oI have been working with a client on a large architectural project for the last month and a half and when she e-mailed me today about scheduling our next location she also asked about the granting of usage rights to one of their partners whom I would call a third-party.
Here is part of her e-mail and in particular the question regarding usage
Second, if XXXXXXXX wants to use your photos do they need to get rights for distribution from you? I know we talked about us having the rights, but I didn't know if that is extended to XXXXXX.”
Here is my reply:
“Thanks for asking about the usage rights. This can be a confusing subject and I am not sure how much you know about photographic usage so I will go ahead and explain and use a couple analogies in case you are not familiar.
When we photographers do photo assignments we are generally doing them for one client and if anyone else out there wants to use the photographs they usually pay the photographer for those usage rights. This is a pretty common arrangement and I usually describe it in a couple ways: when I buy a plane ticket I get the usage of that seat for one of the flight. At the end of the flight I get off and I have no more rights to get back on without paying more nor did that one flight buy me any ownership in the airline. I paid for one use of an airline seat. Another analogy is an architect provides building design for one client but that one client cannot distribute those plans to their friends to build with, without paying the architect a license fee.
In a similar situation, I have had homebuilders asking me to photograph one of their new homes and I photographed the interior and the exteriors, then the cabinet company sees the photographs and wants to use them in their brochure and they paid me for the rights to use the photos on top of what the homebuilder paid. So this would be similar to XXXXXXXX wishing to use the photos in their archives as well.
The most common approach for additional usage by third-party clients is 75% of what the original assignment fee was. This is a general starting point for many photographers with the idea that the third-party client benefits from 100% of the effort but only has to pay 75% of the cost while not having to expend any cost to be there for the shoot nor do any of the coordinating prior to the photo shoot.
I should also mention that in situations like this, I have had clients who teamed up with the third-party company, as in XXXXXXXXXXXX and XXXXX, and split the cost of the photo shoot and the third-party usage fees for a more equitable arrangement between the two. It makes sense because they both benefited equally.
So I hope that gives you a good idea about usage and third-party use and……………………….”
That was a quick explanation in essence telling a client that they cannot share the photos I'm taking for them with any other parties unless those third parties pay a license fee for the usage. I'm sure there many photographers out there who would handle this differently but this approach has actually worked quite well in the past and seems to be an equitable solution all the way around.