Rights Managed Stock Photography Tips

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What types of copyright protection can photographers get?

Copyright Basics

Whether you are a professionally-trained photographer or a hobbyist who is moving into the stock photography market, your work is protected by certain copyright parameters. (If you decide to upload your images to a stock site that specializes in free or very cheap stock images, you will likely forfeit some of these rights). Here are some guidelines about stock photography copyrights from iStockphoto.com:

*From the moment a work is created, it is protected by copyright for 70 years after the photographer's death.

*Copyright can be transferred or renewed by the photographer's spouse or next of kin.

*The title of a photograph cannot be copyrighted and therefore has no protection under law.

*Photographers must take responsibility to monitor their own copyrights. Otherwise they may expire. Also, if an author fails to satisfy statutory formalities of copyright, the protection may be lost.

*Some photographers decide to hand over the management of their copyrights to another professional so they can focus more on their work at hand.

What is a derivative photo?

Derivative Images

Stock photography artists get inspiration everywhere and that includes someone else's great work. But, when is this part of the creative process and when is it considered copying someone else's image and therefore not copyright-able by you? One word most stock photo artists are familiar with is "derivative." According to iStockphoto.com, a derivative work is photos stock that consist of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations and other modifications, which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship. These types of artistic works are not copyright-able by you if you created them based on someone else's art.

What can happen if I use a stock photo illegally?

Photography Law Suits Do Happen

Not too long ago, famed TV talk show host, Oprah Winfrey found herself in a lawsuit with two professional photographers. At odds were some images found in a book she wrote called "Make the Connection." Both the photographers and Winfrey were in dispute about who had rights to the photos and how they could be used.

The suit took was settled after three years in court. Winfrey was trying to protect how images of herself were used and the photographers were trying to protect any relevant copyright violations of their work.

It's not likely that the casual user or seller of stock photos would end up in a serious situation like this one, but it does illustrate how important photo licensing agreements are. It's also a warning to anyone who attempts to use an image that is owned by someone else. Any time you use a photo, make sure you know its source and if there are any legalities that affect the use of that shot.

What are the advantages of a rights managed photo?

The Advantages of a Rights-Managed Stock Photo

With so many stock photos easily found online that are free or very cheap, why would anyone choose to use a rights managed stock photo?

Let's say you just created a great web page for your company using a stock photo you bought online for a $1. On your way home from work you drive by a billboard and see the same image! The compelling nature of a photo is lost if it is used in too many places and for varying uses.

If you choose to pay more money for a rights managed photo it will be much more likely that you won't see that particular photo elsewhere, especially used in the same way that you want to use it.

Also, it may be more likely that a rights managed image was taken by a professional photographer because a site requiring a royalty fee monitors those images carefully. But, free stock photos can be taken by amateurs and that may not suit your purpose.

What does a rights-managed stock photo cost?

The Cost of Rights Managed Stock Photography

If you visit a stock photography website and decide to buy a rights managed photo instead of a royalty free shot, the cost of using that photo can vary greatly. If the photographer who captured the shot is famous in the photography world, his or her shots can cost thousands of dollars. For this reason, a small business owner or employee preparing a presentation or marketing campaign may simply not be able to afford a rights managed image. But, lesser known photographers, who have lots of shots for sale, might agree to a reasonable fee so you should investigate lots of online stock sites to glean a good idea of what types of rights managed images are available and what they cost on an individual basis.

In general, the cost of a rights managed image will be based on the following: the size of the photo, the placement of it in a particular location or presentation, the duration of its use and the geographic location. Just because a fee is associated with a rights managed photo doesn't mean you can't afford it, so do your homework online and you might be surprised at what you find.

What is rights-managed photography

Rights Managed Stock Photography

Thanks to the Internet, lots of opportunities have opened up for savvy consumers to find photos online for a variety of personal and commercial uses. Some people jump at the chance to buy a stock photo online versus hiring a professional photographer to take a specific photo.

One type of photo you might find online is called a rights managed stock photo. These are most often of a very high quality and shot by a professional photographer who knows how to capture a compelling image. However, since professional know-how went into creating that image, you cannot use it without permission and paying a fee.

Some of the uses of rights managed photography include: advertisements, online newsletters, websites and multimedia presentations. These photos are purchased for a fee for a limited use. Rights managed stock photos differ from royalty-free photos in that royalty-free shots can often be used multiple times and for multiple uses.

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Jolyn Wells-Moran