How to License Proprietary Intellectual Property owned by John Counsel and The Profit Clinic
I receive regular requests from people and organisations all over the world, especially publishers, bloggers, content marketers, academics, universities, network marketers, Internet marketers and web masters, for permission to re-publish my articles and other content — my proprietary intellectual property — on their own web sites.
To make my view on this crystal clear, here’s my policy, which I enforce rigorously.
First, though, a timely tale of caution…
In the offline world, whenever someone approaches me with a proposal to license any of my diverse intellectual properties, I introduce them — at the very first meeting — to two very interesting characters, whom I introduce as Ferret and Mad Dog.
Ferret is my forensic auditor. He’s a specialist in Intellectual Property. He’s also a senior partner in one of the largest accounting firms in the world. If a breach of any of my copyrights, patents or trademarks occurs, anywhere in the world, he’ll find it. Sooner rather than later.
Upon successful pursuit of the offenders, he receives 50% of all damages awarded against them (compensatory and punitive damages, plus his costs). Believe me, he is MOTIVATED!
As soon as Ferret reports a breach to me, I review it and, unless there are valid reasons not to proceed, I hand the details to Mad Dog, my IP attorney. He’s a senior partner in one of the world’s largest law firms. (His success rate is truly TERRIFYING.) He then pursues the offenders and either negotiates an acceptable out-of-court settlement (usual) or sues. Like Ferret, Mad Dog receives 50% of all compensatory and punitive damages, plus his costs. So, like Ferret, he is also MOTIVATED!
We have not yet lost a case in more than 20 years of working together. Not a single, solitary one.
Now I realize that you’re probably thinking something like “Wait a minute… if these guys each get 50% of the settlement, what’s left for YOU?”
While I appreciate your concern for my welfare, consider this reality: if we don’t track down and pursue IP thieves, I get nothing. Neither do my professional advisors. That’s our deal. Even worse, the offenders learn the wrong lessons — that there are no consequences to their illegal, immoral actions. This is unfortunate, all round.
My primary professional role is teaching. Everything else I do really just supports that role. If the role of a teacher is to ensure that students learn the correct lessons, then part of a teacher’s role is to ensure that there are always consequences so that the wrong conclusions are not made, and the wrong lessons are not learned.
There are TWO undesirable consequences that follow if I fail to detect and pursue breaches of my intellectual property rights:
- I risk losing my rightful royalties and other entitlements. (I can also lose my IP rights entirely because of failure to protect them.)
- The offenders learn the wrong lessons because there are NO consequences for them.
It’s more important for me, as a teacher, to ensure that the RIGHT lessons are learned. Because then others who may be considering the same folly can learn the RIGHT lessons without them having to endure the same consequences… they can read about it in the newspaper or online, or they hear about it by word of mouth.
This ensures that my losses are limited only to the rare cases where we choose not to pursue offenders. It also ensures that my professional guardians are truly motivated to track down offenders and inflict a genuinely painful consequence upon them as an example to other misguided or venal souls. All of which makes me more effective as a teacher.
Impeccable reasoning, right?
With that cautionary tale in place, let me explain my policy in respect of my intellectual property.
My intellectual property, of all kinds, is unique and easily identifiable. It’s also very useful, practical and uplifting. All of which tends to make it highly desirable to a great many people — and, thus, highly desirable to those wanting to reach such people, for whatever reasons.For these reasons, I rarely consent to use of my intellectual property on other web sites. On the rare occasions when I do, it’s always under very strict terms and conditions, and it’s always subject to a formal licensing agreement.
(Please don’t respond to any approach by Ferret for an explanation of why you are using my IP without a formal licensing agreement with answers like “oh, I thought it was okay to copy it if I credited the author”, “well, everyone else does it”, “I asked, but I got no reply”, “but other sites are using it and you’re not challenging them!” [they may have licenses!] or similar. It just makes him meaner and keener. When that happens, your eventual lesson becomes exceedingly expensive and, very likely, publicly humiliating for you. But it’s your choice.)
If I grant you permission to re-publish my content, here’s what happens:
You’ll be issued with a license in secure PDF format. It will be a digitally signed and certified document that’s legally binding. It will be subject to general and specific conditions, like these.
Conditions of Licence
Failure to comply with any of these conditions will be grounds for termination of the licence.
- This licence must be available for inspection at any time by digital download from a prominent link on each page on which the licensed content appears on the licensed web site, using the format below. (Note: The PDF license is hosted on our servers, not yours.)
- Proper attribution of copyright ownership, with a link to the original web site — ours — on which the licensed content appears, must be prominently displayed at the end of the licensed content on the licensed web site in the following format:
This article © (YEAR) by John Counsel and The Profit Clinic. Licensed for re-publication on this web site. View original article. View licence.
- Important: If the link to the original article (ours) fails to work for any reason, notification of the failure must be given to the copyright owner promptly via our Help Desk at http://profitclinic.com.au/helpdesk/.
- No editing or modification of the licensed content is permitted without prior written consent of the copyright owner.
- This licence may be revoked by the copyright owner at any time, for any reason, without prior notice. The unlicensed content must then be removed from the unlicensed site within three (3) business days of notice of revocation being sent by the copyright owner.
- The licensed content must be made available on the licensed web site free of charge to all visitors. No fee of any kind may be charged to access the licensed content without prior written agreement of the copyright owner for payment of applicable royalties.
If you’re comfortable with that kind of arrangement, and willing to accept those strict conditions (and any others imposed on a case-by-case basis), you’re welcome to apply for a licence to re-publish approved content on your site. But please, do NOT assume that because you apply, you will automatically be granted permission. Permission is rarely granted.
The exception is for special membership programs from The Profit Clinic, in which current members (that is, paid-up!) are granted permission to re-publish specified content under licence.
How to apply for a content licence
1. Gather the following information:
- Your full name.
- Your company or business name and registration number.
- Your street address (not a PO Box or web site). Include post/zip code, state/province and country.
- Your telephone numbers — business hours, after hours, mobile/cell.
- Your Skype username.
- Your email address.
- The name of the web site on which you wish to re-publish my content.
- The URL of your web site.
- What content do you wish to re-publish? Please be specific. Give the title of the article, plus the full URL to the content on the original site (ours).
- WHY do you want to re-publish my content on your site? What will be the benefits to YOU? Your visitors?
- Will the site and re-published content be free to view or will visitors have to pay? Give details.
- Any other information you think will help your case — and help me to decide in your favour.
2. Go to our Help Desk at http://profitclinic.com.au/helpdesk/
3. Open a NEW ticket and apply, including all the information above. Select “Content Licensing Enquiry” as the topic.
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