Who Owns The Copyrights

Let's assume that you are a freelance photographer. It does not matter whether you are an amateur or a professional, or whether you are working on an assignment, building a stock photo library, or just shooting for personal fulfillment. Unless and until you enter into some kind of an agreement that changes things, you start out owning the copyrights to your photographs. It's that simple. As we suggested, it is possible to have changed that status by contract, but the usual situation is that...

The 1909 Copyright

Prior to January 1, 1978, the Copyright Law of 1909 governed all copyright transactions. Unlike today's law, under the prior law the party that commissioned an assignment owned the copyright to the photographs produced by the photographer. That meant that the photographer had no rights to license. Photographers sold services, not rights. The fees for those services were determined on a time and materials basis. The more talented photographers could get higher service fees than the less...

Characteristics Of Assignment Photography Market Segments

The publication photography market is divided into advertising, corporate, and editorial segments. Advertising is the highest fee-paying segment, corporate is second, and editorial is at the bottom. The editorial segment is the closest to having a system for pricing photography. That is because publishers find a system to be to their advantage because of the high volume of assignments they make when compared to photography users in the other two segments. Publishers' budgets are based upon an...

Pricing Reuse Of Assignment Images

On occasion, clients will want to reuse images taken on assignments for which the license has expired. The re-uses might be in exactly the same applications for which the assignment was done, an advertising campaign might be extended or a brochure might be reprinted. Photographers usually have two different ways to arrive at a fee for re-use licenses. One way is to charge a percentage of the original fee (not the billable expenses).We have seen photographers who have charged as little as 20...

Avoiding Mistakes

The most common mistakes made by photographers when licensing their work fall into two categories omission of details and erroneous use of terminology. The brief tale above about brochure use is a perfect example of insufficient details in a license. Here is an example of erroneous use of terminology. It is a good example of a common mistake. A photographer licensed a stock photograph to be used to promote a product. The immediate uses were to be a brochure and a press release. The photographer...

The Delivery Memo

Never deliver your photography without a proof of delivery and a memo presenting the terms of that delivery. Your photographs, whether assignment or stock photography or just a portfolio that is being dropped off in hope of getting some work, have value. That value should be protected for both your clients' and your interest.The delivery memo is similar in effect to a contract for a rental. It confirms that a prospective client has received something of value, and it asserts the obligations of...

Assignment Photography Delivery Memo

123 Anystreet, Hometown, ZX 12345 Telephone 123-555-1212 Fax 123-555-2121 ASSIGNMENT PHOTOGRAPHY DELIVERY MEMO Date Assignment to Begin _Reference _ Note For details of fee structure and expenses, refer to attached schedule. 1. The copyright to all Images created or supplied pursuant to this agreement remains the sole and exclusive property of the photographer. There is no assignment of copyright, agreement to do work for hire, or intention of joint copyright expressed or implied here-under....

Twentyflrst Century Concerns

Two issues have recently surfaced that need to be considered in obtaining and drafting model releases. The first is digital alteration. In the old days before Photoshop , composites and major changes in photographs were difficult, often expensive, comparatively infrequent, and generally easy to detect and those facts were probably related . Today, alterations of even the most astonishing proportions are relatively easy, inexpensive, and virtually undetectable. Because of this, you can...