Licensing or Image Agreements

Hello Everyone,

I am writing to ask if anyone out there has any experience with image licensing and/or agreements.  I was recently asked by an archaeology/research facility here in the southwest for the use of two images in their permanent display and am having no luck in finding any samples.  Any suggestions would certainly be welcome and appreciated and thanks in advance.

Dalton James

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  • You say that the client wants to use two images in their permanent display. Will that be in their offices? Will that be at trade shows? The amount of compensation you should expect has something to do with how many people will see the artwork and associate it with your clients' products or services. If your art will be on tea boxes in stores throughout the USA such as those on Celestial Seasonings or other type of popular brand, the value of the artwork usage goes up. If your art is in the hallway of an office, there's most likely much less value in the usage of it.

    I recently sold usage for two photographs of a punk rock band from 25 years ago. The email request came in from the maker of a fanzine that has small but national distribution and that he sells for $5. I have unused, unseen photos of this particular band from three separate shows in 1991 and 1992. The band was really important to the punk scene in general and in the youth culture in Little Rock, AR at that time. One photo would be used on the cover and the other in the center, both full bleed, so they'll be 11x17 inches. They'll be the only two photos used in the issue. It wouldn't take me long to scan the negatives and send them, so my cost to do the work in both money and time would be minimal.

    I got paid $100 and received credit and copies of the fanzine and others. I'll also receive a copy of the compilation music CD featuring the bands in Little Rock from that time.

    All of that and more goes into the price for one-time use. But these are the times when people want to promote themselves online, so my photos would wind up on his website promoting the fanzine and people would be sharing the images of it on Facebook and stuff, etc. I can't expect to be paid for sharing, it's just going to happen. But it might wind up being an excellent contact for the rest of the work I have of this band from my client and from others.

    Like Larry said, you should consider the compensation you will be comfortable accepting for use without researching what others get for their things. I bet when you first learned about the possibility, you immediately thought of a $ figure that you felt would be acceptable for how your art will be used.

    My client asked if I wanted to make a fanzine of just my photos from the Little Rock scene. I quoted a $1,250 price to him for this, to which he turned down based upon the fact the he published a fanzine. I offered him an option on how he could raise the money through a crowdfunding campaign wherein I could sell top-quality photographs for wall display. He might entertain that idea. We'll see. But I couldn't imagine doing all the work it would require of me to produce 30 scans for a fanzine of just my work. I think more of what I do than asking for less. And $1,250 is probably not enough. But it's more than the client is willing to pay at this time. If we did a crowdfunding campaign, I would expect at least double that amount since I would be selling fine prints. But the potential is much greater than double.

  • I have experience but it's licensing to a company who sold posters. So the arrangement in a case like that is usually a signing fee plus a percentage.

    I have no experience about licensing for unlimited usage except that when one of the cable networks wanted to use a dozen of my images and wanted unlimited usage, they didn't want to pay more than about $17 each because that's what the stock agencies were willing to license them for.

    The tried and true way of finding out a price used to be joining the Getty or Corbis web site and put in the usage. The result would be the high end of what the fee should be. Another way is to plug your numbers into one of the web sites that calculate usage fees for licensing. Do a search for stock photography fee calculator. It will give you a series of fields to fill out, mostly about how the images will be use and what size they will use them. Bottom line is to arrive at a figure you are both happy with.

    Larry Berman

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