Chapter 7. The Business of Licensing

The business of licensing photography is technically a simple one: You grant someone rights to your property (photographs) in exchange for money. The granting of that permission comes in the form of a contract called a license agreement. And, like the model release, it's just another kind of contract, just as I described in Part 4.

For purposes of this part, there are two kinds of contracts to consider.

One is the implied agreement, which is what you see for common, everyday things like music, software, tickets to Disneyland, or your camera. Each of these (and many more) come with implied agreements that stipulate what you can and can't do. You are bound by these terms the moment you use the product (cameras), open its packaging (software), or even access it (music). As for Disneyland, you agreed to certain terms when you entered the premises, as indicated on the back of your ticket stub or on your payment receipt. For any of these agreements, if you violate the terms, the penalties can range from something as simple as a voided product warranty or ejection from the park, or as major as being sued for something as serious as copyright infringement.

The other kind of contract is that species of long, involved contracts that require signatures from the parties involved. You sign things like these when you buy cars, buy homes, get married, have surgery, acquire an oil company, or sue the telephone company. Chances are, if it's big and there are things ...

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