Frequently Asked



Who owns the copyright of the images you take?
Under the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988, authors own the copyright of the books they write, musicians own the copyright of the songs they create and photographers own the copyright of the images they take. This allows a photographer to control who uses their work, in what form, and in what media. For clients of MLR Photo, it’s important to discuss how and where you want to use the resulting images. We’ll then licence you to use them in that way, and you can be sure that they will be exclusive to you. If you later decide you’d like to use the images in another context, then discuss it with us, and we will extend the licence to allow you to do that.

Why don’t I get the right to use your photographs wherever and whenever I want?
Most clients don’t want to pay for unlimited use of commissioned images, as this will be very expensive.

Worldwide rights for every media - posters, press, cinema, web, videos, TV, CD’s, tee shirts etc – and every use – editorial, advertising, gallery, display, games, etc – for the life of copyright (70 years after the death of the photographer) would be extremely expensive. Also, if professional models were used their charges also reflect the use of the image. An unrestricted licence would be enormously expensive and you would almost certainly be paying for uses you will never need. It’s rather like buying a train, when all you really need is a ticket.

What If I want to use the image in ways I hadn’t originally anticipated?
This often happens; maybe it’s a tribute to the excellence of our work at MLR Photo! If subsequently you decide you’d like to use an image in other ways – putting a brochure shot into an annual report and accounts, for example – we’d be happy to negotiate an extension of your licence.


If I’ve paid for your time, and your materials, why can’t I keep all the work?
There is a difference between the medium – usually a digital file nowadays – and the image that is carried on it, in the same way that there is a difference between the paper a book is printed on and the story it tells. Buying a book does not allow you to make a film of the story. So it is with photography. The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 gives the photographer ownership of the image, which is then licenced for your use in the ways described by the licence. This allows us at MLR Photo, and all photographers, amateur and professional, to control the way in which our work is used so that our reputation doesn’t suffer, and our income is protected.

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