The American Society of Picture Professionals has published a very informative guide for picture editors and researchers on locating copyright holders of imagery when the name and contact information is not readily attached to an image. The guide, and a link to a downloadable PDF, are available free or charge.
Depending on the information researchers have to begin their searches, ASPP recommends a systematic approach using many of the new tools and web-based systems that have become publicly available only during the last several months.
Two ASPP Board members, Holly Marshall and Amy Wrynn, worked on revising this document. Marshall is an independent rights clearance specialist and media editor. “A picture, as they say, is worth a thousand words,” she said. “But powerful imagery can also cost thousands of dollars if not researched, used and protected appropriately. That’s why our Guide is an essential read for individuals and organizations that license and publish images. When you know the right way to purchase and clear images, you not only protect your reputation as a publisher (and an image buyer), you empower yourself with knowledge and create lasting relationships.”
Wrynn, director of image supplier management at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, said, “There are several new technologies being used by image creators to identify ownership within the digital files themselves. Of course, those technologies will only be useful in the future if they receive fairly widespread adoption among creators and licensors. I hope this document will be helpful to novice researchers as well as the more experienced picture researcher. Hopefully, it will help those ‘orphans’ out there find homes!”