Under most U.S. book publishing agreements, the publisher acquires not only the English language book publication rights, but also acquires certain so-called subsidiary rights. Subsidiary rights typically include the right to publish foreign language editions of the book, the right to reprint portions of the book in magazines, anthologies, textbooks and other publications, the right to package and sell the book in the form of an audiobook or book on tape, the right to produce plays, motion pictures and television shows based on the book, and the right to use the book and themes, illustrations or characters from the book for various types of merchandise.

In most cases, the publisher will not exercise any of the subsidiary rights itself, but will instead seek to license those rights to others. The following is a short checklist of some of the issues for a publisher to consider when licensing subsidiary rights:

Determine Your Goals

You should determine your goals before entering into a licensing relationship, and try to structure the relationship in such a way that those goals will be met. For example:

Know the Licensee

The success of any licensing transaction will depend largely on the ability and quality of the licensee. Before committing to a licensee, you should ask the following questions:

Be Sure You Own The Rights To Be Licensed

You can only license rights if the owner of those rights has expressly authorized you to do so. You can only license rights if the owner of those rights has expressly authorized you to do so. Failure to obtain all of the necessary rights before entering into a licensing transaction may subject you to lawsuits from both the licensee and the owner of the rights which you are attempting to license. Therefore, before signing any license agreement, you must determine the following:

Licensing subsidiary rights can be a very profitable part of a publisher's business, provided the publisher takes the right steps along the way.