Photo Attorney

Jul 26, 2006

Standardized License Terminology

Many photographers authorize others to use their copyrights without transferring them entirely, which is known as licensing. Often, the language used to license copyrights is not clear so that the photographer and the licensee may not agree upon what rights have been granted. Thanks to the PLUS Coalition, we now have the beginnings of a solution to this problem.

PLUS is an international non-profit trade association that hopes "to simplify and facilitate the licensing of images." The Coalition consists of photographers, illustrators, stock picture agencies, artist representatives, advertising agencies, advertisers, graphic design firms, publishers, attorneys, and associated industries and initiatives, which have joined forces to create a universal licensing language. Through PLUS, licensors and licensees are working together "to provide a single, comprehensive resource for use by every professional engaged in licensing images so that we all may speak a common language, avoid misunderstandings, and achieve a precise mutual understanding of the scope of any image license."

Already, the PLUS Coalition has developed a free searchable glossary with more than 1000 licensing terms, definitions, and uses. You also can use the glossary to find a term to use in a license to communicate a specific concept.

Use the PLUS glossary as a reference when dealing with your licenses. When licensing terminology is understood by both you and your clients, everybody wins.

Take my advice; get professional help.

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