This article has been written by Riya Gupta, follow a Certificate course in Media and also Entertainment Law: Contracts, Licensing and Regulations from LawSikho.

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What is the procedure to acquire distribution legal rights for films?

If a platform prefer Netflix wants to stream a movie, it will have to go into into a Digital Exploitation commitment with the producer of the film wherein the producer will license the appropriate to connect the film to the public, additionally called a Film circulation Agreement. Over there are various kinds the Film circulation Agreements depending upon the setting of exploitation such as theatrical and non-theatrical. By licensing this right and not assigning it, the producer go not transport the title to the film yet only provides permission come the distributor come stream the movie because that a particular term period. The most crucial clauses of such agreements room the definitions Clause, approve of civil liberties Clause, and the consideration Clause. 

Definitions: the is essential to plainly stipulate what constitutes ‘Licensed Contents’, ‘term’, ‘territory’ and the mode and also platforms the licensee is enabled to usage for exploitation of legal rights granted.

Grant of License: this clause lays down clearly that every rights have been license is granted by way of this agreement. This can likewise include limitations on dubbing, subtitling, editing, altering, not using the content in any type of manner various other than through the i agreeed platform. It is also important to incorporate a residual i within this statement that all residual civil liberties not granted candlestick vest absolutely with the licensor.

What is the Licensing plan of Netflix?

Netflix is an end the height (OTT) platform which method it is a streaming media organization that is offered to the viewers straight through the internet. The does not need cable, satellite television, or a broadcast platform. OTT, in general, means subscription-based video-on-demand service providing accessibility to film and television content. 

Netflix routinely negotiates and also renegotiates agreements with assorted content carriers to license streaming civil liberties for lot of movies and TV shows. A license covenant is comprised under the regards to a legitimate binding contract in between the contents owners and Netflix, and each commitment varies based on the needs of the contents owner and Netflix. Some licenses are restricted for a time when others will last for a perpetuity. Because that this reason, Netflix is constantly updating consumer on what will shortly be available, and also what will shortly disappear. 

For instance, the owners of a TV present may agree to allow Netflix to stream all periods of that display for two, 5 or seven years. The licensing agreement may then be renewed after ~ the collection time duration ends, or if viewing numbers don’t justification that, Netflix will eliminate the present from its archive. Some content might be non-exclusive, and also therefore also accessible on various other streaming services. Licensing agreements that are not exclusive to a solitary streaming platform are much less costly to obtain. This is why something may be easily accessible through an additional streaming service, and not ~ above Netflix. Instances of licensed content encompass second-run movies and also shows such together Shameless from Showtime, How to acquire Away through Murder from ABC, The Office from Universal, and The Godfather from Paramount.

Netflix likewise acquires exclusive legal rights to stream content and produces in-house. Examples of Netflix-branded originals that space nonetheless exclusively licensed content include House the Cards from MRC, Orange is the brand-new Black from Lionsgate and The Crown from Sony. Movies and shows that Netflix produced and owns include Stranger Things, Mind Hunter and The Irishman.

In situation an actor dies before releasing that the Film, Netflix scrambles to get prized content really quickly. This is evident as consumers customarily flock come that contents upon listening of the death of a famous and beloved celebrity. Even though this doesn’t assist Netflix earn any extr revenue but much more importantly, this increases the brand worth of Netflix in the eye of consumers.

Most likely the different content owners structure their deals differently. Variables in play might include:

Number of viewsGeographic marketDuration of agreementLicense come resell, or straight purchaseClauses because that reversionRevenue re-publishing of advertising insertion (if any)Discount for demography data sharingCo-branding or cross-market heralding on different platformsPackage transaction for a variety of media properties

Music and certain authors’ performances that room a part of the content Netflix distributes may require the to obtain licenses for such distribution also. Because that this purpose, Netflix engages in negotiations with arsenal management establishments (“CMOs”) the hold particular rights come music and/or other interests v regard to streaming content into various territories. If they are not maybe to reach mutually acceptable terms through these organizations, Netflix might become connected in lawsuit and/or might be barred indigenous distributing certain content. 

The price of the content business of Netflix

Securing license agreements through filmmakers, TV networks and other content owners is undeniably Netflix’s largest expense. In ~ the finish of 2020, Netflix had actually $25.4 billion precious of content assets top top its balance sheet, up from $24.5 exchange rate the year before.

Of this, licensed content accounted for $13.7 billion in 2020 and $14.7 exchange rate in 2019. The agency is using more of that financial resources in occurring its own TV programs and film. It had $11.6 exchange rate in developed content in 2020, increase from $9.8 billion in 2019.

Netflix provides consumer data mining to ascertain which contents viewers pay to watch and relies greatly on this information to calculate the full cost of each license agreement. The data is compiled to discover out the expected hrs of viewing each TV display or movie created over the term of a licensing covenant thus developing a price per hour viewed. It compares this metric to comparable content arrangements, and also it in order to decides final pricing based on the time framework of the contract and exclusivity. 

Netflix is the summary of how to properly use data in such creative endeavors. Before greenlighting “Orange is the brand-new Black” for production, Netflix already knew the likelihood of success the the show based upon viewership data the women-led TV shows and Jenji Johan’s hit show Weeds. Netflix knew precisely which subscribers would be interested in city hall its show and thereby to reduce the an innovative cost of the project.

Sameer Wadekar & Anr. Vs. Netflix Entertainment solutions Pvt. Ltd & Ors


Irish Rover Entertainment, llc v. Sims, et al., on slide op. 

While Netflix declared that your story is a result of the concerns faced by teens while fighting with fictional monster or armed forces personnel or angry scientists, that asked the court for a movement to dismiss based on the Extrinsic Similarity check wherein the Court objectively assesses the considerable similarities in between two competing works. For conducting this test, the Court decided to seek added evidence together as experienced testimony and also thereby rubbish Netflix’s motion. The is likely that Netflix would have resolved this situation with ireland Rover entertainment by now. 


Netflix an extremely well knows what that is doing. Sometimes, it may not look for a license v the expectation that the danger of settling is less expensive than frequently paying i have lot of money licensing fees. It seems Netflix sometimes engages in a “do no ask for permission, beg for forgiveness” policy when picking content. This is an effective an approach only so lengthy as it works for them. But in most cases, lock do finish up negotiating license Agreements through Producers i beg your pardon is in reality the best way to present content.

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ReferencesSameer Wadekar & Anr. Vs. Netflix Entertainment solutions Pvt. Ltd & Ors, 2020 SCC virtual Bom 659.Irish Rover Entertainment, gmbh v. Sims, et al., on slide op. Situation No. 2:20-cv-06293 (CBM) (C.D. Cal. Jan. 21, 2021)

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