// copyright protection for photographers
Licensing is the process by which a copyright owner allows another to use a copyrighted image and sets forth use limitations on a copyrighted photograph. The decision of whether and when to license a copyrighted photo is an important component to protect the ongoing validity of the copyright. Properly drafted, licensing arrangements can ensure that the photographer (or owner of the copyright) retains the degree of control he/she intends to maintain over the image.
Basic Copyright Considerations
The legal process and the mechanics of how to copyright a photograph are beyond the scope of this article. However, once a photograph is properly copyrighted, it is incumbent upon the copyright owner to monitor how and when an image is used. Failure to do so could undermine the enforceability of the copyright and possibly void the protections afforded by the copyright.
Are Terms Appropriate for a License?
A properly drafted license agreement should contemplate a variety of issues. Like the previous article addressing model releases, developing a checklist is a critical first step in granting a license or developing a license agreement. The checklist should consider such issues as: (1) determining who gets to use the license, (2) the scope of the licensed use (print only or some other form of dissemination), and (3) the intended duration of the license. In order to prevent or at least minimize potential disputes, the terms of the license agreement should be clear, concise and narrowly defined. Without precision, one may inadvertently grant a license far broader than intended.