Author Topic: Experience licensing written materials to a company?  (Read 189 times)

Smokystache

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Experience licensing written materials to a company?
« on: February 09, 2018, 08:41:51 AM »
I've created some informational booklets that I sell to business in the US. For example, imagine that I created a series of 6 booklets about nutrition for dogs (Nutrition for your Puppy, Nutrition for your Aging Dog, etc.) and I sell them to veterinarians and pet services companies that provide them for free to their customers. The current model is that I control all aspects of the booklets: I wrote them, I paid for the graphic design and have exclusive rights to them, I choose the printer and the quality of paper/printing, etc. If a company wants them, I place an order with my chosen printer and drop ship them to the company and they choose how to distribute them.

I've been approached by a company in the Philippines that wants to use my booklets. It seems that offering them a licensing arrangement would be simplest for me and cheapest for them (I'm assuming they can print them cheaper there and eliminates shipping/customs, etc. etc. ). What are some things I should be thinking about in terms of a licensing agreement?

Here's what I've thought about so far:
- Fees: 2 options I've considered are a per/booklet fee or a "print as many as you want within a specified time frame". As for the per/booklet fee, I have no idea how I could possibly confirm how many booklets they actually print - so I'm leaning toward the latter option of print as many as you like (and charge a large fee for those rights.
- I would not allow them to use any portion to create new materials (they have to use what I give them and I don't give up my copyright, they can't create ebooks or use parts of them for blog posts, etc.)
- Try to create as much value for the company as possible by offering to have an exclusive relationship with this company (in terms of not working with any other Filipino company - this isn't giving up much, I'm frankly shocked that this company is interested and they believe my materials would be useful at all), being willing to customize the booklets to include name/logo of the company, and being willing to make small adjustments to language (they are fine with the materials being in English, but I have to assume that some language/examples may be better if adjusted).
- The agreement will have a clear licensing time period (e.g., 2 years, 5 years) with an option to continue, but without guaranteeing that the fees would remain the same. Both parties have the right to not renew the agreement.
- Be clear that they can't resell the booklets (this is the current model I use in the US) - I don't want them to be used to profit the company ... but maybe I should be open to this if they are willing to pay me more?

I naturally want to optimize this to earn as much as possible, but I also realize that this may be some of the easiest money that I can make from products I've already created. So I'm trying to walk the line between these.

I realize this is a pretty specific question, but any general licensing pitfalls that I should be thinking about??

SeattleCPA

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Re: Experience licensing written materials to a company?
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2018, 03:39:36 PM »
This general observation which is sort of relevant.

After I'd written about 150 computer reference books (E.g., QuickBooks for Dummies), I decided it'd be a good time to start a computer book publishing company. (This was right around the year 2000...)

Curiously, the venture in the end didn't turn out horribly. Simply bad. (Remember the tech crash.) But one of the things I had experience with was licensing my books to foreign (i.e., non-US ) publishers. And I would say it's a risky proposition based on my experience.

My best book, e.g., was a title called MBA's Guide to Microsoft Excel. Which actually sold pretty well.

Unfortunately, once I had licensed that to countries with poor copyright laws and little respect for intellectual property, those jokers were selling their poorly printed "licensed" books in the US via amazon.com etc.

Given this, were I to do that again, I would probably not license very much outside the US myself. (What I would wonder about would be partnering with some larger publisher who has experience protecting themselves against plagarism and piracy? Because maybe they have some experience and expertise in this area?)

Take all this with a grain of salt.
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Smokystache

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Re: Experience licensing written materials to a company?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2018, 10:58:29 AM »
Always enjoy your thoughts Seattle - thanks for chiming in.