PLUS- Interested?

January 27, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

CuriousCurious Do you know PLUS?

I wonder how many people are members of PLUS or have even heard about it? (Hint: No, it is not a warehouse for clothing). The Picture Licensing Universal System—a cooperative, multi-industry initiative — provides a system that clearly defines and categorizes image usage around the world, from granting and acquiring licenses to tracking and managing them well into the future.The first component of PLUS is the picture licensing Glossary. Obviously, in order to reach common agreement on license parameters, we must have a common understanding of the language that forms a license. The PLUS website  is quite exhaustive as to how this system works to benefit the photography industry in general. Best of all, it is free.

The PLUS Registry at is an online resource developed and operated cooperatively by a global Coalition of all communities engaged in creating, using, distributing and preserving images. Search the Registry to find rights and descriptive information (“metadata”) for any image, and to find current contact information for related creators, rights holders and institutions. 

I was at an event recently, and was told that some photographers simply provide images and really don't care what may happen to them. So, does that mean that they will be distributed to the general consumer public market with the photographers name attached? Will they be limited to just the photography and modeling industry? Will they potentially appear in magazines and editorials or advertising? Will they rest only on a home computer?

When one licenses an image (gives permission for use), there are some basic questions to think about such as:

  • Duration: How long are you going to give (or sell) permission (License) the image for? One month? Years? Without limit?
  • Exclusivity: Who can use the image? The photographer? model? Magazine? In what forms (printed, electronic)? Languages? Third parties?
  • Geography: With the US? Anywhere in the world?
  • Rights managed (specific rights controlled by the image owner) -OR- Royality Free (once licensed, essentially a almost unlimited use of the image or group of images although resale may be limited)

The PLUS system has a generator that is able to guide almost anyone through a basic licensing practice. Keep in mind that this system DOES NOT suggest a price point for images. That is left solely up to the content producer and any negotiations that he/she may have with a particular client. In fact, the license may actually be embedded within the photograph's metadata itself by using this system.


  • Media: Promotional-marketing materials
  • Size: Any size image
  • Quantity: up to 1000 copies
  • Duration: Unlimited
  • Region: Unlimited
  • Language: Unlimited
  • Industry: All industries
  • Exclusivity: Non- Exclusive


Too much to think about? Perhaps for some, but for others in could have a significant impact if an image is of great value. Of course this is a formal system which can add extra time to work flow even for the seasoned professional. Is it really necessary to license you images? Well, is it important what a client or someone you provide images does with those images? Of course, there are alternatives, though granted not as comprehensive.

Programs such as Lightroom allows you to add design a preset for your metadata for any image that you may import. You can also view or change the metadata Lightroom Classic Help.  This will not provide the central registry such as the PLUS system, but may it just a little easier when it comes to processing bulk images from a recent shoot. Outstanding images however may still gain value from placing them into this system.  

Of particular note, this is NOT the same as registering a copyright. While this may indeed help with the process should an image be infringed, registering the image with the copyright office will give the photographer (owner) the help needed to recover from any damages as a result from an image being stolen or misused.

Please refer to the website listed above if you would like to know more about the PLUS system.











No comments posted.