LICENSEE– The person or entity to which the license is granted.

CREATIVE FEE – The creative fee is charged by the photographer for his or her efforts to bring a project to a successful completion. In addition to time spent, the creative fee may be calculated including factors like the photographer’s experience, special expertise, reputation, or anything that contributes to the overall creative effort.

EXCLUSIVE LICENSE – When granted, an exclusive license limits not only the client in their use of the licensed image(s), but also the photographer in their ability to license the work to multiple users. It’s also important to note that exclusive licenses can be very broad or very specific. The license might grant the licensee exclusive rights to use a photo singly, or in any combination of a specified media, industry, territory, language, time period, product, and/or any other specific right negotiated between the licensor and licensee.

License Definition

NON-EXCLUSIVE LICENSE – The licensor can grant the same or similar rights to multiple licensees. Unless otherwise negotiated, licenses are non-exclusive.

UNLIMITED USE – This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It’s a very broad grant of rights that permits the client to use the photo(s) across all media types and parameters (e.g., territory, duration, etc.).

LICENSING FEE – This is the price charged by the licensor to the licensee in exchange for a grant of rights permitting the use of one or more images in a manner prescribed in the license. The fee can– and will– be based on factors such as circulation, size of reproduction, and specific image qualities.

BUY OUT – This is a very imprecise term used to describe a grant of extremely broad usage rights. It has no actual legal definition. It is an incredibly vague term and I wholeheartedly discourage anyone from engaging in a buy out. For starters, the people who are asking you for it may be under the impression that they are acquiring the copyright to the images when they are not. I’m not a huge fan of unlimited use either (unless the client is paying a premium for it), but it is preferable to a buy out. If your client is insisting on a buy out, it is imperative that you make sure they are clear on the concept.

WORK FOR HIRE – Also known as “work made for hire,” this term is defined in the U.S.
Copyright Act as a work prepared by an employee within the scope of his or her employment, or a work specially ordered or commissioned for use as a contribution to a collective work.
What does that mean for you? It means that you may not hold the copyright to a photo that you took while working for someone else. And if you don’t own the copyright, you have no legal standing to license the work to a third party.

If you are ever in doubt regarding terminology– either in explaining it or understanding it– be sure to check out the Picture Licensing Universal System (PLUS). Among other resources available on their website, the glossary can be an invaluable tool in making sure everyone is on the same page.

How Much Photographers Charge