DID YOU AGREE TO SUBLICENSING?
Oh yes, if you signed a contract with one of the agencies mentioned above – you just agreed to sublicensing. Now, you may start wondering: what does it really mean? We’ll explain shortly. A sublicence is a subordinate license granted to another party by the one already having a license. As a photographer, you are the only one who has all the rights to your pictures until you agree to share them with other parties. Most of the photo agencies, such as Getty Images or 500px, would require sublicensing but since they are not very explicit about it, most of the photographers may be unaware of that.
WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF SUBLICENSING?
Photographers seem to be happy once they start selling their pictures and making money from their photographs. Once they find out about the sublicensing policy, their smiles start to fade. Make sure you are not one of them!
Once you sell a picture to one of such agencies, you will receive a standard amount of money for which the company sells photos and that is about it. Photo sold. As soon as the agency obtains the rights to your picture, they start selling it to hundreds of other people and companies but you do not get a penny from these transactions.
READ THE CONTRACT CAREFULLY
Better to be safe than sorry! Read every contract carefully. Read it twice to be sure you did not miss anything written in fine – or sometimes even regular – print. Yes, it is a lot of pages to go through. But once you get into it, you may come across such notation concerning visual content submitted or made for inclusion on the service:
By posting Visual Content to the Site, you grant to 500px a non-exclusive or exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license to use, sublicense, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Visual Content in connection with the Services. This license will exist for the period during which the Visual Content is posted on the Site and will automatically terminate upon the removal of the Visual Content from the Site, subject to the terms of any license granted by an authorized 500px distributor.
If you post User Content to the Site, unless we indicate otherwise, you grant Getty Images and its affiliates a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable and fully sublicensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such User Content throughout the world in any media. You grant Getty Images and its affiliates and sublicensees the right to use the name that you submit in connection with such content, if they choose.
(Getty Images, https://www.gettyimages.com/company/terms)
Take care of your professional career, pay attention to details!