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Lessons from 2015 – 3 – Always keep your copyright

I’ve talked briefly about copyright and licensing in the past, and have even promised a more in depth post about it (and where exactly is that post Tom?)  I’m not going to deliver that in-depth post here, as I simply want to emphasise how important copyright has been to me this year.

Contract - Copyright
Exciting pic eh? I was tempted to buy a stock image of people in suits in a boardroom, but thought it might be too much for you all.

This year I’ve made the equivalent of a decent month’s money just from re-licensing images.  That’s essentially money for nothing – I send a client a high res image if they’ve not already got it, and then invoice them accordingly.  Generally, since most of this usage is editorial, it’s in the region of a couple of hundred of quid or so.  Not enough to live on, but a very nice supplement.  From time to time though, it’s a meatier advertising usage, and my word, those days are satisfying.

Don’t forget that as a freelancer I have:

  • No guaranteed regular income
  • No holiday pay
  • No sick pay
  • No company pension

My copyright and the ability to re-licence my work goes some way to compensate for this.  Of course, if I’d not had the sense to actually READ the contracts that I’m asked to sign, I’d have given away almost all my rights many times over.  This year I’ve even got one magazine company to amend their contracts because they contained an inherent and slightly illegal contradiction that would have made signing it somewhat pointless.

I promise (cross my heart and hope my cameras break) that I’ll cover Copyright and licensing in more depth in the new year, but in the meantime, if you haven’t already, go and buy, then read from cover to cover Beyond the Lens.  You’d also do well to read through this FAQ on the Aop website – it’s a pretty good intro to this area.

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