VI. How do I make money off of my art, music, or other copyrighted work?

VI. How do I make money off of my art, music, or other copyrighted work?

If you’re an artist who wants to work on your art full time, this is an important question. Some people decide that giving away their work is the most prudent thing they can do to launch or help their artistic career. For established artists or for those who don't want to go that route, the path is less clear.
With fixed works—whether CDs, novels, fine art sculptures, or anything similar—artists can make money in two principle ways: licensing their copyright or outright assigning their copyright (i.e., fully selling their rights in a work). 
For example, the traditional major record label contract used to be an "assignment of rights." In exchange for a certain amount of money upfront (which can be thought of as a loan), a musician or band will give up certain or all copyrights they would have in their sound recordings. 
This has affected several high profile artists, recently Bob Marley’s estate went to court over the ownership of some of Marley’s sound recordings. The court found that Island Records, not the Marley family, were entitled to the profits from the recordings.
If you have general questions about the ways that to creators make money off of their works through sale, licensing, or if you have specific questions about a licensing or assignment agreement that you are about to enter into, feel free to contact New Media Rights via our contact form to find out whether you qualify for free or reduced fee legal services. We also offer competitive full fee legal services on a selective basis. For more information on the services we provide click here.
Frequently asked questions about making money with your creative work

The contents of this guide were created through support from the CCPF - the California Consumer Protection Foundation




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