In my bid to enter the professional photographers’ market in Jamaica, I learned a few things:
a) the purchaser does not expect a photographer to charge more than once for the use of their image
b) the purchaser (as in one case where I interviewed for a freelance photographer’s position) does not have a working knowledge of the Copyright Act as it relates to photographers or HOPES that the photographer does not.
c) In a recessed economy photographers seem to agree that it is best to “make a money” than to stand up for their rights and to demand monetary settlement as is their due.
When I am quoting a potential client on my services, I make sure to state what kind of license goes along with the pricing that they are getting. For example, a client wanting to use an image exclusively for a limited time or unlimited should expect to pay more than using the image for a specific time and a specific use. If they secure my services that means that they have selected the option and pricing that they require. The rights managed fee is usually quoted separately from the photographer’s daily fee ( I institute a minimum charge of a half day). Some photographers think it is better to to bundle everything in one fee so as not to discombobulate or perturb a potential client.
Has this method worked for me in the Jamaican environment? A simple “Yes” or “No” is not applicable here. In order to have any successful business, one must be prepared to be patient. I have been doing professional photography since 2003 and it is only in the last three years that I am not being turned down more often for jobs. ( I might add at this point that this not only because of my method of quotation, but also because I have to compete with a lot of picture takers as well – who will do the job cheaper but not necessarily better).
In the long run, photographers lose when they do not manage the rights to their images as the client feels free to re-use the image as many times, for anything and as long as they like without paying another cent to the photographer. It behooves the entrepreneurial photographer to understand their rights on a local and global scale, and since Jamaica has been a signatory to the Berne Convention for a long time – locally and globally are almost synonymous.
I shall now quote from an article by Samuel Lewis written for Digital PhotoPro Magazine on the issue of copyright – “Gaining knowledge of the fundamental aspects and pitfalls associated with copyright is the potential. The real power waits to be discovered by those who wisely apply the knowledge in their business.” (In reference to American author Napoleon Hill’s quotation “Knowledge is only potential power”
Further quoting form his article “Do you really know about copyright law?” from the same magazine
” One of the unique aspects of copyright law is that it recognizes and confers upon copyright owners not just one exclusive right, but a series of exclusive rights. US copyrights law currently enumerates six different rights, four of which are directly relevant to photographers. These include:
the right to make copies of the image;
the right to distribute copies of the image publicly by various means (generally, through sales or licensing);
the right to publicly display the image;
the right to create derivative works based upon the image.
Not only does the copyright law confer these rights, but it also allows a copyright owner to deal with these rights separately. A copyright owner can sell or license these rights individually, even if the result is that four different people end up owning a certain right to the image”
For information – Samuel Hill is a Board Certified Intellectual Property Law specialist and partner at Feldman Gale, PA in Miami, Florida. He is also a professional photographer who has covered sports events for a quarter century.