Rights and Clearances Specialist

Secure legal permission to use songs, videos, and clips in feature films.

What does a Rights and Clearances Specialist do?

A Writer has created a beautiful story set in the 1960s. Characters gambol about on monuments, listen to speeches by John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., and turn on the radio to sing along with the latest Beatles song. When this story is filmed, these small details can turn into legal nightmares, unless the Producer of the shot has secured permission for the set, the clips, and the songs. As a Rights and Clearances Specialist, you secure this permission, helping the Producer stay out of the courtroom.

Unlike a Music Clearance Agent, a Rights and Clearances Specialist deals with all sorts of licensing issues, and can handle permissions for images, sets, clips, photos, artwork, and more. The Producer provides you with a script, and you get to work looking for items held under copyright. At the end of your research, the script is littered with notes and highlighting.

For each item, the Rights and Clearances Specialist determines who owns the rights, who the creator is, and how much it will cost to secure the rights to use it in the film. This means spending a lot of time writing letters that describe the project, and asking for pricing for your usage. Often, you drop the names of the Actors and the Director in your letters to entice the owners to play ball.

When you’ve completed your research, you pull together a report for the Producer, detailing how much the rights for each item will cost. Sometimes, you suggest alternatives for items that are too costly. When the items are approved, you send contracts to the owners to secure the rights.