The do's and the don'ts, the opportunities, the pitfalls and the way character licensing works have recently been put up for discussion in our Linkedin group.
A number of group members immediately urged everyone thinking about going down the licensing route to ensure that their creations are properly protected. While some thought that it is essential to copyright work, a representative of the British organisation Own-it pointed out that if you live in a country that has signed the Berne convention for the protection of literary and artistic work, you automatically own the copyright to your work. The full text of the Berne Convention can be found here.
She went on to say that, in the USA, registering your work greatly helps with enforcement and that Own-it recommends registering copyright in order to protect valuable intellectual assets.
An executive for an Asia based licensing firm then picked up on a point made by the IP developer who started the discussion, according to which, “There was a time when character-led IPs needed to have a presence in the market already before licensing agents would consider taking on a property".
The executive thought that character properties that had already achieved a certain level of public recognition are indeed highly prized for their revenue power, but that promoting up and coming talent is also very important, to ensure that the pipeline for new properties does not dry up.
In response, the IP developer asked him, what the many members of Characters Engage who create characters and are thinking about taking the licensing route should ask themselves about their properties. In short, he wanted to know what licensing agents are looking for in a character based IP.
The licensing executive explained that when characters engage with target audiences, products, services and stakeholders, licensing becomes feasible.
He thought that character creators should honestly consider questions such as: What is a character supposed to achieve and where is it supposed to achieve these things? What are the superior and inferior aspects of the character, when compared to all others? Has the character's appeal with the target audience been verified and how was this confirmed? Has it been compared with two or three successful licensing projects that use a similar business model, and what are the terms and the price for licensing it?
This informative discussion looks set to continue, so why not join our group and share your thoughts about licensing characters... here.