Contracts are not the fun, sexy, creative side of the art licensing business… well, Maria Brophy and some attorneys might disagree because they let out their creativity in this arena. But to the average artist, it is more of a necessary evil.

I created a video about three things to consider before signing any art licensing agreement.  In my mind – I mean ANY – not just “Your First”.  With each new deal that comes my way I look at these three key points.

The 3 things to consider before signing an art licensing contract include:

1. Basic Terms.

Are they there and are they well defined.  The absolute basics include:

  • what ART is being licensed
  • PRODUCT(s) the art will be on
  • TERRITORY – where will the products be sold
  • TERM – how long the contract lasts
  • PAYMENT – how and when you will be paid

These are the basics, most contracts have more and what you need will depend on your business, the deal and many other personal factors.

2.  Termination Clause

How can you get out of a contract BEFORE the end of the contract term, if things aren’t working.  This is REALLY important!  What if the product is never made?  If you have no way out, your art is tied up for 2-3 years and unable to make you money.  Not good!

3.  How much will the contract effect your business – especially if you miss some key points?

My rule of thumb is this:  the broader the impact on your ability to make money with your art, the more you should consider paying for outside help before signing a contract.  Two examples of contracts I would always have reviewed include an agreement with an Agent to fully represent my work or an agreement with a manufacturer that is exclusive for an entire industry (rather than by design).  Both of these could really hurt my business if they weren’t performing and I had no way out…

Watch the video and learn more details of my thought process on this…

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The good news is, you CAN learn to understand art licensing contracts and also understand when to bring in outside help.

How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts by Maria Brophy and Tara ReedA good place to start to educate yourself about the many bits and pieces of art licensing contracts is in the eBook, How to Understand Art Licensing Contracts, by myself and  Maria Brophy. Learn more and get your copy at  There are also Short License Agreement Templates available by Maria Brophy as well.

Need help with a contract?

Check the “Find an Attorney” tab on this blog (if you are an attorney that works in the art licensing industry and you would like to be included, just let me know!)  Maria Brophy also offers contract reviews and consultations as well >

Here’s to your creative success!

– Tara Reed