“Clearance” means ensuring that one has all the rights of legal ownership and control that one needs to be able to publish and otherwise use content without infringing any rights of third parties.
Failure to clear content exposes a producing entity to potential liability for copyright infringement and violations of other intellectual property rights. Lawsuits over intellectual property rights may take years to resolve. Plaintiffs in these lawsuits may receive large damage awards, and courts sometimes order defendants to reimburse the plaintiffs for their attorneys’ fees and other costs of litigation.
For these reasons, it is critical for content users to ensure that any and all necessary permissions are secured prior to publishing or otherwise using third party proprietary content.