[CORRECTED: ok for photographers] Another day, another rights grab – Stay away from AOL’s StudioNow

We’ve corrected this post. StudioNow has a decent contract for photographers, while video work is done under a Work For Hire agreement. More details here.

5 Responses to “[CORRECTED: ok for photographers] Another day, another rights grab – Stay away from AOL’s StudioNow”

  1. Colin

    Hey guys – first thanks for keeping an eye out for bad contracts and fighting the good fight for photographers…


    In this instance , I think you’re wrong. Two points.

    1. You’re reading the wrong contract. The contract you’re quoting from is for filmmakers, not photographers. Unless you’re a production studio, most filmmakers end up signing WFH contracts.

    2. Not everything is a total buyout. The actual photo contract is different from the above, and offers you several options (all with different pay scales) based on what rights you choose to sell or not.

    If you sign up for one of these things, nothing says you have to accept every contract that comes your way.

    If the companies involved really want to buy all of the rights, see if they’re willing to pay what that’s worth. If they are, consider it from there.

    • M. Scott Brauer

      Hey Colin,

      Thanks for writing that. I did see the photo addendum, but that seems to consider photography as an add-on to the rest of the services that you would be doing for StudioNow, and StudioNow bills itself as a video production company. While WFH contracts might be the norm in film production, they’re spamming photographers from organizations that ordinarily cherish copyrights and non-WFH contracts, so the terms and conditions here are at odds with what many would expect.

      You’re right that a buyout does have a price, but I doubt the numbers here are good. One person I know who signed up to see the deal said that the fees are paltry.

  2. Colin

    I would hardly call contacting people with photo opportunities Spam. Who would you like to contact you through NPPA / ASMP if not someone looking to offer you a business opportunity? Spam is Nigerian princes looking to book you for 10 day shoots via Western Union, not this.

    Photography IS a new add on for StudioNow who up until recently did only video production. They recognize that in order to work with good photographers they won’t be able to always do a WFH contract. I’ve got a friend on the video side who has done extensive work for StudioNow and he has been very happy with his arrangement.

    If you don’t yet know what the fees are, why would you even assume?

    For me, this doesn’t seem like a bad deal is what I’m saying. It doesn’t cost me anything, and I’m not forced to take any job that doesn’t have the right number value on it. For photo jobs I never shoot work for hire. I would consider selling all rights (for a price) but most of the time clients understand that they will benefit by limiting their usage. This isn’t a contract that forces my hand either way.

    Here is a link to the entire contract. Note the photography services portion at the bottom.


    • M. Scott Brauer

      Thanks, Colin. I’m updating the post. The information I got was from someone dissatisfied with the service, and in many respects it looks like other similar bad deals for photographers. The photo contract allows for a decent rights-licensing program.

  3. Correction: AOL’s StudioNow ok for photographers | dvafoto

    […] I’ll admit to a mistake when I’m wrong. Thanks to Colin M. Lenton for writing in to let us know that AOL’s StudioNow looks ok for […]

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