Forums > Photography Talk > Model asking for "distribution royalties" ??

Photographer

Bill Tracy Photography

Posts: 2322

Montague, New Jersey, US

I just read this on a model's profile:

Nude/Genre Modeling: $100/hr + distribution royalties

What are "distribution royalties" ?

I don't think I would shoot with her anyway, but I'm just curious to see if anyone knows what this is, lol

Aug 30 13 05:26 am Link

Model

Tiffiney C

Posts: 570

Los Angeles, California, US

Sounds like she's saying if you sell the images she wants a percentage of the profits.

Tiff
www.TiffineyC.com

Aug 30 13 05:30 am Link

Photographer

B R U N E S C I

Posts: 25319

Bath, England, United Kingdom

HAHAHAHA lol

NEXT!!


Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
I'm just curious to see if anyone knows what this is

Ignorance.





Just my $0.02

Ciao
Stefano

www.stefanobrunesci.com

Aug 30 13 05:42 am Link

Photographer

Bill Tracy Photography

Posts: 2322

Montague, New Jersey, US

Ah Ok.  I just never heard that term before, or ran into a model asking for that, lol

Funny thing is, how would she even know or be able to keep track of any royalties owed her, if someone were crazy enough to agree to those terms?

Aug 30 13 05:46 am Link

Photographer

David Kirk

Posts: 4852

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
Ah Ok.  I just never heard that term before, or ran into a model asking for that, lol

Funny thing is, how would she even know or be able to keep track of any royalties owed her, if someone were crazy enough to agree to those terms?

She wouldn't.  They crazy person who agreed to it would have to provide evidence of sales revenues.

Aug 30 13 06:03 am Link

Photographer

Zack Zoll

Posts: 6895

Glens Falls, New York, US

Typically royalties are used as a way to offset a lower pay rate.  As in, "I'd love to shoot for a day with you, but I don't have $500.  How about $200, and a cut of anything these images make?"

Since she model is asking for a rate that is(around here at least) fairly standard, royalties are ridiculous.

Aug 30 13 06:21 am Link

Photographer

REMOVED

Posts: 1546

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Clearly not model behavior.

Aug 30 13 06:33 am Link

Photographer

Bill Tracy Photography

Posts: 2322

Montague, New Jersey, US

Yeah, $100 an hour plus anything else is a bit much.

Thanks guys!

Aug 30 13 07:02 am Link

Photographer

Mortonovich II

Posts: 723

San Diego, California, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
I don't think I would shoot with her anyway, but I'm just curious to see if anyone knows what this is, lol

Funny is what that is!

Aug 30 13 07:15 am Link

Photographer

Top Gun Digital

Posts: 1528

Las Vegas, Nevada, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
Ah Ok.  I just never heard that term before, or ran into a model asking for that, lol

Funny thing is, how would she even know or be able to keep track of any royalties owed her, if someone were crazy enough to agree to those terms?

Unless her pics ended up on a giant billboard or in a popular magazine it's unlikely she would ever know that they had been published.  Sounds like another model with unrealistic compensation expectations.

Aug 30 13 07:24 am Link

Photographer

Kent Art Photography

Posts: 3588

Ashford, England, United Kingdom

I suspect she's probably been offered 'shared royalty' deals by photographers who didn't know what they were doing, and she's just assumed that's the way things are done.

Aug 30 13 07:58 am Link

Photographer

Leighsphotos

Posts: 3064

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Tiffiney C wrote:
Sounds like she's saying if you sell the images she wants a percentage of the profits.

Tiff
www.TiffineyC.com

My guess too...but you will also see lot's of models saying that they don't do TF's..etc, and all sorts of BS on their profiles.

Grain of salt, or whatever you smoke.

Aug 30 13 08:13 am Link

Photographer

KenBrandon

Posts: 231

Dallas, Texas, US

A royalty is given to who owns the copyright....in essence it is a fee you pay to use someone's copyrighted work.
Puff Daddy, or I think his name is "Ditty" now, has had to pay millions in royalties due to the many samples he has used on his songs.

The only way a model would be entitled to this is if it was a work for hire (where the hiring party owns the copyright) and the model paid the photographer for this.

"$100 + royalties" Frankly, is nonsense.

Aug 30 13 08:34 am Link

Photographer

NatLight Studios

Posts: 810

Menlo Park, California, US

KenBrandon wrote:
A royalty is given to who owns the copyright....in essence it is a fee you pay to use someone's copyrighted work.
Puff Daddy, or I think his name is "Ditty" now, has had to pay millions in royalties due to the many samples he has used on his songs.

The only way a model would be entitled to this is if it was a work for hire (where the hiring party owns the copyright) and the model paid the photographer for this.

"$100 + royalties" Frankly, is nonsense.

Please consult a good attorney on this topic before posting again.  Your last line is accurate, but nearly everything else you have written here reflects a misunderstanding of both copyright and royalties.  Royalties are not limited to the copyright owner, nor to works for hire.

Aug 30 13 08:55 am Link

Photographer

KenBrandon

Posts: 231

Dallas, Texas, US

NatLight Studios wrote:
Please consult a good attorney on this topic before posting again.  Your last line is accurate, but nearly everything else you have written here reflects a misunderstanding of both copyright and royalties.  Royalties are not limited to the copyright owner, nor to works for hire.

I have consulted an attourney (I in fact pay him a yearly retainer fee), I also studied copyright and trademark law as part of my degree in Graphic Design.
Of course the full subject of royalties is bigger than this forum is for, but in a nutshell, whoever owns the copyright, or patent is who get the royalty.

I was seeking to give a basic answer to the question as applicable to the context of what the forum creator was asking for.

Aug 30 13 09:18 am Link

Photographer

NothingIsRealButTheGirl

Posts: 35726

Los Angeles, California, US

KenBrandon wrote:
I have consulted an attourney (I in fact pay him a yearly retainer fee)

I wonder if any models are asking for yearly retainer fees. Could be a whole new thing.

Aug 30 13 09:23 am Link

Photographer

MJS Images

Posts: 129

Corona, California, US

NothingIsRealButTheGirl wrote:

I wonder if any models are asking for yearly retainer fees. Could be a whole new thing.

Don't give them any crazy ideas lol.
Sad thing is, many girls think just because they stand in front of a camera and hear a click, they are automatically a "model." It's just the same that a GWAC is not automatically a "photographer."

Aug 30 13 09:32 am Link

Photographer

Jeff Fiore

Posts: 9225

Brooklyn, New York, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
Ah Ok.  I just never heard that term before, or ran into a model asking for that, lol

Funny thing is, how would she even know or be able to keep track of any royalties owed her, if someone were crazy enough to agree to those terms?

Bill there are a lot of crazy requests out there. A model contacted me about paying her for nude photography and she wanted to control what pics I use, the editing, whether if it will be B&W or color and the crop. I told her she wants that kind of control, she has to pay ME!! A LOT!!!

Aug 30 13 09:41 am Link

Photographer

pullins photography

Posts: 5884

Troy, Michigan, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
I just read this on a model's profile:

Nude/Genre Modeling: $100/hr + distribution royalties

What are "distribution royalties" ?

I don't think I would shoot with her anyway, but I'm just curious to see if anyone knows what this is, lol

ask her

Aug 30 13 09:42 am Link

Photographer

Photographe

Posts: 2351

Bristol, England, United Kingdom

That Italian Guy wrote:
HAHAHAHA lol

NEXT!!

I'm laughing just as loud.

Unless she is going to play the trumpet underwater, while tapdancing on a dolphin that she has trained to speak French...I'll carry on laughing.

Models have to choose, either they are workers or producers. Workers get paid, producers make profit. The word PROFIT implies there being some expenditure in the first place.

If that model is willing to go 50/50 on costs, that is a different story.

If that model is one that doesn't attend meetings or castings, that turns up late, only answers 80% of the brief, expects to knock off at 5pm on the dot, just when the truck with the elephant has arrived late and she's got absolutely no distribution channels of her own or even five minutes to spare without being paid, then us business people, investors and producers will be laughing hard all the way to the bank and yes, we'll treat them like employees/suppliers and we will behave like clients that are important to them.

99% of people reading, will think "sod this I'd rather take the cash on the day", but ambitious and driven people or people with self-employed experience have no fear to go to work on no salary KNOWING they will make money. Alot of models lose opportunities because they are focused on the cash upfront, but then this being the internet, can you blame them.

Aug 30 13 09:43 am Link

Photographer

nyk fury

Posts: 2976

Port Townsend, Washington, US

well, if she pays you 100 bucks an hour, and is canadian, then i think she does own the material, if i recall correctly. wink

Aug 30 13 09:51 am Link

Clothing Designer

GRMACK

Posts: 5259

Bakersfield, California, US

Sounds like some of the LA agencies with "Usage rights" (More money for this and that, policing site's hit-meters for cash, size of images, runs, etc.) and some SAG union royalties too off the higher-end agencies with their talent.

I'd vote "Pass" as one could make a life-long career out of tracking and accounting for it all - forever!

With Facebook now working on their new scheme of "You posted it to share" and "We can use it for ads and our advertisers since you 'shared' it" you'll have no way of controlling that monetary game with them as they basically threw copyright out the window with "You publicly shared it so too bad for you, and we'll share it too (but we'll cash in somehow on it)."  Make money off that and try and pay them "distribution and usage rights."  Good luck.

Aug 30 13 09:59 am Link

Photographer

F-1 Photo

Posts: 1164

New York, New York, US

At least she wasn't asking for a percentage of the merchandising gross.....

Aug 30 13 01:48 pm Link

Photographer

DougBPhoto

Posts: 39248

Portland, Oregon, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
Yeah, $100 an hour plus anything else is a bit much.

Thanks guys!

Model Mayhem.... 

    where dreams of exaggerated self-worth and reality collide

Aug 30 13 01:54 pm Link

Photographer

David Parsons

Posts: 972

Quincy, Massachusetts, US

nyk fury wrote:
well, if she pays you 100 bucks an hour, and is canadian, then i think she does own the material, if i recall correctly. wink

Not anymore.

Aug 30 13 01:57 pm Link

Model

Elizabeth-Amber

Posts: 3

Hackettstown, New Jersey, US

Since no one considered asking.... it's absolutely normal when the photos are used for more than portfolio work on display. Myself and plenty of other Cosplay models have our photos used in calendars or turned into illustrations for prints which is out of scope of a typical photo shoot. People found their Cosplay photos turned into skanky body pillows and being sold without their knowledge. This goes on. Fashion photogs may not be aware of the pop culture world.

Amber

Aug 30 13 01:59 pm Link

Photographer

Looknsee Photography

Posts: 26342

Portland, Oregon, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
I just read this on a model's profile:

Nude/Genre Modeling: $100/hr + distribution royalties

What are "distribution royalties" ?

I never heard of "distribution royalties", but if I had to guess, I'd say that if the photographer earns money from writing usage licenses for an image of the model, then the model expects to get a percentage of that revenue.

In theory, royalty arrangements sound simple, but in practice, they are very complex.  Such an arrangement would have to cover questions like...

...  What happens if one party moves & doesn't inform the other?
...  How long does this royalty agreement last?  Can it be renewed?
...  What happens if one party dies?
...  Does the model get to audit the photographer's books?
...  How are disputes resolved?
...  Can the model sell her interest in the images to a 3rd party?
...  If someone sues the photographer over an issue with the photo, does the
     model have to contribute her share of the legal fees and/or settlement?
...  Can the model find placements for the images?
...  What happens if one party finds a placement that the other party doesn't
     like?
...  If a 3rd party uses an image inappropriately, does the model contribute to
     the associated legal fees?

and I'm just getting started.

So, no -- speaking personally, I would never muddle the copyright ownership, and I would never agree to any kind of royalty arrangement.

Aug 30 13 02:28 pm Link

Photographer

J O H N A L L A N

Posts: 12221

Los Angeles, California, US

Too Funny!!

Aug 30 13 02:39 pm Link

Photographer

R Michael Walker

Posts: 11987

Costa Mesa, California, US

Elizabeth-Amber wrote:
Since no one considered asking.... it's absolutely normal when the photos are used for more than portfolio work on display. Myself and plenty of other Cosplay models have our photos used in calendars or turned into illustrations for prints which is out of scope of a typical photo shoot. People found their Cosplay photos turned into skanky body pillows and being sold without their knowledge. This goes on. Fashion photogs may not be aware of the pop culture world.

Amber

We shoot (in the US anyway) paid or TFP. I own the copyrights..ALL the copyrights. You sign my release and that's the end of anything you ever get outside of what ever additional written agreement we have in place (Like prints from a tFP, ETC.). I later sell an image from the shoot for a gazillion $'s (Don't I wish!). You get nothing legally. Now me, if I fell into such a windfall i'd toss something your way. But I'm not legally bound to do so UNLESS I signed a usage agreement of some sorts with you. i THINK this is correct but I'll Deffer to NatLight on this since he does these sorts of agreements for a living.

PS although I'm NOT a lawyer I DID play one on TV once a zillion years ago. LOL!

Aug 30 13 02:46 pm Link

Photographer

AVD AlphaDuctions

Posts: 10747

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

KenBrandon wrote:

I have consulted an attourney (I in fact pay him a yearly retainer fee), I also studied copyright and trademark law as part of my degree in Graphic Design.
Of course the full subject of royalties is bigger than this forum is for, but in a nutshell, whoever owns the copyright, or patent is who get the royalty.

I was seeking to give a basic answer to the question as applicable to the context of what the forum creator was asking for.

number of people who claim they consulted an attorney to answer a question on MM: one meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelion
number of people who actually asked that specific question to an attorney on retainer (or other mandate) ZEEEEERO
you were called on it.  don't try to BS your way out of stuff like this.

also...if all it took was a course during a graphic design course people wouldnt need (in general ) an undergrad degree to prepare themselves plus a 3 year degree in law prior to sit for bar exams (exceptions are out there yes yes but its not the rule) just to get their foot in the door in an IP firm.  the full subject is bigger yes. but you got it wrong.  plz dont spout this again.

Aug 30 13 02:54 pm Link

Photographer

Fotografica Gregor

Posts: 4126

Alexandria, Virginia, US

she wants to be paid *and* have you sign away a part of your rights to the images

pfah

people in hell want icewater too....

Aug 30 13 02:57 pm Link

Photographer

Zack Zoll

Posts: 6895

Glens Falls, New York, US

KenBrandon wrote:

I have consulted an attourney (I in fact pay him a yearly retainer fee), I also studied copyright and trademark law as part of my degree in Graphic Design.
Of course the full subject of royalties is bigger than this forum is for, but in a nutshell, whoever owns the copyright, or patent is who get the royalty.

I was seeking to give a basic answer to the question as applicable to the context of what the forum creator was asking for.

Then I have to wonder about your attorney.  He probably should have told you that the model is entitled to whatever you promise the model in writing.  If you tell the model that they get royalties, and you sign for it, then they get royalties.  Simple as that.  Whether they get them by default or not is irrelevant.  I could potentially owe Ilford royalties on all my images, if I had signed something saying that I would pay them.

There's a pretty basic answer for you.

Elizabeth-Amber wrote:
Since no one considered asking.... it's absolutely normal when the photos are used for more than portfolio work on display. Myself and plenty of other Cosplay models have our photos used in calendars or turned into illustrations for prints which is out of scope of a typical photo shoot. People found their Cosplay photos turned into skanky body pillows and being sold without their knowledge. This goes on. Fashion photogs may not be aware of the pop culture world.

Amber

In your Cosplay example, you mention that models aren't paid.  If the model receives no payment, then it would be perfectly understandable for the models to be due royalties - if not legally, than at least ethically.

But we're talking at models that ARE paid, which means they're working-for-hire or in the capacity of an employee, essentially.  If I already paid you, I'm not going to pay you again for the same work.

As others have said, if you land a great contract or an expensive print sale from an image with a particular model, they should probably get a few bucks even if you did pay them already.  It's good business, and it's also being a good person.  But there's a big difference between that and being nickel-and-dimed on every use of that image for the rest of your life.

Aug 30 13 04:48 pm Link

Photographer

AJ_In_Atlanta

Posts: 13053

Atlanta, Georgia, US

Sounds like a fancy way to say "I never actually work" click next.

Aug 30 13 04:55 pm Link

Photographer

SunSplash Photography

Posts: 479

Orlando, Florida, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
I just read this on a model's profile:

Nude/Genre Modeling: $100/hr + distribution royalties

What are "distribution royalties" ?

I don't think I would shoot with her anyway, but I'm just curious to see if anyone knows what this is, lol

I mean, I understand why a lot of photographers on here are saying "pfff" to this...but in fact, it isn't as uncommon or unrealistic (in principle, that is) as they make it out to be.

The model may not have the exact right term for it, but many actors on tv get future payments when the shows or movies they are in are distributed (and syndicated, in the case of tv shows).  They own none of the copyrights of their shows.  It's just an added income incentive to get them to sign on to the show in the first place.  (The common name for this in the business, according to my movie-industry friend, is "points".  The actor--and director and a few other key people on the crew--get a percentage point of the income from the show, or the movie, or even video game.)

It isn't as out-of-this-world as lots of posters on this thread seem to believe. 

In fact, in some circumstances, having points might increase the revenue of the photo.  Think of it this way:  If you knew you were going to get a percentage of the revenue from something, wouldn't you work hard to promote that thing?  Models will sometimes do the same.  Not always, granted, but sometimes they will do a lot of networking to increase exposure to the image.  Getting "eyes on" the picture may translate to sales, which comes back to them in those points.

It depends on the appeal of the model, of course.  If she's just another run-of-the-mill wannabe, then there's no way in the world she'd be worth giving points to.  But if she's well-known, or very aggressive in marketing, or has a look that captures the eye, you'd get more eyes on the image, and that would be worth a point or two.

Not always a practical method of payment, but it isn't the alien life form some posters on here seem to think it is.

Aug 30 13 05:20 pm Link

Photographer

Art Silva

Posts: 10064

Santa Barbara, California, US

Full rate AND royalties? wTF... So I guess paid model releases and artist copyrights are hogwash to her. Sounds like someone doesn't understand the whole concept of modeling.
Now if its an equal collaboration of concept and project then I can see where this arrangement can be discussed.

To me this screams newbie, misinformed and/or opportunist greed.

Next!

Aug 30 13 05:28 pm Link

Photographer

Ralph Easy

Posts: 6426

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
I just read this on a model's profile:

Nude/Genre Modeling: $100/hr + distribution royalties

What are "distribution royalties" ?

I don't think I would shoot with her anyway, but I'm just curious to see if anyone knows what this is, lol

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

She must have picked up this idea, which, to her, might have been a cool newfangled notion, but quite legitimate in other applications in other situations.

She is making a fool of herself by pretending to apply this criteria to your working relationship.

If you Google the term, a whole explanation of the concept will emerge.

This arrangement, legitimate in itself, will only work when there is a powerful monitoring entity to manage the flow of distribution and calculate by prearranged formulas the amount of shares from income and their timely credit to nominated recipients.

.

Aug 30 13 05:42 pm Link

Photographer

Zack Zoll

Posts: 6895

Glens Falls, New York, US

Blue Group wrote:

I mean, I understand why a lot of photographers on here are saying "pfff" to this...but in fact, it isn't as uncommon or unrealistic (in principle, that is) as they make it out to be.

The model may not have the exact right term for it, but many actors on tv get future payments when the shows or movies they are in are distributed (and syndicated, in the case of tv shows).  They own none of the copyrights of their shows.  It's just an added income incentive to get them to sign on to the show in the first place.  (The common name for this in the business, according to my movie-industry friend, is "points".  The actor--and director and a few other key people on the crew--get a percentage point of the income from the show, or the movie, or even video game.)

It isn't as out-of-this-world as lots of posters on this thread seem to believe. 

In fact, in some circumstances, having points might increase the revenue of the photo.  Think of it this way:  If you knew you were going to get a percentage of the revenue from something, wouldn't you work hard to promote that thing?  Models will sometimes do the same.  Not always, granted, but sometimes they will do a lot of networking to increase exposure to the image.  Getting "eyes on" the picture may translate to sales, which comes back to them in those points.

It depends on the appeal of the model, of course.  If she's just another run-of-the-mill wannabe, then there's no way in the world she'd be worth giving points to.  But if she's well-known, or very aggressive in marketing, or has a look that captures the eye, you'd get more eyes on the image, and that would be worth a point or two.

Not always a practical method of payment, but it isn't the alien life form some posters on here seem to think it is.

It's a different business, with different paperwork that radically alters how feasible the royalty system is.

Let's say you're an actor on Awesome New Sitcom, and for some reason you get royalties instead of regular pay.  I believe that writers, producers, and studios typically get royalties, but let's say that you do too.

So you're on NBC.  Or whatever network, it doesn't matter.  NBC keeps track of every time an episode of ANS airs, what time, which episode, and what the ratings were.  If you weren't in that episode, NBC knows.

If that shows enters syndication, or rights are sold to another network, then that network also keeps track of those things.  Maybe they don't have a list of who was in what, but they have record of Season 2 Episode 5, and you can easily find out who acted in that episode.

Since the show only airs on networks authorized by the copyright holder, and everyone keeps track, its extremely easy to find out exactly how many shows you appeared in each month, and how many you were a main character or a bit part for.  All your agent needs to do is add up the figures, and divide by your royalty percentage.

Print and image sales are very rarely licensed.  If you print a magazine and sell it, you need to keep track of how many you've sold.  If the magazine goes to stores, you have to hope that they keep records of how many they sold.  If they can't sell them, they may return them to you for a refund - so you need to count out your returns.  If you destroy them, then they're not sold, and(I'm pretty sure) you don't owe the model anything.

If the mags sit on the shelf or in a back room for a long time, you might think they're sold.  Maybe they are.  And maybe they just haven't returned them yet.  Do you pay royalties on those?

If that paperwork is too hard, you could just pay royalties on every copy you print.  But that's stupid, because you're not going to sell every copy.

If you license the image to a company, it's very clear that you've just made a sale, and owe royalties.  But who pays royalties once the image has already been licensed?  Does anyone?  And do you trust another company to keep paperwork well enough to keep your ass out of the fire?

And what proof does the model have that you're not lying?  It's literally your word against theirs, and either one of you could sue the other.

The only way that you can know for sure exactly what royalties are due on an image is if it is sold via a stock agency, or someone else that keeps records.

Which is why it is extremely rare for royalties to be paid out for anything other than stuff with clear, concise records.  As far as I'm aware, authors and writers are the only people who frequently collect royalties on stuff like books - and the authors I know are all positive that they're not getting as much as they're supposed to, since not every store keeps good records.

Aug 30 13 06:18 pm Link

Photographer

Richard Karlsen

Posts: 1813

Gloversville, New York, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
I just read this on a model's profile:

Nude/Genre Modeling: $100/hr + distribution royalties

What are "distribution royalties" ?

I don't think I would shoot with her anyway, but I'm just curious to see if anyone knows what this is, lol

Reading all the replies I came up with this way out radical idea:

Instead of asking people who have no idea what she is talking about, why not make a simple respectful inquiry to the model and ask what is  she is actually looking for??

No wait, this is MM, common sense has no place here!!

Aug 30 13 06:50 pm Link

Photographer

Richard Karlsen

Posts: 1813

Gloversville, New York, US

Bill Tracy Photography wrote:
Ah Ok.  I just never heard that term before, or ran into a model asking for that, lol

Funny thing is, how would she even know or be able to keep track of any royalties owed her, if someone were crazy enough to agree to those terms?

Silly Model, she should know that every Photographer is a dishonest creep with no business sense who would always try to cheat her out of anything she might be entitled to.  Of course photographers keep no business records or live up to contracts they have agreed to, have no cost accounting to their billing.

Models are so gullible to think there might be an honest photographer out there whether it is selling $10 prints on line or a million dollar ad in a national magazine.  Models should always work for free, only Photographers deserve to be paid!!

Aug 30 13 07:05 pm Link

Photographer

Eric Lefebvre

Posts: 508

Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

nyk fury wrote:
well, if she pays you 100 bucks an hour, and is canadian, then i think she does own the material, if i recall correctly. wink

Not anymore. That changed about a year or so ago. Photographers in Canada now own their copyright just like everyone else in the world.

Aug 30 13 07:19 pm Link