Selling a font as a natural person

Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 601
edited November 2018 in Type Business
Without running my own business/company, what are my options for selling an exclusive license/transferring copyright to a client based in the UK (I live in Poland)? I considered having the client draft a contract agreement for us (she would need to hire a solicitor).


  • @Adam Ladd Thanks for the compliments.  I'm happy to help
  • >>What you'll get from him is work off templates that are not crafted to your specific needs.<<

    Not in my experience working with Frank.
  • @James Montalbano That's good to know.  Regardless, if one is going to the trouble of hiring an attorney it should be someone you can definitely use again.  Frank has so many industry clients that the odds are he also represents anyone you might enter into an agreement with who is also in fonts.  Sure, you can sign a waiver of conflict but I just don't believe humans are self aware enough to prevent themselves from being biased.  Myself included.  It's best just to stay away and get someone without any other font clients.
  • Thanks for the info, Joyce. I am definitely getting in touch with an attorney.
    I am wondering how a copyright transfer works in different jurisdictions. You say that it equals selling all your options, and that seems logical, but I've been doing some research, and some Polish source claims that both a license agreement and a copyright transfer agreement need to stipulate fields of exploitation that the agreement covers. Which would mean that it doesn't mean selling all options. Is that different in your jurisdiction?
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 373
    edited November 2018
    I think you are talking about Natural Rights.  This is an idea we don't have in America that some of Europe does have.  I don't fully understand it but it amounts to saying that the person who created something has some inalienable rights that they cannot sell (to extravagantly over simplify, it's sorta the opposite idea to work for hire).  I'm also not sure if those concepts relate to you since you will have made the work in a jurisdiction which doesn't have that concept. These are questions that even some American attorneys may not be fully familiar with.  
  • The client is based in the UK, not US.
    What I meant is that if I assign copyright rights and narrow down the fields of exploitation to, say, printing, then I still retain copyright for embedding and web. Ok, that sounds illogical, because how can I stop people from printing webpages? Perhaps that's when the specificity of fonts comes into play. Anyway, I see that licensing seems saner than ceding copyright.
    Natural rights, from what I could gather, is a universal idea, which is about rights that cannot be restricted by any human law. By this definition Europe still thinks you have it in America :) Another thing is the distinction between moral copyright and economical copyright (moral can't be sold).
  • JoyceKettererJoyceKetterer Posts: 373
    edited November 2018
    I don't think you can assign just print rights.  Assignment of rights usually means ownership of the IP.  But I'm no attorney and legal concepts are not always intuitive.  This is why you always want to hire one.
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 601
    edited November 2018
    I started drafting the agreement myself just to try to determine what my options are and if it makes sense at all. From the info that I gathered, by Polish law the difference between a copyright assignment and an exclusive license is that a copyright is by default perpetual, and a license is by default for 5 years. Moreover, a license cannot be set for a fixed period longer than 5 years—if it is, then after this period has elapsed, the license becomes an indefinite period license, which means it can be terminated with a notice period.
    About selling just print copyright, I could compare this to books: (in Poland, unless the sources I found were wrong, and IANAL) you can sell copyright for publishing the book, but keep the copyright to making a film adaptation. Again, a license is an option in this case too, and a one in favor of the author.
  • @Adam Jagosz  my apologies fir somehow thinking you were in Portland.  I was probably sleepy when I read your post.  Some of what I wrote should be adjusted for the fact you are not in the US.  

    I see now what you're saying about different kinds of rights. I'm not sure how much that concept is transferable with fonts but I get the idea.  
  • @JoyceKetterer No problem. I did see “Portland” but I thought it was autocorrect. I'm sorry I didn't clear that up right away.
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