If you own a copyright in Tennessee, you have the right to decide whether or not anyone else gets to use it. In other words, people who want to use your copyright have to obtain your permission first. If they do not, it may be an act of copyright infringement, and you may have grounds to bring legal action against them.
On the other hand, what if you are willing to grant someone permission to use your copyright? How do you go about it? According to Stanford University, you can enter into one of two types of agreement to give someone permission to use your copyright: a release or a license. It can sometimes be difficult to tell the difference between a release and a license as the language used in each agreement can be similar. However, the intent behind each is slightly different.
When you grant someone else a release, you give up your right to sue the other party over the use of your copyright. In other words, the other party is free from any legal liability related to the use of the material. On the other hand, a license gives the other party the right to use the copyrighted material in a way that the law would not permit if you had not agreed to it. Another way to express this in legal terms is clearance. In other words, per the agreement, the other party is clear to use the copyright.
Regardless of what you call it, you should review the terms of the agreement carefully before signing to be sure it does not grant uses of the material that you do not want to allow.
The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.