Freelance photographers who retain copyright earn nearly a third more than those who give copyright to clients, according to new research from the British Photographic Council.
The results, published for the first time today, show those freelance photographers who keep their copyright earn on average 33.2% more than those who routinely give their copyright to clients.
British Photographic Council chair John Toner said: "Copyright is not only the cornerstone of the creative industries, it is the foundation stone of creativity. Without it, creators would find it impossible to survive."
The survey showed nine out of ten freelance photographers keep their copyright rather than assigning it to their clients - despite almost three-quarters saying that they had encountered clients in 2009 who wrongly believed copyright belonged to whoever commissioned the photography.
During 2009, 71% of freelance respondents said they had been asked to give copyright to their clients , and 62% said they were pressured to give clients a more extensive licence for no increase in the fee.
The survey found that the average salary for a staff photographer was £34,535 – 83% higher than the equivalent average profit for a self-employed photographer of £18,821 and 41% of staff photographers were paid between £20,000 and £30,000, compared to just 15% of freelances. Only 19% of freelance photographers made a profit of £30,000 or above.
Other key findings include:
* Over half of photographers said their businesses would be adversely affected by any 'orphan works' legislation - the controversial proposals which would allow photographs to be published without the copyright holder's permission if the copyright owner could not be identified or traced.
* Three out of every five photographers said they knew their copyright had been infringed in the previous three years.
* 82% of professional photographers said their businesses would be damaged by more restrictions on photography in public places.
* Fewer than one in five photographers are female
* Two out of every five photographers are educated to at least degree level - but those with an undergraduate degree were twice as likely to have it in a subject other than photography.
* While 68% of respondents described formal photography qualifications as "valuable" or "useful", only 5% considered formal qualifications to be "essential" for working in the industry
- The survey was completed by 1,698 photographers working in the UK market. Members of the British Photographic Council include the NUJ and the National Association of Press Agencies.
- Pic: Jon Slattery