Control how your images are used by downloading our free Photo Licensing Agreement template. Create your legal document without any stress to protect your intellectual property.
Last Update February 6th, 2023
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- What Is a Photo License Agreement
- How to Use a Digital Image License Agreement
- Consequences of Not Having a Photo Licensing Agreement
- What to Include in a Photo License Agreement
- How to Create a Photo License Agreement
- Photo Licensing Agreement Sample
- Other Intellectual Property Documents
- Photo Licensing Agreement FAQs
What Is a Photo License Agreement
A Photo Licensing Agreement is a legal form that outlines the terms and conditions for the use of photographs, normally for a drawing, film, or other types of content.
This agreement is typically used by models, brands, and photographers to ensure that their intellectual property rights are protected and that any use of their images is authorized.
The legal document is used so that photographers and digital artists may safely sell the rights of their images to clients.
It is also known as an:
Image Licensing Agreement
Digital Image License Agreement
The Photo Licensing Agreement will explain what the image is and if another party can modify the image.
The document ensures that clients will not break copyright laws when using a photographer’s image.
Intellectual Property Right Law
United States intellectual property laws and internationally protect the owners of images (i.e., photographs) from third parties.
By creating an image you are given exclusive rights to the photograph or image you created, and it will remain yours.
If you made an image for a company it will belong to the company unless it is mentioned differently in a contract.
How to Use a Digital Image License Agreement
If you own an image it is essential to ensure that no one else may use it without your permission. Three types of individuals or entities commonly buy and sell the rights to an image:
If you fall into one of these three categories, you should understand why using a Photo Licensing Agreement is necessary.
If you are a photographer, whether you take photos professionally or simply as a hobby, there are many moments you may be asked for one of your images to be used.
Therefore, you should determine how the image will be used by the client and how much you will sell those rights for.
Even though you did not take the photo, you do have some rights to an image.
You can use a Digital Image License along with a media release form to have a further claim to ownership.
If you work for or own a marketing business or brand you should use this type of agreement, especially when working with photographers.
By using it you can protect both your rights and the photographer’s rights when it comes to the image.
Consequences of Not Having a Photo Licensing Agreement
If a Photo Licensing Agreement is not in place, there can be problems for the image licensor or licensee.
For example, a third party may use the photographs without permission, or they may use the photographs in a way that is not authorized.
If this happens, it will be difficult to stop them without an agreement as proof and the following problems will likely appear:
Unable to make a profit: Without using a Photo Licensing Agreement you will not be able to sell its rights and make a profit.
No control over use: As a creator, you would have no say in how a third party uses your image. If you own a company and use an image without permission, you risk it being removed.
Lose exclusivity: If you use someone’s photo or image without creating an agreement, you risk other companies and brands using the same image.
To ensure that you do not face these negative consequences, you should take advantage of our downloadable Digital Image License Contract template.
What to Include in a Photo License Agreement
To make certain that each party is protected when buying and selling image rights, you’ll have to include every necessary detail.
That way there is no doubt about your control regarding the image’s rights and how exclusive or non-exclusive they are.
To correctly write your agreement, be sure to include the following:
Description of the image
Licensor and licensee personal and contact information
Length of the agreement
Limitations and restrictions
By including these terms and conditions within your form you’ll create an airtight agreement and avoid any legal hassles down the road.
How to Create a Photo License Agreement
Once you know what terms must be included in your contract, you’ll need to draft your document.
Follow the steps below to create a well-structured Photo Licensing Agreement.
Mention the parties involved: Include the names and contact information of the person(s) or organization(s) granting the license and the person(s) or organization(s) receiving the license.
Specify the image’s exclusivity: State whether the license is exclusive or non-exclusive. If you are buying the rights, an exclusive agreement may be more expensive, but you will be the only one that can use it.
Add the length of time: Include the length of time the photographs can be used for.
Cite permissions: Add the specific ways the photographs can be used, if it’s not unlimited use. Mention any limitations on the use of the photographs, such as limitations on the number of copies that can be made.
Include the fees and payment: Enter the amount of money to be paid for the use of the photographs and when it is due. Also mention how they must be paid for (cash, check, etc.), and whether it will be completed in one lump sum or installments.
Sign the document: After including everything in the document and accepting the terms, each party must sign the agreement to make it official.
Make this process much easier by using LawDistrict’s standard digital image license agreement template to create your legal form.
Photo Licensing Agreement Sample
Before creating your Licensing Agreement, it’s recommendable to study a written example.
Review the Digital Image License example below to have less doubt regarding how to structure your document.
Other Intellectual Property Documents
Whether you are a photographer, model, or brand owner, you should have as much legal protection as possible when buying rights to media and images.
Similar documents exist are used to protect intellectual property rights, such as:
Photo Licensing Agreement FAQs
Creating a legal document like this can be tricky. That’s why we have responded to some of the most asked questions on the subject.
Below you’ll find answers to some FAQs concerning Photo Licensing Agreements.
What Are the Types of Photo Licensing Agreements?
There are two main types of Photo Licensing Agreements, exclusive and non-exclusive. If you use an exclusive license only the licensee will have the right to use the image.
The photographer or digital artist will still remain the owner even in an exclusive license.
Non-exclusive licenses let photographers re-issue licenses to other parties, normally through a third party.
Do Image Rights Expire?
Legal rights to images do expire depending on the terms of the agreement that you make with the other party.
When setting out the length of the contract you will include when the agreement ends, and at that moment the other party’s rights to use the image will conclude.
At that point, you and the other party can choose to renew the agreement.
A client’s rights to an image may also end if they breach any of the terms of the contract.
When Do I Need a Model Release Instead of a Photo License?
Even if you are a photographer and own the image, if you photograph another individual and use it for commercial purposes, you will need that model’s written consent.
Without the model’s approval, you will risk violating their right to privacy as well as using their own likeness.
Therefore, you should use a model release form when using someone else’s likeness.