I read it on the internet, so it’s got to be true, right? WRONG. Photographers have been told over and over to never sell copyright to their photos. But why? Because so and so said so. No one ever seems to actually have a good reason for refusing to sell copyright. But, I’m about to give you three reasons why you should, or at least give you an understanding as to why a client may want to purchase copyright.
1. Rights Management
Clients, especially commercial and brand photographers, don’t want to have to deal with the administrative burden of rights management. Most of the time, these clients are dealing with multiple photographers, using different licenses with different languages. They don’t always have time (or the desire) to check the details every time they want to share a photo.
2. Publicity Management
Clients want to be able to dictate how and where their photos are used. Bad publicity is still publicity. . . ehhh, maybe, BUT, do you really want to be responsible for a photograph being used illegally and potentially hurting an important client? Or worse, having to use your financial resources to protect their image? It would have saved time, money, and trouble by selling the copyright in the first place.
3. Brand Management
Clients want to be able to protect their brand. Publicity and Brand Management go hand in hand. If a photograph of your client ends up on a sleezy site, endorsing a product they don’t believe in, or anything similar, then it becomes the burden of the photographer to get it taken down. Most clients are not going to want to put the reputation of their brand and/or public image in the hands of a photographer that likely won’t want to bear the expense of copyright infringement.
Now, if you, as the photographer still want to keep copyright, ask yourself why? If it’s for profit such as stock sites, other revenue, etc., then yes, you must do what is best for your business. But, if it’s just because that’s what you’ve always been told, look at transferring copyright as a way to maximize profit. HELPFUL HINT: Don’t give it away. Don’t even sell it for licensing rate, sell it for more. And request that the client then license it back to you for portfolio use.
Win Win for you and for your client!