Image License Agreement
A contract for the use of copyrighted images.
What is an Image Licence Agreement?
An Image Licence Agreement, also called a Photograph Licence Agreement, is a contract under which the owner of a photograph, graphic design, illustration or other still image licenses the use of the image to a person or company (the licensee). The original owner retains the copyright of the image.
The contract set outs the terms regarding how, when, and where the licensee (the person or company that is gaining the rights to use the image) can use that image. A licensee may also be granted the right to sub-license the image to someone else. It is important to note that in an image licence agreement, the copyright in the image or images is not being sold – the licensee is granted a right (called a licence) to use the image(s) in accordance with the terms of the agreement.
Why do I need an Image Licence Agreement?
An image licence agreement protects both the copyright holder and the person licensing the work.
It provides the photographer/holder of the copyright the opportunity to earn revenue from the work and allows the setting of limits on the different ways the image can be used and even the duration of the licence.
For the person licensing the image(s), a licensing agreement is the only legal way to use the image without breaching copyright. If you want to use an image for marketing purposes, or even to publish on your personal blog, there needs to be a licensing agreement or purchase. Additionally, through a licencing agreement it is possible to gain exclusive rights to the image, preventing the photographer from allowing anyone else to use it or gain rights to manipulate the image.
This image licence agreement contains provisions regarding:
- whether the use of the image(s) will be exclusive or non-exclusive;
- the fee or other payment to be made for the licence;
- how and where the licensee is permitted to use the image(s) (e.g. in print and/or online, unlimited use or limited number of uses);
- the purposes for which the image(s) may be used by the licensee (e.g. editorial use, commercial use (e.g. on products) or for marketing/promotional purposes);
- other restrictions on the use of the image(s), including whether the image(s) can be altered, cropped or otherwise manipulated or sub-licensed; and
- the licence period, which may be perpetual (forever) or limited to a specific time frame.
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Every business should have its own, tailor-made standard contracts for customers which reflect the way it does business.
Having your own standard terms will ensure that you’re able to provide the protection that your business needs and will enhance your reputation because customers will know what to expect from you and what happens if things go wrong.
To be effective, your standard terms must reflect the way you do business and protect your business from the specific risks you face. In contrast, we know that many businesses resort to relying on generic templates or re-purposing contracts obtained from competitors or previous employers. The problem is that these contracts often do not match up with your or your customers’ expectations and fail to adequately protect your business because important risks are not properly addressed. Poorly drafted or ill-suited contracts are often not worth the paper they are written on.