Big question about licensing fees

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    • #43228

      I am new here, and have already learned a lot from searching the forums, but I did not see anything specific on this. I am a long time science educator that has started producing short, educational videos aimed at teachers, students, and science buffs. I am a one man operation, from research to writing, from setting cameras and lights to post production. I manage to crank out at least one video a week, and currently have 160 videos on my site.

      I have been approached by a major educational company that is starting up a science education website. They are asking to license about 90 of my videos, and I have no idea at all of what to charge. They want long term rights, at least 10 years, and they really want perpetual rights. They don’t have a problem with me continuing to use the videos on my site, but they want an exclusive agreement that I won’t license the videos to anyone else.

      You can see an example of my work at:

      Any suggestions? Are there “video agents” out there that know the ropes, who would keep me from drastic over/under pricing? Any help would be appreciated.

    • #181164

      Hi Rob –

      I have not been in the enviable position of someone wanting to license a large number of my videos, however, when I was doing professional still work, exclusive use always carried a much bigger price tag. Possibly you should ask for a smaller flat fee up front and then a percentage of the GROSS (not NET).

      I looked at a couple of the videos – They are very well made and you certainly deserve to reap the rewards of your hard work (love the ending of Mirage, maybe a new career as a songwriter/singer?).

      I hope some of our other pros who have been in your shoes chime in here.

    • #181165

      Thanks Paul, and thanks for the kind words about my videos. I started out working with a production company, with me doing the writing and talent, and them doing the cameras and post production. One day I got a call from them, telling that some old debts had caught up with them, and that they were out of business, so overnight, I became a producer, learning to do it all. I still have TONS to learn, but I am having a blast. This is such a powerful medium, and learning the camera and editing side of things has made a huge difference in the way that I script things.

      I like the suggestion about a small flat fee and a percentage. It would be great to have an income stream from this.

    • #181166


      Congrats on the offer. Now you are seriously getting deep into distribution rights/entertainment law territory. I cannot stress your not going any further with this without an experienced entertainment lawyer to help you hash out an agreement both you and your potential distributor can live with. Usually the deal goes down as an upfront fee for the license based upon x= years + royalties percentage based upon net or gross sales to be paid quarterly to annually. The lawyer will be able to help you hash out the details and keep an eye out against infringement. You’ll also need a CPA to keep tabs on where the money goes and negotiate regular audits (on occasion money owed you may get ‘misplaced’.) It’s all very exciting until you have to throw down on the business side of production. You do want to cut a fair deal for both sides, but you also want to make sure you don’t get ripped off either.

    • #181167

      wow, congrats! you deserve it. My wife is a science teacher – showed her your website and she loves it. We’ve made videos for her classes – but lame ones, nothing like what you do, very cool – especially as school corporations are starting the laptops-for -every-student initiatives. good luck

    • #181168

      It would be a good idea to have this operation send you THEIR “general agreement and/or contract” so your legal counsel would have a better target to focus on as well. Or, if you are not particularly “fond” of legal beagles, then at least YOU could possibly make a more sound assessment of their whereas and wherefore legalese.

    • #181169

      Wow! Thanks for the great advice. This is a totally new world for me, and I appreciate the help. I will post the progress here, in case anyone finds it useful. If you think of anything else, I am all ears.

    • #181170

      Why not produce, package, market and sell your production library yourself on Amazon? There’s a way to do this without generating migraine headaches, only less intense headaches 😉

      Keeo ALL the proceeds for yourself – well, over and above the HUGE rake Amazon takes off the top, but hey, they do it all for you after you get product made, and buddy you’ve got a SLEW, a BOATLOAD of product to sell. A little promotion, direct-mail and some generation of interest on the various social networks could get you going strong!

    • #181171

      Just a brief word in regard to your videos “content”…the way science has been taught is downright wrong. It would be refreshing if more teachers like yourself would educate the young folks on Tesla, Viktor Schauberger, Rudolf Steiner and so many more that simply are NOT taught in school nor colleges.

      Since I do not have access to your whole library I will just assume you do not have these geniuses in your videos.

      For those reading this though, check out (youtube) those few geniuses I noted and you will quickly realize what I am noting. Schools have been so, so, so dumb-downed that we need REAL teachers with REAL information and then kids will LOVE learning. Cheers.

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