After having the same topic of copyright come up in quite a few consultations lately, what with the social media and the like in full swing, I thought it a good idea to make a blog post to explain more about it...
You may or may not have seen my terms and conditions (links found on each service page), in them there is a paragraph stating the image licencing agreement, the example below if from my wedding t&c's:
DIGITAL IMAGES and COPYRIGHTS: Until final payment for services rendered is made all photographs produced by Gaskin Photography are protected by British Copyright Law (all rights reserved) and may not be reproduced in any manner without Gaskin Photography's explicitly written permission.
Upon final payment by the CLIENT the resulting images are given to the CLIENT under the following License:
The agreement between Gaskin Photography and the CLIENT is non-exclusive.
Gaskin Photography remains the sole owner of the images copyright. No transfer of intellectual property is made by this agreement.
This agreement is effective as of the date of the commission as stated on the contract
Now, what does this all mean? let me explain:
A basic explanation of copyright?
It’s a fairly common misconception that it’s the person who commissions the photographer who owns the copyright in the images. This is not the case, as was made clear by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The photographer owns the copyright of any images that he takes. (In the UK, the photographer does not need to register copyright in a photo – it is automatically his/hers. What this means is, if someone wants to use a photo in any way, they need to get permission from the copyright owner.
A common example can be someone downloading a photo from a website to use as a wallpaper on their phone/tablet/computer. Even though it’s for personal use, you should still get permission of the copyright owner first.
If however you want to use an image or a set of images to make money, either directly (selling re-prints or putting the image on your own product) or indirectly (advertising or promotional materials), you should pay a fee in return for the use of said image/images. In these cases the fee you would paying is for a licence per image or set of images for a particular use as agreed by both yourself and the copyright owner.
A basic explanation of usage Licensing for an image/set of images
Once you have both agreed on the terms of the image(s) usage with the person who owns the copyright of the image(s), they will grant you a licence for said usage (this also applies to images of your own commissioning). This an agreement whereby they allow you to use the image(s) for a certain means and for a certain amount of time. They should also state whether the licence is exclusive (not sold or used by any other person than you) or non-exclusive (can be sold to and used by others as well).
As a standard, my public commissions are non-exclusive (but as a courtesy I will always contact a client asking if they are happy with their image to be used by a third party, be it a publication or website/blog if a third part has asked to use it) and my corporate commissions are time limited exclusive, but this can be easily negotiated during your consultation.
as a side note, If you do not wish for an of your images to be used in my own promotional material/online presence, you can request it at the time of your consultation and this will be adhered to until written permission is given by you to say otherwise.