View Full Version : Photo Rights (Author's Responsibility)

01-22-2008, 09:37 PM
For a forthcoming history book, I (rather than my publisher) am charged with requesting and obtaining all photo reproduction rights.

I will be sending out requests to various libraries and archives and would like to include a standard release form for the providers to fill out, ensuring that I receive all the information required for legal reproduction. Can anyone point me to any online templates or resources in this vein? In the past, I have downloaded boilerplate contracts for freelance work, etc. and was wondering if there was a similar resource for freelance writers who need to secure reproduction rights.

Any help would be appreciated.

01-22-2008, 09:50 PM
My publisher has a standard form that they use for rights. Have you asked your publisher if they have one?

01-22-2008, 09:56 PM
I hadn't yet. Is that something that a publisher should be expected to provide, even if they themselves are not going to be involved in the rights/reproduction process (w/ the author fully bearing the responsibility and liability for that process)?

01-22-2008, 10:17 PM
My experience was somewhat different from K1P1's. I contacted the folks who had the photos I wanted, and sent them a letter (usually just an e-mail) telling them what I was doing, and asking them what I needed to do to request copies of photos, along with permissions for use.

In all cases, after I made the formal request and sent in my check for any reproduction costs and rights, the provider sent me the photos (usually as a high-res tiff) along with the paperwork granting the permissions, which I then forwarded to my publisher, who took care of everything from there. I found most museums/libraries to be VERY helpful in making sure things went smoothly--but I suppose it depends on which organizations you're approaching!

A Word With You
01-22-2008, 10:59 PM
Is that something that a publisher should be expected to provide...?

I would think so, because even if they (the publishing house) tried to disavow any responsibility, they'd bear some degree of liability in a lawsuit. When have you ever heard of an author being sued but not his or her publisher?

aka eraser
01-22-2008, 11:24 PM
I had to secure releases for some photos for my book but the forms were supplied by my publisher. Go ahead and ask them.

01-22-2008, 11:30 PM
Doesn't hurt to check the source's website for preferences.

In the money-job, I'm a secretary for some multi-published physicians. While helping two of them with their lastest textbook chapter, I had to get permission for various tables, charts and photos. The publisher provided a template to use, but some of the copyright holders had their own request form online and wouldn't accept an outside template.

Hope it goes smoothly!

01-23-2008, 12:09 AM
One of my publishers supplied me with a form permissions letter upfront. I had to ask my other publisher if they had any kind of permission request document, and they sent me a formal document. I would definitely ask if your publisher if they have anything you can use.

01-24-2008, 08:19 AM
Like everyone else here, my publishers supplied me with in-house legal forms for the photo provider to sign.

I am inferring from your post that the libraries and archives you'll send the forms to will provide you with no-strings-attached photos. Most such places that I approached (which included museums) wanted significant sums for their photos and even then, the license offered was too limited for my purposes. Consequently, I only used one photo from a museum (an academic one at that) and one from a historical society. This is out of ~1,000 illustrations in my almost-600 page textbook.

01-24-2008, 09:09 AM
Thanks for the help, everybody. I really appreciate it.