Who owns the data you capture with your drone is an interesting question that can get quite messy when dealing with clients, especially when you (potentially) want to re-use the footage you captured, but it was paid for by another client.


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We are in no way legally trained and this is not legal advice, this is purely from our understanding of things and how we have dealt with situations in the past. However we will start with an extract from the .gov website regarding copyright (click here):

When you ask or commission another person or organisation to create a copyright work for you, the first legal owner of copyright is the person or organisation that created the work and not you the commissioner, unless you otherwise agree it in writing.

Therefore, you as the person or organisation that captured the data, whether it is photography, video or other, own the copyright to the data. However, without a written contract in place, courts may be willing to find that there is an implied licence allowing the commissioner/client to use the work for the purpose for which it was commissioned, which is understandable.



Get a written contract and agreement drawn up

We would always suggest and advise that you have a written contract and agreement in place that effectively details that you own the copyright to all of the footage captured but the data will be licensed (indefinetly or for a set period of time) to the client for the purpose of being used for the agreed project.


That way the client wont be able to sell on the footage or data captured to another third party. If the commisioner or client wanted to be the copyright holder or to further enhance the license then you would have to agree on a new contract and agreement.


A formal contract agreement that is wrote for your needs by a professional would be a worthwile investment to protect yourself and your copyright from companies who wish to further exploit your rights.


If in doubt at any point we would recommend that you seek legal advice or visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ownership-of-copyright-works for further guidance.


Don't forget the first legal owner of copyright is the person or organisation that created the work and not the commissioner unless otherwise agreed in writing.