The Need for Vision

October 1998
by Ivan Hoffman, B.A., J.D.

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Ivan HoffmanIvan Hoffman (photo right) is a publishing, copyright, Internet law, recording, and music attorney as well as a published writer and author. He practices in the Los Angeles area. You may reach him at or 818/342-1762.

In the 24+ years that I have been practicing law, I have seen that rights owners or other contracting parties frequently fail to exhibit a wide vision of the market for their product or service. As a result, they often make deals that manifest that lack of vision and end up giving away or failing to ask for rights that can turn out to be very valuable down the line, if not in the immediately foreseeable future. Thus the need for vision.

If the computer age has taught us anything, it is that today’s version of a product can become tomorrow’s new media darling. And those who own or are dealing for the rights to today’s version are in a position to capitalize upon that newly created market if they also own or acquire the rights to the later versions. The product can be a book, a Website, a graphic, a recording or song, some software or the like. Someone will own those other rights and be in the position to make money off of them.

Often the lack of vision comes from simply not understanding the nature of the parties’ rights in the work. The copyright rights that attend the original creation grant rights to exploit and make money in ancillary and related areas. These rights can be kept or licensed to others in exchange for a share of the future revenue. What most often occurs is that for lack of vision, usually rationalized in terms of lack of money, one party chooses to spend his or her limited capital in ways that reflect short-term beliefs and not long-term vision. I’ve…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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