Terms You Need to Know

Source for these definitions is the PLUS glossary.

Buy Out — An imprecise term used to describe acquisition of broad usage rights to a work, sometimes in a particular market or medium.

Buy Out is a slang term, often misinterpreted as a transfer of copyright ownership of a work from the copyright holder to the client or client’s agent. In the absence of a specific copyright transfer agreement executed by the copyright holder there is no copyright transfer. If this term is used, an additional, precise list of rights granted or transferred should accompany any license.

Creative Fee — A charge by a creator for his or her efforts to complete a project, which is not based on time alone. Factors may include compensation for trade experience and special capabilities, or for any creative effort, contribution or process required to complete a project.

Note — Some photographers separate Creative fees and Licensing/Usage fees, while others combine them into one number.

Exclusive License — A privilege that, when granted, limits how a copyright holder (and other parties permitted) can offer a work to a third party for reproduction.

An exclusive license may be broad or specific. The rights grant may provide the licensee with exclusive rights to use a work singly or in any combination of: a specified media, industry, territory, language, time period, product and any other specific right negotiated by the licensor and licensee.

Flexible License Pack — A license model permitting the use of one or more images in multiple media without requiring individual license fees for each image or use.

License Fee — The price charged by a licensor to a licensee in exchange for a grant of rights permitting the use of one or more images in a manner prescribed in a license. A variety of factors, such as circulation, the size of reproduction and specific image qualities affect the determination of a particular license fee.

Non-exclusive License — A grant of rights issued by a licensor to a licensee that does not preclude the licensor from granting the same rights to other licensees. Unless otherwise negotiated, licenses are non-exclusive.

Postproduction — Everything that happens to a visual work after production, typically after images (either still or moving) have been recorded to film or digital media. Postproduction might include editing, color correction, etc.

Preproduction — Work on a project or job that is related to preliminary preparations. Includes all planning and the making of any arrangements necessary to enable or facilitate final production. Typically billed as time plus any costs expended.

Production Fee — A charge related to the preparation, planning, setup, props and styling, gaffers, grips and assistants. After production, it is related to post-processing and delivery.

Unlimited Use — A broad grant of rights that permits utilization across all media types and parameters. Can be restricted in any usage type or parameter, singly or in groups; can include all uses, all media, all time.

Usage Fee — A charge made for a work to be shown in a specific media, based on terms in a license or contract agreement.