Thursday, April 28, 2011

How Do I License Information Designs?

Dear Rich: I have created several information designs in the past few years in the hope of seeing them improve commercial communication. I have the additional hope that they could be licensed and generate a little royalty. Is there a company like the Copyright Clearance Center which might work for me? Do I have to PAY a lot up front, especially to an attorney? We think we have a rough idea what information design is all about and we assume that you're talking about licensing specific information design works (for example, things like this or this) and not the underlying tools, elements or processes used to create your designs. These types of works could possibly be licensed through CCC under their RightsLink program (which does not require an attorney's help.) (And of course, you would need to provide a format that contains the various works -- a website, book, or other collective work -- to enable the viewing of your works.)  Organizations such as CCC will manage license arrangements and collect fees but they don't actually bring in the licensing customers. That's still your obligation, either via web traffic or old-fashioned solicitations. To that extent, if you can find licensees on your own, you probably don't need an organization's services and can license directly to customers. You can find plenty of examples of license agreements at Nolo's website or through other sources.