

If you don’t keep ownership, and you grant ownership to someone else, they can do whatever they want with it.

How do you get back your bouquet even if you don’t own your copyright? Hot tip:

If you do you find yourself in a situation where you’re giving away all your rights, here’s a little tip. You can still request (in writing!) that you can still use those materials for promotional purposes. Areas like your:

  • portfolio
  • website
  • social media as examples of your work

This area is sometimes called a media release, or promotional release or marketing release. Don’t forget to ask for that!

Want to reign in your copyrights? Grab my IP Rights Agreement Contract Kit™ This Contract Kit will guide you through the steps and edits you need to make to ensure that you wrap up the rights to that content so that you can sleep easy when it comes to knowing this content is yours and only yours.