“Own The Rights:” Say What Now?

“We need to own the rights.”

That phrase gets thrown around a LOT in the creative industries. And it gets misused quite a bit of the time. What does it mean to “own” rights? What is it worth? Why is it necessary?

A personal story:

I used to be a photographer. I was pretty good, too. One day a friend of mine tells me his daughter’s boyfriend is managing a model, and she needs some portfolio pics, and could I do it? I said, “Sure.” So I go and take some pictures and everybody’s happy. Then Daughter’s Boyfriend calls me and says, “Hey, I manage a new band, they needs some album and promo pics, can you help me out?

I said, “Sure. What are you looking for, and what are you looking to spend?”

He says, “Well, I figured I’d pay you $200.00 and you’d just give me the film.”

Not pointing out that I shoot digital, I politely respond, “Yes, but what rights do you need?”

“Well I figured we’d own the pics and just pay you for your time.”

Fortunately, I know my friend doesn’t actually like Daughter’s Boyfriend, so I don’t have to be nice to him

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