Intellectual Property Management

First in Retail have experienced only ONE company in seventeen years get their contracts correct.

The Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988 means what you pay for is not yours unless you get your paperwork sorted.

Retailers need to know

In our experience most if not all Retailers go about licensing and photography rights in totally the wrong direction.  As retailers it is you who chooses the studio or photographer yet you are dictated to regarding the use of the images by the studio or photographer, why is this?  It’s the same with model agencies, retailers need to start talking with authority and with their feet.  Let’s go behind the scenes.

Unless you have a piece of paper that says otherwise, the photographer/Studio OWNS the image you paid for, thats the end of the argument, it’s law and it cannot be debated. Copyright law has not changed since 1998 it all comes under the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988.

So in most cases the photographer/studio grants you a license and that license dictates what you can and cannot do.  How many of you have seen a license? I can tell you from experience, not many, and yet this is so important.

"I Paid for them so I can do what i want"

If only the above statement was true, the facts are you can only do what the photographer/studio and yourself have agreed to,  we have first had knowledge and experience that in most cases retailers have no idea what they have agreed to 

photography studio

So what do I do?

You need to get things in order, the very first thing to negotiate is the copyright to be transferred upon creation a very simple contract is all that is needed.  You many need to pay a little extra, but its worth it in the long term.  Expect some kickback on this proposal, easiest thing to do at this point is to find someone who is willing to do what you are paying/asking them for, its that simple.

If you must use a photographer/studio who is unwilling to negotiate copyright transfer, then a full license should be your minimum, that license should contain no less than a 99-year usage timescale,  we have no idea why in this day and age people are prepared to accept  images they have paid for have some sort of time limit. When you paid for your website, it didn’t come with a year’s license then you had to pay again there is no way you would accept that so why accept it when paying for images.?

So to sum up, retailers start understanding copyright, and licensing and how important these assets are to your business, and the consequences if it goes wrong.  Is all the paperwork in place, if you hire a model is your studio/photographer bound by the terms you are, they have copyright remember, if they haven’t signed the model agency paperwork they are not under their contract, and it is the retailer who will suffer the consequences.

For a free consultation on the current state of play withing your media creation workflow, as this topic covers way more than photography, give Craig a call on 01204 708028

photography studio


6500sq feet of commercial photography space, our invisible mannequin photography stations have been made by us and improved over 16 years, our stylists and photographers have photographed close to 400 thousand garments and products, producing around TWO MILLION published images. Your items are steamed and professionally unpacked and repacked, each garment or product is treated with the utmost care, all items returned are returned in the manner we received them. clothing photography and product photography is what we do, and only what we have done since 2006. 

*subject to original packaging