Simplify the process of photography licensing & copyright to make more with less with Media Register
It is not a surprise that professional photographers are busy being involved in multiple projects. Oftentimes, they end up missing revenue because they lose track of their licensing and copyright. This can be a very tedious and time-consuming process, as many of them still use a manual paper-trail process. This is where the idea for Media Register, an innovative software tool originating from Australia, was born. Media Register is a unique and simple easy-to-use tool that standardises and automates all licence tracking. Shannon Stoddart, the founder & director of Media Register, a sponsor for the Spotlight Awards for Photographic Excellence 2018, revealed in an interview to us what the tool is, how the software came about and what its benefits are.
Production Paradise: You just recently launched the platform Media Register. Could you share with us what Media Register is in a nutshell?
Shannon: Having worked in the photography industry for 20 years as a photography agent, I have witnessed so many changes. Photographers used to shoot on film and were easily able to control where images went and where they were used. They held the negatives and had control over who they gave scans to. Everything was print, the internet wasn’t around. Now, in the digital age, there is a whole new set of challenges when it comes to tracking and managing usage.
More and more clients are asking for in-perpetuity use and part of the reason for this is that tracking usage on so many images is time-consuming and complicated. They want to avoid infringement notices down the track for breach of copyright.
One of the problems I experienced in my agency was that there were no simple, effective solutions out there to keep track of copyright and licensing. Media Register enables a user to upload an image, define who the rights are licensed to, select the media, territory and period of use and then share these details with other license parties. It links all the license parties to the agreement so that any party can know instantly if an image is licensed, for what terms and to whom. It is a really easy way for photographers to track and manage the media and talent agreements and share them with their clients.
Production Paradise: Photography and copyright licensing go hand-in-hand. Could you tell us more about the process of licensing? And how did Media Register come about?
Shannon: Commercial photography is most commonly priced according to the terms of a ‘license agreement’, usually determined by the media, territory, period of use and number of shots. It is important that the usage requirements are clearly defined and documented in a formal written agreement.
Media Register came about because I found licenses were really hard to track. For example, once I saw a billboard and knew the photo was taken by one of my photographers and out of license. The image was about five years old. To ensure my photographer was compensated for their work I spent a lot of time chasing down the client.
For me to go back and find the original agreement I had to go to my archive storage unit, retrieve the file and dig out the original paperwork. I contacted the ad agency only to learn they no longer had that client. It took a month of phone calls and emails to finally get in touch with the person who could help me.
The feedback I received from the client was that they tried to find out who the photographer was, but weren’t able to. We were eventually able to charge for the use of the image, earning my photographer a nice royalty.
I knew there had to be a better way, so I thought about how to build a ‘simple’ system that could track image and talent usage in one place and link all the necessary parties. I wanted to build a system where everyone had access to the licence, it was easy to understand and readily available to be re-licensed or rolled-over. Media Register was born.
Production Paradise: Why would a photographer need your product and what makes you unique in the photography business?
Shannon: There is not one system for tracking usage. In most organisations, it is still a manual paper-trail process. Media Register standardises and automates all the licence tracking, it has been purpose built, and it is intelligent, intuitive and easy to use.
It provides a centralised solution for tracking image and talent licence agreements. It is easy to look up an image and know instantly if it is licensed or expired, who it is licensed to and what it is licensed for. You can roll-over a licence and contact the license parties – agency, client, talent etc. The automated license expiry notifications send an expiry notification to the client with options to renew or archive and they can contact the photographer through Media Register to relicense the image. In my experience, if you follow up a license expiry there is an opportunity for it to be relicensed and create additional revenue.
Production Paradise: Professional photographers are usually very busy and keeping track of licensing in a quick and simple way is something much needed for them. How easy is it to use Media Register?
Shannon: Users can sign up and create a license in minutes.
- Register and upload an image
- Create a license and define usage – media, territory, period of use
- Add talent and create talent releases
- Add private notes and files
The license agreement can then be shared with all other parties and details can be easily identified. All parties also receive license expiry notifications and can send requests for license renewals.
Production Paradise: Could you share with us what are the benefits of using the software?
- Know instantly if an image is licensed and to whom
- License sharing links all parties to a license
- Create talent releases and track talent usage
- Easy for buyers to find the copyright owner and talent
- Monthly updates – collate all your activity in one document
- Dashboard alerts you to recent license activity – draft licenses, due to expiry
- Automated license expiry notifications
- Archive or renew (rollover) a license with ease and transparency
- Save time and money managing and tracking image licenses
Production Paradise: What advice would you give to the photographers that are considering signing up with Media Register? Is there a way that they can try out your product before signing up?
Shannon: One thing we are trying to do with Media Register is to educate photographers on the importance of copyright and how to protect their IP. There are a lot of changes happening to copyright legislation that may have negative effects, especially for young photographers who are not familiar with the commercial side of photography. I would encourage photographers to sign up to Media Register and get their clients on-board so they can easily track their licenses.
Media Register is currently available to trial for free for 90 days. As a sponsor of the Spotlight Awards, we are also offering a 6-month standard subscription to any users who register through Production Paradise. Just use the promo code PPSAFPE.
Have you not taken part in our Spotlight Awards for Photographic Excellence 2018? You can win a one year license of Media Register software along with other prizes.
Just by entering the competition, you will receive a great portfolio review by our judge panel compiled of over 50 art buyers, creative directors, photo editors and other decision makers.
More information about our awards is available on the Spotlight Awards for Photographic Excellence website.
Take the opportunity to show your work to our impressive panel of judges and win the great prizes – enter today!