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What is a Film Rights Acquisition Agreement?

There are a lot of different considerations to make when it comes to planning the production of a film and transferring ownership or rights to literary property along the way. A studio may hire a scriptwriter. Or they may find a script they love and wish to produce. At which time a shopping agreement is provided. Allowing time to find and secure appropriate funding to produce the film. Once the filmmaker establishes funding, they might seek an option agreement which represents a film rights acquisition agreement. Made between the filmmaker and the screenplay owner.

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The film rights acquisition agreement represents a key area of importance in the relationship and agreement entered into between the filmmaker and the screenplay owner.

Understanding the film rights acquisition agreement and what it means for the filmmaker is important. Moreover, as certain clauses or restrictions included in the contract could result in key changes down the line.

What is a Film Rights Acquisition Agreement?

The film rights acquisition agreement represents an option agreement. One made between the screenplay owner and the film producer. Providing the right to the film producer to produce the motion picture.

The film rights acquisition agreement might grant the producer the right to adapt the work for the screen. In addition to the right to record an associated soundtrack with the film.

And the right to assign license rights and to exercise distribution rights upon the production of the motion picture project.

Exercise Price

Furthermore, under the film rights acquisition agreement the screenplay owner will provide certain rights to the film producer. In exchange for payment of what is called an exercise price.

And a percentage of net profits paid out as a royalty. In exchange for this agreement, the owner will waive all moral rights that are otherwise afforded in the screenplay. 

Although the terms of a film rights acquisition agreement can vary between project to project. Based on the individual terms that are outlined between the producer and the screenwriter.

The general consensus is that these deals will include details regarding:

  • The right to produce the screenplay into a motion picture.
  • Payment to be provided to the screenwriter.
  • The right to re-acquire the rights to the screenplay if the motion picture is not produced in a specified time (usually 5 years).
  • Details regarding any profit sharing or royalty percentage payments to be made in the future.

The Takeaway

So say you’re new to selling a screenplay. It’s important to talk with legal counsel before signing a film rights acquisition agreement and relinquishing rights to your intellectual property!

Finally, make sure you hire effective counsel to assist you in understanding your rights. As well as the rights you will give away by entering into this agreement. 

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