Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tips to When "Buying" Copyrights From Photographers.

There are a lot of assumption and misconceptions from buyers/clients working with professional photographers. 

Common Misconceptions are:

  1. When paying a photographer to do a job, the client gets "ALL RIGHTS".
    • This is incorrect in most cases because professional photographers are generally freelance photographers where they are NOT under a "work-for-hire" contract. When they agree to this type of contract then anything they create during the duration of employment its copyrights are automatically owned by the company owner. Generally, most professional photographers will not agree to this unless they include the cost of copyright ownership/transfer was included to the cost of the project they are being hired for.
  2. When paying a photographer for "ALL RIGHTS" you get all rights.
    • Depending on the contract, this can or become true, but generally a professional photographer will attempt to negotiate and educate the buyer/client on the actual value of a copyright and transferring ownership. I can give you all rights, only if you pay "X" amount, generally if its all rights. I, as the photographer, would either ask equal ownership 50/50 or a transfer of ownership and in most cases the party (buyer) requesting "all rights" cannot afford all rights, equal or not. Equal rights can cost about half to 75% of the cost of transferring ownership, but this would vary to photographer's discretion, as mentioned before industry standard of a copyright start at $1000 USD for each photo.
  3. The value of a copyright.
    • This misconception is a huge one. People assume its just a photo, it has no real value long term, it only has 1 use and short-term. WRONG! Owner a copyright of a photo allows the owner of that photo to do anything from selling the photographic prints, to printing them on t-shirts, mugs, etc. Basically the use of merchandising, and especially advertising uses photos for commercial gain, ether directly or indirectly. Such as with sales of the photos' use in merchandising, this is a direct for profit motive, and for advertising its to give the cause/company indirect exposure from the image and to hopefully have a direct impact into sales/revenue, etc. $1000 USD for each photo, is very, very small price as you the owner can use it pretty much in any way you'd like and however long you like. Heck, if you're not using it or want to allow other companies to use it you can license it to other companies for extra revenue as the copyright owner. The value of a copyright is limitless! Don't under value the copyright in any market, but especially in the photo market where photography is largely important to advertising most importantly. No photos, no easy way to advertise. 
  4. Licensing
    • This is no different than music, stock photography, stock video, stock everything. When working with a photographer that does not include a license with cost of labor to creation of the photos you as the client requested, please be prepared for the cost of licensing or purchasing the transfer of copyright ownership if available. We as photographers generate any photo from our cameras that photo becomes a copyright and Intellectual Property (IP) of that photographer (and company owner). Just like you if you ever created any products, you own the IP. These prices vary at photographer's discretion, I charge around $60-$300 per image for 6 month terms of use depending the usage. I also have bulk discounts and discounts for longer terms to encourage more licensing. Professional photographer's rely on licensing revenue, sometimes largely, please keep this in mind it keeps our business alive and going by respecting the licensing.
  5. Another and Lastly Misconception: Working with Photographers that are Not Professional Photographers.
    • What do I mean, you may ask? Basically any photographer that does not follow the above like handing out copyrights, like free candy in a park, are not professional photographers. As a buyer/client in photography be very, very careful, question the quality they have displayed and were shown to you, question their references. When hiring a photographer be prepared to having a good artistic eye for photography to find a great quality photographer. You don't need to learn how to take the images to truly see a quality image, just know the differences of low and high quality imagery. 
    • Don't have the budget for a professional photographer, you as the buyer will risk a screw up by hiring an hobbyist or amateur, or even student just because they are desperate for work. But note they are learning on the job, they are very likely to screw up on that job or take longer than a professional photographer would have. A professional is generally a guarantee you'd get what you want if you did your proper amount of researching that professional to meet your needs.

This is not legal advice, this is purely from experience within the photo industry as a professional photographer.

No comments:

Post a Comment