I just started selling some stock photography for commercial use, and one of my customers/clients asked for a "full permission license" I assume this is a document that would grant them the "legal" permission they seek?

What exactly is this document and are there any available templates? Is my direct signature required?

Any and all help would be appreciated!

  • 2
    Simply put...its a dangerous license. If you do indeed decide to give a "full permission license", or unrestricted license, to a customer...just make extremely careful that you clearly define what limits DO exist. Such as the simple fact that you maintain copyright, and they do NOT get any copyright.
    – jrista
    Jun 28, 2011 at 19:18
  • @jrista Is there any "protocol" statements that go into such a document? I'm very unfamiliar with this type of stuff.
    – Hanna
    Jun 28, 2011 at 21:59
  • 1
    In all honesty, if you really want to properly protect your rights, your ownership/copyright, and anyone who may be directly or indirectly affected by the sale or use of your stock, you should talk with a lawyer. I am not a lawyer myself, and cannot really offer any truly sound advice in this area, other than to caution you when it comes to licensing your work. A lawyer can help you formulate a proper license that will protect you, any models you may have worked with, etc. while preserving your ownership of copyright.
    – jrista
    Jun 28, 2011 at 23:19

3 Answers 3


I assume the cliënt wants an unbound, (not quite sure what the correct english legal term is, I'm Dutch) restrictionless license which will grant them the right to use the image anytime, anywhere in any way they would like.

Bassicly this means you tell them: "Sure, you can use the image in whatever way you like. Anytime, in any resolution/size, any purpose etc. etc.)

One thing to keep in mind with these type of licenses is that (a) you do NOT want them to get the copyright (or local equivalence) on the image and (b) that you should make sure the license does NOT grant them the right to license the image to third partys (essientialy reselling it)

Also if any of the images contain models (NOTE: modeling rights differ quite a lot across country's, in the Netherlands people in your image do share in copyright in certain situations) it might be necessary to you have a license with them as well where they grant you the rights to give these type of licenses (usually you would call this a release, search for "model release" to get a ton of templates). Usually these include what the model is comfortable with and what not when it comes to using the image (I.E. not to be used for commercials for smoking, adult entertainment, certain photoshop editing etc.) If your model release contains these types of restriction, these will of course also have to be in your license to the cliënt. (In Dutch rights (again, this could be different for your situation)) you are liable if you grant your cliënt permission the model has not granted you.

NOTE: this answer in no way covers all the difficult legal stuff. For proper advice contact a lawyer/something. THis is just some things I personally found you should pay special attention to.


"Full permission license" is not a standard term used in the photography industry. The client probably knows what they think it means, but it could be quite risky to assume.

Ask them what rights they want. It's possible that they want an unlimited license as suggested in the comments and other answer, but when it comes to licensing one needs to make sure that everyone understands what rights are (and are not) being conveyed.


I'm going to take an alternate view.

Stock photography, almost by definition, is generic. It can take a lot of skill and work, and certainly some creativity and visual sense — but ultimately, it's something that can be reproduced by someone else with the requisite skill. It's not likely to be a one-instant-in-the-universe work.

So, sure, if the client wants all rights to the image, go ahead and consider transferring the copyright. Maybe license back the right to use it in your portfolio, or maybe don't. Factor that in, and everything else, and come up with a price that's fair and reasonable for yourself and for the client. You could offer both the copyright transfer option as well as an option to retain copyright but grant a wide license, at different costs.

Here's an example form I found in a random web search, but I would certainly instead consult with a real lawyer, because there's a whole lot of legalese in there, and legalese is code, not English, even when it looks to be.

Of course, if you feel that the work is particularly unique, you may not want to go this route. But if it's people in business suits doing business things, don't worry about being so attached. It's only copyright, not your immortal soul.

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