- Communicate anticipated release date changes to licensees even if new dates are not yet known, and obtain written confirmation of understanding from licensees. Effective action to protect IP leaks can be taken by licensees even before a new release date is solidified.
- Translate film release date changes into embargo tiers whenever possible (title, logo/branding, characters, plot points). Asset release tied to teasers, trailers, and other content may not move out in a matched cadence to film release.
- Present a unified message to licensees in all categories on the IP implications of date changes. Licensees will pass communication on to vendors and retail partners, and a consistent message will ensure clarity in these interactions.
- If a release date change is confidential at the time it is communicated, make this clear, and make clear the date at which the change will be made public.
- Communicate date changes to vendors, subcontractors, and freelancers in a manner targeted to the IP they hold. Assets planned for release in an announcement or trailer will require a different embargo date message than assets planned for release only as part of the full entertainment. Targeted messages should be clear and unambiguous.
- Communicate dates in a format-neutral manner by spelling out the month to avoid misunderstandings globally –“2/7/21” may mean February 7 or July 2 to different audiences.
- Plan proactively for date changes that may impact the IP risk of production or storage of product by using risk assessments of your workflow to identify “pause points”, at which the process of designing, producing, or distributing goods could be paused with the least potential increase in IP risk. Create reinforcements around these “pause points” that can further minimize IP risk in the event of a pause.
- Create agile internal processes that can respond effectively to release date changes. Assess each digital and physical process in which sensitive IP tied to release dates is accessed against the difficulty of adjusting those release dates, the probability for success in restricting access in accordance with the new dates, and the quickness of response when dates are adjusted.