Literary Property Law and Legal Definition

Literary property refers to the writings of an author which gives him/her legal rights to the exclusive use of the writings, including publication, and sale or license for a profit to others who the author allows the right to publish it. Literary property includes books, articles, poetry, movie scripts, computer programs and any writing which may be published or used. Authors have copyright protection over their literary works. Literary works do not include audiovisual materials.

Film producers and studios will often discover an existing literary property (such as a completed book, short story, stage play or magazine article) which they would like to acquire as the basis for a motion picture or television production. Instead of buying the property outright, they often seek to save money by acquiring an "option" (i.e., the exclusive right to purchase the property at a future date). During the term of the option, no one else will be permitted to acquire rights to the property in question and the financial rish to the producer or studio in investing in development and financing activities with respect to the property is lowered.