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Licensing Photographs

What Photographers Should Know About Photo Licensing

If you are a professional photographer, you should know the basics about licensing your pictures.

Licensing your work is a way to hold on to your copyright while allowing others to use your pictures under agreed-upon terms. Licensing can provide an excellent source of income for photographers without giving up all rights to your creative work.

Our US Copyright Attorneys at Sanders Law Group share some licensing information that might help photographers understand their purpose and how licensing can benefit you and your business.

What Does Licensing Photographs Mean?

Photograph licensing means that the copyright holder (let’s assume it is you, the photographer) grants the right to use an image to someone else. As a copyright holder, you have the exclusive right to copy, distribute, and display your image. Licensing gives some of those rights to others.

What Is a Photography Licensing Agreement?

A photography licensing agreement is a contract. The copyright owner, you, the photographer, is called the licensor. You are licensing the rights to use the picture.

The licensee is the person or entity obtaining the right to use the picture.

The licensing agreement or licensing contract contains specific terms that regulate the use of the photograph and the payment of fees.

Why Licensing Agreements Are Important to Photographers

Licensing agreements allow photographers to retain their copyright while providing the ability to let others use their pictures. Licensing agreements let photographs set the terms of how and where the pictures get utilized. Perhaps most importantly, licensing agreements can provide an excellent source of revenue for many photographers.

What are the Most Common Photograph Licenses?

Non-Exclusive/Exclusive License to Use Photos

Granting an exclusive license means you give one person/entity the right to use your photograph.
You agree not to grant use to anyone else.

Giving someone a non-exclusive license means you can agree to let others use the same photograph.

Royalty-Free Photograph License

A royalty-free license is granted for a flat fee. A royalty-free license is non-exclusive and has no usage specifications.

Rights-Managed Photography License

A rights managed license contains limitations regarding the use of the photograph. The limitations can involve a time period or geographic scope.
A rights managed license is usually a one-time use license.

Unlimited Use of Photographs

An unlimited use license does just what it sounds like. It allows someone to use your photograph without restrictions until the license period expires. Unlimited use does not mean never-ending. It means that the licensee may use the picture freely for the time agreed upon.

Photography Licensing Considerations

When contemplating whether (or how) to license your work, some photographers seek the advice of copyright lawyers. Experienced copyright attorneys can answer specific questions, help you protect your rights, and assist with calculating reasonable fees.

There are various things to consider when granting a photography license which is why it can help to have a third party working on your behalf. In addition to general terms of use, you should consider:

  • Attribution requirements
  • The right to edit your work
  • The right to sub-license
  • Appropriate licensing fee
  • Other fees
  • Time frame
  • The geographic scope of use
  • Platform limitations
  • Temporal or spatial limits
  • Third Party Distribution

Call Sanders Law Group today for help drafting and negotiating photography licensing agreements.

Our US Copyright Attorneys offer risk-free, no-cost consultations. Call us at 888-348-3090 to get started. Let our copyright lawyers help protect your rights and your professional photography business.

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