How and Why Copyrighted Works Can Be Commercialized

    How and Why Copyrighted Works Can Be Commercialized

    A copyright is a form of intellectual property protection which protects original works fixed in a specific medium of expression. Copyrightable works include creative works in audio, video, or textual form; computer software and programs; derivative works; and broadcasts, among others.

    In many instances, a copyright owner may choose to commercialize a copyrighted work. This is not only a common procedure; it is also one which can provide the copyright owner with many benefits. Commercialization of a copyrighted work allows the owner to maximize the work’s marketability and profitability. This commercialization may take place through either standard licensing, the issuance of a Creative Commons license, or a third-party organization.


    Licensing is the most common method used to commercialize a copyrighted work. In the process of licensing, the owner of a copyright provides a licensee with a limited set of rights. These limited rights are granted on a temporary basis according to stipulations listed in the licensee’s contract. In return, the licensee is to pay royalties to the copyright owner. Royalty payments made by a licensee allow the licensee to commercialize the copyrighted work in the broader market.

    When a licensee commercializes a copyrighted work, the licensee must abide by the limitations in force. The most frequently enforced limitation is the quantity of copies or units of the work to be produced. These limitations ensure that the work’s value will remain intact through its consistent use. They also ensure that the integrity of the work’s ownership remains intact. 

    Creative Commons License

    A Creative Commons license differs from ordinary licenses which are used in most licensing agreements. Creative Commons licenses provide licensees with the right to free use of copyrighted works in specific circumstances. The scope of permitted activities afforded is unique to each Creative Commons license; nevertheless, many of them permit commercialization of copyrighted works to take place.

    Creative Commons licenses provide a copyright owner with flexibility as it pertains to commercialization. These licenses can be modified to permit all, some, or even no commercial activity to be conducted by those who are to distribute the work. A Creative Commons license also guards those who use or distribute a copyrighted work from accusations of copyright infringement as long as one with such a license abides by the terms and conditions stated within the license.

    Third-Party Organization

    Sometimes, copyrighted works can be commercialized with the assistance of a third-party organization. A copyright owner might agree to share intellectual property rights pertaining to a copyrighted work with such an organization in exchange for financial compensation. That organization may then utilize its own resources or enter into agreements with other entities to commercialize the work.

    When such organizations commercialize a creator’s work, the organizations which do so are to consistently inform the creator of the progress of the work’s commercialization. Any revenue generated through a third-party organization is to be divided between the original copyright owner and the organization. This division is to take place according to the terms of a collective bargaining agreement as well as those of other related agreements.

    Reasons to Commercialize Copyrighted Works

    There are several key reasons why a copyright owner should consider commercializing any copyrighted works. As was previously mentioned, the most important benefit of commercialization is financial profit. Commercialization allows a copyright owner to reap a significant amount of revenue through the marketing of the commercialized copyrighted work.

    The commercialization of a copyrighted work can also facilitate future business ventures. This is made possible through the revenue generated by this commercialization. The revenue can then be channeled towards the development of further copyrightable works, allowing the process to repeat itself. 

    Commercialization also helps the copyrighted work in question reach more people. The more a specific copyrighted work is commercialized, the more people will have access to it and thus find out more about the copyright owner. This will in turn make copyright owners more able to establish themselves within their respective industries.

    This article is brought to you by Exy Intellectual Property Malaysia and Singapore.

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