Is it a transit ad, or a bus back? Does POP really mean Point of Purchase? The way we have, for years and years, described the types, sizes, media, and locations of where our photography is used, is dizzying.
Enter the PLUS Coalition, a non-profit international multi-industry organization that has created image and illustration licensing standards applying to assignment and stock photography and illustration. PLUS is the Picture Licensing Universal System, a system of standards for use by photographers, illustrators, stock agencies, designers, publishers, ad agencies, museums, libraries, educational institutions and others.
Photographers may access and view the PLUS glossary and licensing codes for free, making it a no-cost system for you to integrate into how you license your work.
This system, though, is not photographer-centric. Photographers, photo editors, and photo researchers (and even illustrators) all will benefit from a standardized language to communicate just what a license to an image does – and does not – include.
Organizations such as Adobe, Getty Images, Corbis, and NewsCom are among those that are taking a leading role in sustaining this coalition. For photo buyers and editors looking to procure images from photographers and other visual artists and complete rights clearances, the proverbial Tower of Babel has arrived.
PLUS is a neutral organization with balanced representation for all industries involved in creating, distributing and using images. The board seats are a cross-section of these industries. Current board members include Picture Council of America (PACA), American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP), American Association of Publishers (AAP), and the American Society of Media Professionals (ASMP). A worldwide organization, PLUS includes participants from Japan, Italy, Ausralia, Canada, UK, France, and many other countries.
Currently, the metadata in your images delivered to a publication or stock agency might include warnings such a “No Model Release,” “Agency Exclusive,” etc.. With the PLUS standards you will use standardized terminology and codes that have been approved not just by photographers, but by clients as well. PLUS allows anyone in possession of an image to clearly understand the rights licensed. PLUS has developed a License Data Format including all of the information commonly specified in a license, such as licensee, licensor, contact information, media category, duration and other standardized license parameters. If this is not a part of your workflow as photographer, it certainly will be applied by the editors receiving the images before they are made available via a media outlet, and this same information will be an integral part of what photo editors will be looking to for guidance about their ability to use the images in their publications.
PLUS allows standardized license metadata to be embedded in images and used in digital asset management systems, so that we and our clients can better manage the rights associated with our images.
Understanding the PLUS system and how it can serve you, your media outlet, and end clients, will make you (and your images) more valuable. For more information, visit www.UsePLUS.org.