chapter  21
21 Pages

Dramatization and documentary rights: stage, radio, television and film rights

These rights cover the right to make a dramatized version of a literary work through a variety of media: the stage, radio, television and cinematograph film. In recent years, it has become far less likely for these rights (in particular stage, television and film rights) to be held by the publishing house; they are more likely to be retained by the author’s agent. For older books, books with less obvious potential for exploitation in these media and books where the author is not represented by an agent, the rights may well lie with the publishing house. It is therefore vital that the head contract be checked carefully before entering into any negotiations; even if the publisher is contractually entitled to handle such rights, it may still be necessary for the author to approve a deal or to be the signatory to a contract for audiovisual rights if the author remains the copyright owner, because of the stringent warranties required in this area of licensing.