Copyright Licensing Issues

When you own a copyright to a photograph, you have complete and exclusive control of how it is reproduced, displayed and distributed. These rights may be assigned, sold, transferred or given away. If you decide to authorize others to use your copyright, which also is known as licensing, you may want to consider the following items:

a) Who are you giving the rights to?
b) What specific rights are you granting?
c) Are you authorizing print and/or electronic rights?
d) If you grant electronic rights, what kind? CD? Web?
e) For what time are you granting the rights?
f) Will the rights be exclusive?
g) How will the rights be used? What market or industry?
h) What territory is covered by the rights? North America? English-speaking countries? Worldwide?
i) Are there any work-for-hire implications?
j) How will you be paid? By a flat fee? By royalties?
k) If paid by royalties, how will the royalties be calculated?
l) When will you be paid?
m) Will you allow certain alterations of the work in the use?
n) Will you require certain items with the usage? Copyright notice? Photo credit?
o) Who is responsible for loss, damage or theft of the work?
p) Do you want samples of the use?
q) Specifically retain all other rights to your copyrights – you never know what future usage technology will bring.
r) Make the license subject to being paid in full.

While licensing rights like those referenced above can be done verbally, it is best to put them in writing. You will minimize confusion, and you will have something concrete to rely upon if a dispute arises. To be sure that every important aspect of licensing is addressed, ask an attorney who is familiar with these issues to review the license.

Take my advice; get professional help.

Check Photo Attorney on, in the Article Center, and on Twitter!

Leave a Reply