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About Ollie

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    Virginia, USA


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  • Joined Alamy
    29 Mar 2005

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  1. You are reading this too narrowly and are not bracing for the next step against us. Contract para 2.7: The Contributor acknowledges and accepts that Images of artworks, OR that are not protected by copyright, OR that are in the public domain OR for which copyright ownership is unknown must never be marked as “Only available on Alamy” . Note the "OR"s (my emphasis added). It's not just images of artworks Alamy is saying can't be designated as Exclusive. It's also images not protected by copyright, images in the public domain, images whose copyright ownership is unknown. Tens of thousands of images are available from Creative Commons. And people who put their images into the Creative Commons pool are not just photographing works of art. There are tens of thousands of centuries-old artistic creations, never copyrighted, all over the world. As now written, the contract does not provide for the possibility that you could photograph a piece of art, get a property release, and then designate the image as Exclusive to Alamy. The contract says images of artwork must never be marked as "Only available on Alamy." No mention of a PR. A photo of a 300-year-old window with a design made of colored glass, made inside a private home with the owner's permission, could not be marked "Exclusive to Alamy" under the above contract, even though the owner of the house is not going to permit anyone else to make similar images. Is zeroing in on a fine detail of a historic work of art--a tapestry, a piece of embroidery, an Oriental painting on silk--not a creative endeavor? Is such a close-up not a unique creation? The contract seems to prohibit designating as Exclusive to Alamy images of ancient mosaics, temple paintings, and yes, church stained glass windows. Cave paintings? What about transitory works of art (sand paintings, floral decorations) intended to last only a few hours (on a beach, at a religious festival), which can never be photographed again by another photographer? The photos of these works of art become historical in nature, but they may be considered artworks by an agency seeking to enlarge its commission share. Like many, I used to think Alamy conducted its business with the interests of its contributing photographers in mind. It is both disheartening and discouraging to see that during the last couple of years this is no longer the case. Alamy seems oblivious to the creative, artistic, and technical skill required of a photographer to successfully photograph a subject. You may find images on Creative Commons, or images of historic artwork in the public domain, but the image you make today will be different in lighting, framing, sharpness, or other qualities. No two "slavish copies" are going to be the same. Alamy points to legal advice as motivating its decision. (Page 4 in this chain). They really do need to get some new lawyers. The ambiguities mentioned above demonstrate that the contract was not well drafted. And lawyers will be the first to remind you that it's the contract that counts, not the later comment by some employee of the firm. It is regrettable that they have chosen to value bad legal advice more than the bonds of trust that formerly existed with their photographers.
  2. Thanks for posting this very useful question. My experience with both Pixsy and Copytrack has been disappointing. I’ll be interested in seeing what others say about Image Rights. I uploaded several thousand images to Pixsy in 2015 and 16. During 2016-18 I submitted maybe 15 cases for their pursuit. I received one payment of about $160 for this effort. A lot of cases they decided not to pursue, usually because they did not have legal representation in the infringer’s country. One of the time-consuming aspects of working with them is that their “hit” results include hits in countries and in languages they will not pursue (most Asian countries, Arab countries, and some Slavic countries, including Russia), but you still have to wade through these hits in search of good prospects. They also pick up hits from Pinterest and other “Scraper” sites which are not worth pursuing. In a couple of cases they just reported that they were unable to get a response from the infringer. In a couple of cases they were not able to pursue I then wrote polite, non-threatening letters to the infringer and received what I considered to be a reasonable payment, without tacking on any extra penalty. Around 2018 I gave up on Pixsy, concluding that the one successful case did not repay the time required to submit images, plus the time to check sales history on any potential case worth pursuing. So I turned to Copytrack, and uploaded about 3000 images. They suffer from some of the same problems as Pixsy in that they will find possible infringements in countries they are not ready to pursue. I asked both Pixsy and Copytrack why they can’t filter out from their search results “hits” that occur in countries or languages they are unable to pursue, but neither seems able to do that. (I must add the caveat that I’ve had no new info from Pixsy since 2018, so it’s possible they’ve refined their system in the meantime.) Copytrack found a probable infringement in a country they could pursue. The form they require before beginning action asks for my banking info. I was a bit surprised that they wanted this info even before having anything to send me. I’m sensitive to security concerns and don’t like providing banking info until absolutely necessary. I proposed PayPal as an easy mechanism for transmitting funds but Copytrack would not use them. They suggested another fund transmittal service, but I found many negative reviews for this service online. Copytrack said they will only transmit funds in Euros and they will not use any third-party intermediary banks when transmitting wire transfers. Since two of my banks use major New York banks to process incoming wire transfers from abroad, this eliminated those options. I’ve given up on Copytrack until they learn to deal with PayPal. So I don’t know how good they are at reaching agreements with infringers. Will be interested in reading about others’ experiences.
  3. OK to remove "Don't sell for editorial." Personal Use should be limited to a small size--or with price increasing as size increases. Many of these are highly suspect. To get a lower price we sometimes pay for a hotel/motel room in advance, knowing the funds are not refundable if plans change. The concept of "low price/no refund" is a common and well-understood marketing practice. All PU sales should also be non-refundable. If you're going to revise the Optional page on AIM then why not also eliminate the "Assign Existing Releases" feature? I recall Alamy saying some time ago that they no longer wanted us to upload releases, merely to have them available if asked. Finally, the distinction between "advertising" and "marketing" has never been clear to me. Is "marketing" included in the Commercial Use category?
  4. I went exclusive with Alamy at the beginning of the year, removing my images from two other agencies where sales were far less frequent than at Alamy, and where prices were often only one-half or less what Alamy is getting. But no, I've seen no increase in sales. This years sales numbers and sales revenue are both slightly behind where I was this time last year. Not particularly bad, but certainly no noticeable improvement. In addition to going exclusive I've been using spare time the last several months to review the keywording of old images. When Alamy changed its AIM system (was that two and a half years ago now?) I found it screwed up a lot of my keywording, dropping commas that had previously been there, thereby creating lots of multiple-word keyword phrases which were likely never to be searched, while also separating into single words keywording that had earlier been two- or three-word phrases (i.e., "palm tree" became "palm, tree" or "ear ring" became "ear, ring", which can produce a lot of false positives and result in a lowered CTR rating). So correcting all these keyword anomalies should, I thought, improve my CTR rating and lead to more sales, but obviously that has not yet happened. In any case I don't regret going exclusive since my other agencies were not producing much.
  5. I did my own review of Google search results recently. Using rather narrowly-defined searches so there would not be thousands of images found, I found that Google found my images in the Alamy collection much more frequently than those (same ones) in my PhotoShelter website collection. So I asked PhotoShelter for their comment. After complimenting me on my on-page metadata (keywords, captions, etc.) they offered the following advice: The main thing you will want to pay attention to when it comes to driving traffic to your site is backlinks (people who link back to your website) and the "anchor text" (the linked text). If you haven't embarked on a strategy to create backlinks (e.g. blogging about your website, getting other people to blog about you, etc), then you won't have much success with search engines, and therefore you won't have many visits. You should think of each link as an endorsement of your content. The more links, the more likely the search engines are likely to consider you a credible search result. Some places to start: - If you are a member of communities or trade organizations, create backlinks from your profile page - Create a blog and write entries each time you publish new content on your website. - Consider content trades whereby other sites link to you in return. We often "guest" blog to reach a wider audience as well as get a backlink. Even a handful of backlinks can have an effect on your SEO because most people have zero backlinks to their website. I don't blog and don't think I have time to do it. Their advice may be valid, but of course it puts the onus on me to achieve better results, and not on themselves.
  6. I have opted out of sales to the Czech Republic, but not to Slovenia (haven't had any). But if Slovenia prices are as low as those to the Czech Republic I will opt out as soon as it happens to me. Opting out is the only way we have of opposing these sales at offensively low prices.
  7. The automated response comes first. Shortly afterwards you should get a reply from a real person. Unfortunately, these replies are rarely satisfying. The low prices you have noted are becoming increasingly common. Many contributors have also noted that their number of monthly sales is also declining the last 2-3 months. We all need to speak up about this. These prices are basically an insult to serious photographers. The problem is that with over 150 million images Alamy does not seem to be concerned about alienating its contributors, figuring that if we stop submitting it will hardly be noticed.
  8. "Czech Republic, Editorial, Editorial, Website, Bulk discount, flat rate per image Not enough for a stale donut." I've opted out of Czech Republic sales. Everyone else should do the same. Maybe market forces will eventually start to work. Didn't know about Slovenia and Serbia. If similarly low prices are being given those two countries I'll opt out of them too. But Alamy seems to have missed the creation of the country of Serbia; it isn't in the list. Nice to know we can still opt out of the country of Yugoslavia. Is Alamy in the news business?
  9. " How can a license for Editorial website usage have a print run?" Good question. Let us know what Alamy says.
  10. PhotoShelter offers everything you need, but will cost you about $30 a month, depending on how much image storage space you need. They offer more than one option. www.photoshelter.com Ollie
  11. I'm opting out of the Czech Republic. Am just fed up with low, single-digit dollar sales to that market. They are not a Third World underdeveloped country and should be able to pay prices more in line with what the rest of Europe is paying. I doubt that Czech users will notice that my 29,000 images are no longer available, but if enough contributors did this perhaps it would convey the lesson that market forces can be brought to bear. Ollie
  12. Sally: ...but it looks as if we're being denied the opportunity to license our images in Serbia and Montenegro. Big markets, no doubt. Chuck
  13. Still about normal for me in number of sales (15 this month) but gross prices notably lower (total $539, or $35.93 per sale).
  14. Licensing the image for a book cover, in this case, brought $950 to Alamy, half to me. Alamy says that's a lot, and don't worry about the other magazine and inside uses that now will not occur.
  15. I had one a few months ago, which resulted in a license for the book cover. Exclusive use as a book cover was all the customer asked for. I replied that I would agree to that on the assumption that licensing for other purposes would still be permitted. Alamy did not comment on my assumption but went ahead and licensed the image. I was surprised when I later inadvertently discovered that Alamy now shows the image as not available for any licensing for magazines or books. I asked why, noting that this notation deprives both Alamy and me of any additional revenues that could be gained from magazine use, or from use inside a book. (And this only shortly before Alamy told us it would lower commissions to 40% because it needs more money.) Alamy replied that its software is currently incapable of distinguishing between book and magazine use, and book cover and inside use. So be aware that if you consent to exclusive use as a book cover you are in effect removing that image from further consideration for other licenses for magazine use or for inside book use. I hope Alamy will use some of the money it's now earning from its increased commissions to pay for improvements in its website software.
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