What is a License and who owns it
As a photographer, you own the rights to all the work you create, your images. For every photographic commission, there should always be a license agreed for specific usage rights and for how long these images can be used for before you even start shooting. This agreement is called the license and allows the commissioning client to use images within the scope of the agreement only.
There are various types of licensing from Commercial Rights, Non Commercial, Royalty Free, Rights Managed, In Perpetuity to name a few. We'll talk about these in another post, for now, let's talk about the digital footprint of your work, where it starts and where it can end up.
Infringements, Non agreed commercial usage, Post Licensing, THEFT.
Social Media and the Internet are brilliant tools for getting exposure and showing your photography to a much wider audience. You pop your work on Instagram or your website and think nothing of it. The real reality is once you've done this, you have now lost the ability to track your image, to follow it's journey and where it then ends up. Whilst finding your images on a blog or a Pinterest board isn't to much of a worry, as long as they are not being commercially endorsed and with a credit to your work this is generally fine. But how do you know if your image isn't being used for commercial gain without your permission or payment. The truth is you don't and when will you find the time to Police this activity? If you do find such a usage what do you then do?
Post Licences Platforms that protect your work vs Lawyers, time & expense
I'm personally a fan of these platforms and whilst yes they will take a percentage from recovered fee's, in my view it's a percentage from a fee you wouldn't otherwise have. It's worth keeping in mind that with all infringements it is your work that's being used for a commercial gain by another company. These platforms can save you the time and expense in engaging with a specialist solicitor as well as having to gather all the relevant evidence required.
What's the best platforms?
Pretty much these are all like for like, some request a higher percentage, some are more aggressive in their approach. But ultimately, they work on your behalf ensuring the digital footprint of your photographs is taken care off. So you can continue to do what you do best in being a photographer whilst someone else is keeping an eye on an income that you wouldn't have.
Help & Advice
If you have personally been affected by an infringement, think someone - somewhere is using your work without permission or need some advice. Then don't hesitate to get in touch as one of the team at Global Assignments agency will be happy to help.