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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

Request to use a picture
A TV show has asked to use one of my pictures

 8:14 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

A TV show has requested the use of one of my pictures from a site I own. They are doing a segment and the picture applies to that segment.

How do you approach that? Do you charge them, require that they include your website name, etc?

Any advice?



 8:51 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

personally i'd charge them.

in my experience tv shows want stuff for nothing and try to fob you off with a 'credit' (a garbled mention or in the text credits at the end - both of which are near useless imho)


 8:53 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Definitely charge. It's TV- most likely they're used to paying big bucks.


 9:54 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

What would be a going rate? What if rather than charging, I put my sites url on the picture so it is clear and require that it remain clear?


 10:23 pm on Apr 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

I love it when people blithely say you should ask for money. Based on what exactly?

There may be numerous factors worthy of consideration such as:

* the type of show - news media, entertainment - what?
* the size of viewing audience - local or national?
* the broadcast slot - prime time or sleep time?
* likelihood of repeat broadcasts
* the length of the segment
* the purpose of the segment
* it's context
* the context of usage of your image
* the specific nature & value (relative to context) of the image
* any rights that you may have to forego by having the image broadcast publicly
* any benefits that you may accrue by having the image broadcast publicly

... put my sites url on the picture so it is clear and require that it remain clear

Nice try... and what will you do after the segment is broadcast and you find that they erased your web address? And, if the segment usage is but a split second, what value then? Find out more before committing yourself.


 8:38 pm on Apr 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>I love it when people blithely say you should ask for money. Based on what exactly?

Based on the fact that they want to use it, you would need to make your own judgment as to how much based on all kinds of factors and if they don't want to pay then fine you won't get the 'benefit' of it being 'featured' on their show.

i was just stating my view based on the OP's question. which was:
>>Do you charge them, require that they include your website name, etc?

I admit my own experience is not based on images, but rather widgets that i've been in business selling for over 25 years. TV companies/book publishers and magazines are always wanting to use something (because these widgets look interesting and are photogenic), and they don't like paying at all, they much prefer to offer a useless credit of some form.

If you are a famous brand then i imagine there is benefit just from your picture being seen, but if you are not then the only benefit you will get is if you are paid for it.

having said that of course Syzygy is correct in that that are so many factors, there is no blanket right or wrong, you just have to do what works for you.


 11:48 am on Apr 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

You are right, it will probably be displayed for only a second or two and if so, would not do anything for the site. Perhaps I should ask for money, but the amount I would receive is minimal and I have no ideas of what rights I would be giving up, so, after reading all this, I'm just going to ignore the request and avoid the headache.


 12:04 pm on Apr 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but they would probably appreciate the courtesy of a reply - even if negative.


 1:23 pm on Apr 13, 2010 (gmt 0)

..I'm just going to ignore the request and avoid the headache.

I wouldn't; I'd be in there like a shot. Follow it through - find out what they want from you exactly. Ask a few questions and make a decision from there.

The coverage could be really worthwhile. It might just be a waste of time. Whatever the outcome it's a good learning experience. Next time you won't be so unprepared and you'll be better informed.

Go on - give it a go. I would, without a doubt.


 1:45 am on Jun 9, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, I just ignored them and just yesterday received a request from another company (to use my pictures, free). I asked for a number of items and the response was I would receive credit at the end of the show.

I don't have a brand name and I'm not terribly worried if nothing pans out, but I decided to take Syzygy's advice and dive in.

I did that, said that credits at the end of a show would do no good and said that the only other option was payment.

They responded and want to know how much I would charge. There are 4 pictures total.

I need your help! How much should I charge? Do they get rights then to use the picture however they like, or just for this show? Do I need a contract? I'm in the U.S. they are in Canada.

I've never done this before so any advice would be most welcome!

Robert Charlton

 3:02 am on Jun 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I haven't licensed stills for broadcast, but it may help to think of them as potential film or video shots. Normally, film or video licensing is priced on the basis of rights granted, duration of license, and time on the screen.

Is the license for network or cable or educational television? What broadcast regions (Canada only, North America, worldwide, the known universe, etc)? Are home rights (DVD; streamed) and internet rights included?

What's the broadcast window (1 year, 5 years, in perpetuity and beyond, etc)? How many showings?

Charge is then by running time, per second, with a per-shot and overall minimum of some sort to cover handling costs, and the cost of the contract, which can be a PITA.

You will have to declare, btw, that you have the rights to license the footage, which sometimes involves subject clearances. The license should of course be non-exclusive, limited to a particular production. Charge for total running time in the show, as well as for promotional use.

Chances are with stills that unless you have some rare material, this probably isn't going to be worth your time in terms of money, and you're going to be doing it for another reason. If it is rare material, you might get into thousands of dollars, but that's unlikely.

You've got to gauge by who's asking for it and what it's for. If it's a worthy cause, you might want to grant the rights free. Sometimes, the connections you make may lead to something else that will help you. What goes around comes around. That said, sometimes it's not worth the trouble at all.

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