Keep Your Copyright – Commissioner Focus with Daniel Moorey

Daniel Moorey – Head of Photography and Illustration at St Lukes
& AOI Board Member

At The AOI we strive to empower illustrators by equipping them with the tools they need to understand copyright and licensing, and how to negotiate fairer contractual terms with confidence. With our ‘Keep Your Copyright’ campaign we’re calling on illustrators, Agents and commissioners to unite and push back on copyright assignments in order to protect licensing-based industries. 

One of our main objectives with the campaign is to create an open dialogue with commissioners, clients, and illustrators, around the importance of copyright and licensing. So we caught up with Advertising Commissioner and AOI board member, Daniel Moorey to discuss his thoughts on just this, collaborating with Illustrators and his top tips for Illustrators when working with their clients. Read Daniel’s thoughts in the interview below. 

Could you tell us a little about who you are and what you are up to these days?

I’m Head of Photography and Illustration at a very nice agency called St Lukes. I also produce an online magazine about the UK that uses some illustration and photography: The Coracle

What do you expect from the Illustrators you work with?

A great style: sometimes a unique style, sometimes not (although the former is often the most exciting)

Flexibility: it’s always good to express your opinion with clarity and strength, but at the end of the day someone else is paying; so there is a limit to how huffy we should all get.

Charm: It’s often wonderful to collaborate with creative people, but there’s an added bonus if they’re also nice and the process is enjoyable, and there is the odd laugh along the way. That can also be a good way of getting repeat work.

What advice would you have for illustrators working with clients and empower them to succeed?

Everyone has their price which is fair enough, but make sure you are very clear on what is included and not included in your agreement; this protects you and also avoids stress later on. If clients have a tight budget, try suggesting a small amount of usage (media or timescale). If they only have a small budget, they should only be spending a small amount on media ?

Try to use charm when negotiating rather than bluster or indignation. From the first contact attempt to gauge what type of person you are dealing with, and what will get them on your side. Are they the type that always want to knock money off? or is there a genuine reason they can’t pay more?

Have there been any times where a client has requested a copyright assignment? Why was this the case?

I was previously at another agency where it did crop up, largely through one client. I don’t think any artist should be assigning copyright or IP, but it’s difficult if it’s a very well paid job.

We are seeing a rise in commissioners and clients requesting copyright assignments as opposed to a well defined licence, what are your thoughts on this?

Don’t do it!

It could just be laziness on the client’s part (so they don’t have to keep track of usage), but it’s the thin end of the wedge. If you do decide to do it, suck through your teeth and ask for a lot of hard cash in return.


Many thanks to Daniel Moorey for his time and answers.

You can see more from Daniel and The Coracle via their Website.


18th January 2022
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