Copyright and Licensing - the short version

For most people not involved in creative activity (photography, design, etc), copyright and licensing can be hard to get your head around.

As soon as a photo is taken the copyright of the image belongs to the photographer. It’s the law in Australia and most other countries. It means the photographer is the copyright owner even if a client paid for the images.

Licensing applies to all creative work. Multiple parties may use a product over some time. The more people want to use it the more valuable it and the license becomes. 

For example, if someone asks me to take photos for their social media it would have a certain value but then if one of those photos was used by, lets say Apple, and they used it all around the world to promote one of their products, then the value of that image would be much higher because the benefit to Apple would be much greater.

When you pay a subscription to use some software – it’s licensing, when you buy music – it’s licensing, etc. 

I Paid You For The Photos, Aren’t They Mine?
Most people would expect this to be the case but it isn’t. You pay the photographer to create some work and you want to use the photos. The photos have copyright protection instantly, and the images are considered the intellectual property of the photographer. You can sign an agreement to buy out the rights altogether, but it adds significant costs.

Real Estate and Architecture
In real estate and architectural photography, these photos serve the goals of selling or renting out a property or to promote the services that the agent/builder/designer wish to promote. 

In other words, licensing is a permission to use the photos over a set period for defined usage. For example, the default lifetime of real estate photos is until the property is sold or until the listing is inactive.  For a builder or designer that license may be for a defined period of time.

One of the main points of the licensing is that it is not transferable. If an agent bought a license, this particular agent can use the photos. They cannot give it away to a designer or a builder. They sometimes can, however, give it to the owner for personal use.

If a builder/designer commissions photos of a project but then wants to share them amongst other services involved in the project the other parties will derive a benefit from those images and a separate licensing agreement will need to be applied for each additional party.

How Can I Use The Photos
In most cases images can be used for Social Media, Web Usage, Small Print Marketing Up To 1/4 Page for the person or entity commissioning the work. Usage is usually stipulated either when I send a quote or when I send my invoice. However if you may think you want more rights than granted I’d be happy to discuss this.

Crediting The Photographer
It’s common practice to credit the originator of any creative work. Sometimes that’s not possible however I would appreciate it if you credit @thespacecowboyphotography whenever you can and likewise I’ll credit you when positing on social media. And finally please don’t edit or alter images once the final version has been sent to you.