It is always important to protect your images no matter what field of photography you get into. In real estate photography, there is money to be made when photos exchange hands. Whether it be from the original photographer to a realtor, builder, or stager, it is best to claim the proper rights to your images to ensure the maximum profit.
The U.S. Copyright Act grants certain exclusive rights to the owner of a copyright in a work. Exclusive rights are different than rights given to someone who owns a copy of a work. In the case of real estate photography, if you have exclusive rights on your images, then you can sell your images as you see fit. With exclusive rights, you have complete control over the use of your images.
The Copyright Act gives give different rights to the owner. When you have exclusive rights, you have the right to reproduce the licensed image, the right to distribute copies, the right to perform, the right to display, and the right to prepare derivative, or adapted, works.
By having exclusive rights over your images, you have more control over how and when the images are used. In real estate photography, it may be more profitable for you to sell the exclusive rights of your photo to a realtor rather than keeping them for yourself. That will then give the realtor the responsibility over the images and allow them to use the pictures for second or third time listings later on down the road.
Limited rights are basically explained by the term itself. Your rights to your images are limited. These limited rights usually need to be put in writing to cover all of those involved. It can be specified which rights you are wanting to retain over your images as well as which ones you are willing to relinquish. With limited rights you don’t have the full control over your images to do with as you see fit, but still do have the ability to retain some sense of ownership over the images you have taken.
Whether you chose exclusive rights or limited rights to retain over your real estate images, just remember that they are there to protect you. With exclusive rights you have the ability to retain full and complete control over the use and distribution of your images. You can say which real estate publications they can and cannot be used in as well as how they are distributed to other realtors. With limited rights you can retain the ownership of the image while still allowing them to be used by others as they see fit as long as it is in a way that was agreed upon. The best way to protect your images is to become familiar with these rights. Real estate photography is a competitive field these days and you don’t want to miss out on any potential profits due to not knowing your rights in regards to your images. Take the time to get to know your rights and register your photos to protect yourself, and your wallet!
– Photo Wizard