Usage / Licensing of Photographs

As the sole creator of his work, Nat Carter remains sole owner of all copyrights for the photographs, drawings, and hybrid/composite images he produces – even after the sale of one of his works. When an image is purchased, what is actually happening is that Nat becomes “licensor” to the buyer who becomes the “licensee”. Understanding how Photo Usage Licensing works can be important because its dynamics affect the pricing of the works and the responsibilities of each party involved.

If you want to purchase an image from Nat, please describe precisely how you intend to use the image(s). Nat will then draft an appropriate license agreement and determine a price. Once the terms are agreed upon an invoice will be sent that contains a link to where payment can be made on line, after which the image(s) can be downloaded directly from the web site. Payments can be made using major credit cards.

Exclusivity: Photo Usage Licenses can be first divided into two types of licenses: exclusive and non-exclusive.

  • An Exclusive license provides the buyer/licensee with an assurance that the same image will not be licensed to any third party for the duration of the agreement. Understandably these are the most expensive type of licenses since they deprive Nat from third party sales.
  • Non-Exclusive license allows Nat to sell additional licenses of the same image to other parties under separate agreements. This is the default condition of sale.

Extent of Usage: Photo Usage Licenses can be further characterized by the extent of usage allowed by each license – as either a one time use in a specified media or as an extended use in a variety of media over a period of time.

  • One time Use License Agreements for Digital Images: This licensing arrangement provides the buyer/licensee with the right to use an image for any commercial, personal, non-profit or editorial projects involving advertising, print media, web site publication, or broadcast for a single instance. In this case, the licensing agreement will specify the extent of the image’s usage – whether it will be printed in a newsletter, newspaper or billboard – or shared on a website etc. Also included in the agreement (and affecting the price of the license) will be the number of copies being made (for print media) or duration that the image is to be posted (for web media). Any additional printing runs or featuring of the images on the web will require an additional license agreement. Since this arrangement is the most tightly controlled, it is also the cheapest.
  • Extended Use License Agreements for Digital Images: This licensing arrangement gives greater freedom to the buyer/licensee. It allows the usage of the purchased image(s) in any commercial, personal, non-profit or editorial projects involving advertising, print media, web site publication, or broadcast for an extended period of time. Typically this time period is one to five years, but can be longer. During this time, the buyer/licensee is free to print, publish, distribute the purchased image(s) without restriction in a variety of media – even simultaneously – without need to procure additional licensing agreements. The only restriction to this license other than a reasonable time limit is that it is not transferrable to a third party.  If one party purchases images that a third party would like to use as well, the third party will have to procure a separate license agreement from Nat.

Bulk Discounts: Also affecting the price of image usage licensing agreements is the number of images to be licensed. When  Nat negotiates a license agreement for his work, he will typically license a batch of images at a per-image-rate 10-20 percent lower than a single image.

Copyright and Credit: Implicit to any licensing agreement is the buyer/license’s agreement to credit the owner of the copyright (Nat Carter) whenever any image is used.  No copyright or intellectual property is transferred at any point to the buyer/licensee. When possible, Nat will appreciate photo credits to include not only his name but a link to his web site: BlackBoxVisions.net.

Prints: Prints are sold “as is” and become the physical property of the buyer post sale. The images borne by the prints, however, is are still protected by copyright and may not be altered or reproduced without written approval from Nat.


Exclusive Prints: On occasion, Nat will create a series of prints of a selected image with the understanding that once this series is printed and presented for sale, no other prints form the same film negative/digital file shall be made available. In this way the print, or series of prints, can be considered “exclusive”.