Adapting to Changing Business Models

Posted on 12/17/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Should a photographer license his work as royalty-free (RF) for a 20% royalty or rights-managed (RM) for a 40% to 50% royalty? The answer seems simple, but maybe not. In a previous article I pointed out that there is absolutely no justification for a distributor paying only a royalty of only 20% when an images is licensed as RF and 40% when it is licensed as RM. It doesn't cost the distributor any more to license an image as RF than as RM. In fact, if anything, because negotiating time is involved in making some RM sales it may actually cost the distributor more to license rights to an RM image than to an RF one. Thus, if we were basing the royalty share solely on the relative contributions of the distributor and the creator to the sale, the RF royalty should be higher, not lower, than the royalty for RM.

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Copyright © 2009 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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