All Rights Or No? The Content Creator’s Debate

contract signing

What rights should you sell when you give a company something to publish? Experts and content creators agree: as few as possible.

But it’s not always that simple.

Photographer John Harrington made that clear on his blog earlier this week when he sparked off a debate about how photographers should treat their work.

“Some photographers argue that these kinds of discussions [about rights] aren’t worth the hassle. Just sell your services for as much as you can up front, they say, and don’t worry about saving rights to monetize later.

“This point of view usually comes from photographers who don’t want to deal with negotiations, contracts, accounting and spreadsheets. They just want to take pictures — all the way up until their business closes its doors.”

He went on to explain that he once turned down an assignment to photograph 60 attorneys at $1000 a pop, because the client was going to resell the photos back to the attorneys for $3000 each.

“I decided that the magazine should pay more, considering all the planned uses of my work. But they wouldn’t budge. So I declined the job. Would they be able to find a photographer for this assignment? Yes, of course. But it wouldn’t be me,” he wrote.

However, as the comments point out, it’s a rare photog who can afford to turn down a $60,000 assignment.

And in these situations, negotiation is often out of the question–rather, it’s take it or leave it.

So would you hold out for more? Or do the shoot for half the price in exchange for retaining more rights? Or would you do it, take the money, and run?

photo: WordRidden