Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Usage - part one

Usage can be a tricky thing, whether it is licensed assignment photography or licensed stock photography. Determining the usage fee depends on several different factors specifically what the agency or client is licensing. License by definition mean to permit the use of something. The client is contracting specific rights to use the imagery the artist has produced.

Here are some usage terms to keep in mind:

Buyout - This refers to unlimited use for an unlimited time in all mediums unless otherwise specified for a specific medium or market. By no means should this be assumed as a transfer of copyright.

Transfer of Copyright - All rights to the artwork are transferred through contract from the creator/artist to the purchaser/client. unlimited use for an unlimited time.

Exclusivity - This limits how a copyright holder can offer work to a third party for reproduction. Clients who license usage with an exclusivity term want to block potential competitors from using the same imagery.

Limited use - Your typical usage that can be specified by a time frame, type of media, quantity, territory, etc.
This has several subsections like the following: print ads (newspaper, magazine, sponsorship, trade publications), point of sale/collateral (brochures, direct mail, catalogs, free standing inserts, take-ones), out of home (billboards, kiosks, wild postings, transit), packaging, global electronic/web (web sites, banners, mobile, viral, interactive). Mediums: Print, Web, or Broadcast.

Presentation/Research use - This normally refers to non-commissionable media or not for the public market. Simply for testing purposes or focus groups.

The higher the usage the higher the fee. Be sure to always get usage and licensing contract information in writing. Ensure the client understands the license and the usage parameters. It is a good idea to write out the specific usage in detail, for example, some clients still use the term buyout but in your contract you should write something like buyout, unlimited use for an unlimited time in all mediums.

Good resources for more usage information are ASMP and PLUS.
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