The issue of copyright and licences granted when working on commission is a matter of contention between broadcasting companies and the NUJ. NUJ members should contact the Freelance Office for updates.

Exclusive news pictures could command four-figure transmission fees, but even ordinary stock pictures could be worth a few hundred pounds if used in a programme broadcast with repeats in the UK, and then broadcast in other territories.

It is essential that photographers keep a precise record of the agreement for the initial licence, and with whom it has been agreed. The transmission fees quoted are for single use only. Fees for multiple use of stock pictures are difficult to calculate because the actual repeat usage is frequently unpredictable, and notoriously difficult to monitor.

For this reason suppliers to the BBC may find the TELPIC agreement (linked below) is preferable to monitoring usage and repeat invoicing. It also makes sense for both clients and contributors to agree a flat fee for a twenty-four hour period on one station, particularly for news pictures, at least two to three times the agreed rate for a single transmission.

More advice and links...
* On negotiating for photography / broadcasting
* Uploaded 09/06/2323: if you have a printout, check the current version at
* Rates for the Job good, bad and ugly
* Join the NUJ to get individual advice & representation

Text © Mike Holderness & previous contributors; Moral rights asserted. The collection (database right) © National Union of Journalists. Comments to please. You may find the glossary helpful.

The National Union of Journalists must not, can not and would not wish to dictate rates or terms of engagement to members or to editors. The information presented here is for guidance and as an aid to equitable negotiation only.

Suggestions apply to contracts governed by UK law only. In any event, nothing here should be construed as legal advice.