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Monday, September 1, 2008

The PLUS Coalition: Standardized Licensing Codes

Protect your business and promote your work by employing the simple standardized licensing codes proposed by this internationally recognized organization

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The PLUS Standards
There are five PLUS standards at this time. All are complimentary; all impact the photographic community and photographic industry.

Picture Licensing Glossary. Version 1.0 documents more than 1,000 standardized terms. It’s comprised of words and phrases that are commonly used to manage the rights associated with photography and other visual arts. The glossary first and foremost was compiled to define industry-standard definitions to minimize miscommunication between photo professionals and their clients, worldwide. PLUS Regional Working Groups are in the process of translating the glossary; the first to lead the way is PLUS Japan. The English language version is available for free on the PLUS website via an online search application. The glossary also is available in printed form for a nominal cost. Like all PLUS standards, the glossary was developed cooperatively by representatives of all industries involved in creating, distributing and using images; it’s revised every two years to incorporate new terminology and new media.

Media Matrix. This database puts a universal structure to media categories, types and options. The Media Matrix is designed as a standardized reference for selecting image rights in online image licensing interfaces provided by photographers and stock agencies. Many of us see this as the pull-down menu structure of many stock photography websites when asked to specify a type of use, media type, duration of use, size, country or region, etc. Currently, different agencies and photographers use different terms and menus, and this can result in a confusing and frustrating process for customers attempting to license images. The Media Matrix, designed with significant customer participation, puts choices into a standardized hierarchy with consistent terms and order to optimize user experience. It allows photographers to better align expectations with clients by linking every term to the Picture Licensing Glossary, so that customers have instant access to broadly accepted standardized definitions for the media and media options included in each license.

The PLUS Universal License Statement can become part of each image file.
Licensing Data Formats (LDF). LDF is a metadata schema for a license. This standardized format takes each element of a license description and places it into a separate field. This not only makes licenses much easier to understand, but it also makes licenses embeddable and machine-readable. Containing information that’s essential to the understanding of an image license, LDF fields can be used in embedding and reading image license metadata in a variety of image file types. A few of these fields include licensor name, licensee name, end user ID, media type, size, quantity and image file name as delivered. The LDF is designed for use by all types of photographers, stock agencies and customers. There are 105 total fields defined and available, from which each user may select and use fields that they find appropriate. The defined fields encompass a wide combination of license terminology, enabling use by a broad range of licensors, including museums, wedding photographers and fashion photographers. Licensors of different types can select fields to include in their licenses that best work for their customers, making it easier for them to manage their image licenses and avoid unintentional infringement.

PLUS Packs. PLUS Packs are standardized license packages combining the most commonly licensed usages. As with all PLUS standards, there are no recommended prices associated with the PLUS Packs. These license packages have been designed with flexibility and ease of use in mind, enabling licensors and licensees to tailor licenses to their specific needs with a variety of pre-identified options. PLUS Packs streamline licensing and provide licensors a versatile system of 18 packages of clearly defined groups of license types. These groups of license types include Advertising, Editorial, Internal Company and Personal Packs. Another series of eight Packs, PLUS Rights-Ready Packs, modify Getty Images’ Rights-Ready packs to provide options for license duration and regions. (See the sidebar for a list of available PLUS Packs). Each PLUS Pack is assigned a unique PLUS Pack ID for easy reference. Supplementing the more detailed Media Matrix, PLUS Packs are designed for use by photographers, stock agencies and customers who wish to use a simplified, convenient method for offering and acquiring image licenses. Licensors also have the ability to create Custom Packs to best meet the needs of their clients by mixing and matching various usages.

PLUS ID System. This system of identifiers provides a standardized means of identifying images, rights holders and rights information. It’s designed to promote consistency, machine-readability and multilingual usage. PLUS IDs not only identify words, media types and options, but also can identify people, companies, licenses and images.

Building on the PLUS ID system, the PLUS Coalition is developing the PLUS Registry, which will be an international, centralized resource for use in identifying people, companies, licenses and images. The Registry includes three primary modules: the PLUS Artist & Licensor Registry, the PLUS License Registry and the PLUS Image Registry.

Examples Of PLUS Packs

PLUS Packs
• Print Advertising
• Display Advertising
• Marketing Materials
• Point of Purchase
• Web and Electronic Advertising

• Book Interior—One Edition, Printed
• Book Interior—One Edition, All Formats
• Book Interior—All Editions, All Formats
• Book Cover—One Edition, Printed
• Book Cover—One Edition, All Formats
• Book Cover—All Editions, All Formats
• Periodical Interior—One Issue
• Periodical Cover—One Issue
• Web and Electronic Editorial

• Internal Company
• Comp Use
• Internal Review

• Personal Display

PLUS (Rights-Ready) Packs
• Print Ad or Display
• Web or Electronic or Broadcast (Commercial)
• Printed Marketing Materials or Product/Packaging
• All Commercial Use
• Editorial Inside Placement or Back Cover
• Editorial Front Cover
• Web or Electronic or Broadcast (Editorial)
• Internal Company


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