Keeping copyright earns you a third more

PHOTOGRAPHERS who retain their copyright earn on average almost a third more than their colleagues who routinely give away their rights. Those in the profession who were firm in demanding to keep copyright made an annual profit of - on average - £19,272, compared to £14,471 for those who normally assigned such rights.

That was one of the findings of the British Photographic Council 2009 survey, completed by 1700 photographers from all sectors of the UK industry. Nine tenths of respondents were freelances, and they earn significantly less than staffers.

Nine out of ten photographers surveyed said they kept copyright whenever they could, although seven out of ten said they had been "asked" by clients to give away copyright, and six out of ten said they had to grant clients a wider licence to use their work, for no more money.

Three fifths of surveyed photographers were aware of their work being infringed some time in the previous three years, estimating the loss at on average £3600. Only a third said they'd actively pursued compensation for this infringement.

Fewer than one in five photographers surveyed are female. (See for a recent survey on the broadcast media industry's missing 5000 women.) Only three in five of survey respondents said photography was their sole source of income, with one in five professionals saying most of their income came from some other source.

The survey was run by Stirling-based freelance photographer and NUJ Freelance Industrial Council member Nick McGowan-Lowe. You can find he full survey at

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