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An Intellectual Property Release Agreement (sometimes just called a "Release") is a document by which someone releases something they created - like a work of art, or a writing, or a film - and gives away all the rights to someone else. This type of agreement is used in situations where the artist is okay with the art being used for another purpose, and where the artist is okay with not keeping any rights to the art. It's done relatively rarely, but sometimes, it's the best agreement that makes sense for the situation.
The creations are called works of intellectual property, and by releasing the rights, the creator gives up any control over what happens to the intellectual property. The person that receives the rights to the work can then do anything they want with it - including copy it, distribute it, publish it, or whatever else they would like. In Intellectual Property Release Agreements, royalties and other monetary compensation are generally not paid, because the entirety of the work is being released.
This document is different than a License Agreement. In that case, the artist or owner of the work maintains all of their rights but allows another to use their work for the payment of royalties and subject to certain terms.
How to use this document
This document can be used when an artist would like to release the rights to something they've created. Conversely, a business person or individual can also use this document to acquire the rights to something someone else has created, and they've agreed. In this document, all of the details of the work of intellectual property that is being released are included.
Keep in mind that with this document, the artist won't retain any rights to the work and also won't get paid any royalties, as mentioned above. A release should be used specifically in the instance where the artist would like to just give away all of their rights so that another person can start to use the work however they may like.
When this document is filled out, ideally it should be printed and signed and a copy kept with each relevant party.
There are no laws outlining what must be put into an Intellectual Property Release Agreement. Overall, intellectual property in the United States is covered under primarily federal law, with the main statute applicable being the Copyright Act of 1976. It is best practice to include as much detail about the work as possible, in the Intellectual Property Release Agreement, so that if a dispute should arise, the rights to the specific work are clear.
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