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Terminating my Contract with Alamy

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Guest

Hi All,

 

I've decided to terminate my contract with Alamy for several reasons but I have an issue with the contract as it stands.

 

There is a period of 45 days in which my images will remain on sale as normal.

 

After that period any image that has been downloaded can be sold for a period of two years from the 45 day termination.

 

Also, any image that has been licenced (I'm assuming that to mean any image sale) can be relicenced indefinitely.

 

Now, my issues are that my sold images will be effectively locked in to Alamy and can not be offered else where on an exclusive basis, indefinitely.

 

I'm not sure if any sales on that basis will always be at the current 50% commission and quite how the payment works (do I need to keep Alamy updated indefinitely with my bank payment details).

 

It seems, through  my conversations with Alamy, that for any image sold, the termination of my contract is mute. They can continue to relicence those images.

 

I thought one of the nice things with Alamy was that it was straightforward to terminate the contract. I do accept and understand the reasons for the 45 days and even the two year period but the indefinite terms are difficult to swallow.

 

The more I as Alamy the more confused I get lol.

 

Hope someone can help here.

 

Cheers in advance,

Dayve

Edited by Guest
typo

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On 8/3/2018 at 09:53, Inchiquin said:

As a large corporate customer it's quite possible that the BBC has a separate bespoke agreement with Alamy that includes image credit policy.

 

Alan

 

On 8/3/2018 at 10:40, gvallee said:

BBC is not consistent. Sometimes it credits the photographer/Alamy, sometimes only Alamy.

I periodically report BBC pix in the "Have you found pictures thread". 

Here's an example I've reported.

http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180715-the-turkish-city-that-lives-for-breakfast

 

Gen

 

On 8/3/2018 at 12:12, Cryptoprocta said:

How can they possibly think the copyright holder is the agency? Which agencies take over copyright? They use a lot of G images, and G, for all its many faults, does not take over copyright.

 

Whether Alamy has some special arrangement about this with the Beeb, only they could confirm.

UK Law says:

"The right to attribution

This is the right to be recognised as the author of a work. This right needs to be asserted before it applies. For example, in a contract with a publisher, an author may state that they assert their right to be identified as the author of their work."

Presumably, Alamy isn't asserting that right. I wish they would.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-rights-granted-by-copyright

 

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I have contacted several photographic organisations and a couple of them have also thought that it's an educational issue with the Beeb and will be chatting to them about this. I'm sure that the Beeb will eventually recognise the law and moral rights of the photographer and change their policy. I hope.

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55 minutes ago, Dayve said:

Also, any image that has been licenced (I'm assuming that to mean any image sale) can be relicenced indefinitely.

 

Now, my issues are that my sold images will be effectively locked in to Alamy and can not be offered else where on an exclusive basis, indefinitely.

 

I'm not sure that the second sentence follows from the first?
I would have thought that once you serve notice on Alamy, then they are entitled to rely on the agreement that you reached and to re license indefinitely to original buyer/s but I struggle to believe that they can enforce exclusivity in perpetuity. Surely that only applies while you are under contract?  I would consider it in restraint of trade and therefore unenforceable, if having terminated your agreement (and with it the exclusivity) you cannot offer it elsewhere.
 

It would seem logical though that you can't subsequently claim exclusivity with a new agency.

Maybe someone on this forum knows the definitive answer?

 

 

 

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That's why I'm confused. It seems that a relicence is for a very similar use to the original licence from a particular customer. But I don't see how that can be indefinitely once a contract with Alamy has been terminated.

 

If this is, in fact, the case, then I wouldn't be able to supply that image to another agency on an exclusive basis as it would always be the subject of potential relicencing with Alamy.

 

I wouldn't mind as much if the fees that Alamy are getting are higher but they are often very low.

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2 minutes ago, Dayve said:

If this is, in fact, the case, then I wouldn't be able to supply that image to another agency on an exclusive basis as it would always be the subject of potential relicencing with Alamy.

 

I follow your logic but I personally wouldn't be unduly concerned. If another client wanted to purchase an image, I can't think of that many cases where exclusivity would be a big factor and the lack of it would hamper a sale. I should be so lucky!

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10 minutes ago, Richard Tadman said:

 

I follow your logic but I personally wouldn't be unduly concerned. If another client wanted to purchase an image, I can't think of that many cases where exclusivity would be a big factor and the lack of it would hamper a sale. I should be so lucky!

LOL, yeah, true. It does open up other questions though. Do they still pay 50% commission indefinitely and what happens when I cease trading and close my bank account down etc. Having an open-ended term like this seems wrong to me.

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20 minutes ago, Dayve said:

LOL, yeah, true. It does open up other questions though. Do they still pay 50% commission indefinitely and what happens when I cease trading and close my bank account down etc. Having an open-ended term like this seems wrong to me.

It may be wrong, but it's not unusual in the business; at G it's the same, previous buyers can re-purchase.

The real problem is that these payments could take to infinity to add up to a payout.

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1 minute ago, Cryptoprocta said:

It may be wrong, but it's not unusual in the business; at G it's the same, previous buyers can re-purchase.

The real problem is that these payments could take to infinity to add up to a payout.

At the rates I've been getting that could be quite true.

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Do not confuse exclusively represented (ends with the end of contract) and an exclusive licence. The latter are usually exclusive to a sector, time period or purpose (say as a book cover) or a territory or some mix thereof - I have never been exclusively represented by Alamy but had exclusive licences as described, usually sensibly time limited. Outside those limits it can usually be licenced freely; but it could under Alamy's post-contract terms be relicenced for a renewal of the same purpose on the same (selectively exclusive) purpose; it should follow on seamlessly from previous licence, not after a break as that should be a new licence in my view and outside the terms of the contract. A totally exclusive licence  (all uses, all terroritories, in perpetuity or very extended time, say more than 5 or 10 years, should be effectively as expensive (very!) as a copyright buyout as it cannot be used for any other purpose.

 

If you change to new exclusive representation and have been exclusively represented by Alamy, or have had exclusive licences (especially if they are still active) then you should discuss the specifics with the new library.

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In November I had a 10 year old RM license renewed by an old agency that no longer represents me. They were not supposed to do that. However it turned out that the client printed a new edition of the book, and only then contacted the agency for a license renewal.

 

Short of giving the client a pair of scissors and telling them to cut the image out of every single book, or a pot of paste to use in pasting a new image over mine, or demanding a recall of all books, or suing their ass off for breach of copyright, the only thing for the old agency to do was to issue a new RM license to the client.

 

This is one of the reasons that clients prefer RF over RM. With all of the stock images floating around on the internet it becomes difficult for agency, client, or photographer, to Rights Manage an RM image in every single instance.

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4 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

In November I had a 10 year old RM license renewed by an old agency that no longer represents me. They were not supposed to do that. However it turned out that the client printed a new edition of the book, and only then contacted the agency for a license renewal.

 

Short of giving the client a pair of scissors and telling them to cut the image out of every single book, or a pot of paste to use in pasting a new image over mine, or demanding a recall of all books, or suing their ass off for breach of copyright, the only thing for the old agency to do was to issue a new RM license to the client.

 

This is one of the reasons that clients prefer RF over RM. With all of the stock images floating around on the internet it becomes difficult for agency, client, or photographer, to Rights Manage an RM image in every single instance.

 

 

You could have held the library's feet to the fire and pointed out that it was a  new licence ( for a new edition, new ISBN ), they were no longer representing you so their licencing was a breach of your copyright, as well as the unlicenced publication of your IP by the publisher. They would probably have had to settle with your own view of the correct fee otherwise they would upset their client relationship. No skin off your nose unless you were expecting to do business with the client on your own account.

 

Just a thought.

Edited by Martin P Wilson

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13 hours ago, Cryptoprocta said:

Even then they Could re-license under some conditions:

Contract 20.4. "The termination shall not prejudice any licences then existing or any negotiations which Alamy has properly entered into with any third party prior to the date of termination or the grant of licences for Images already downloaded by a Customer prior to termination."

Well it's the indefinitely part that seems at odds with the termination of a contract. The photographer has lost control of any affected images. Also, there is the commission rates to consider; will they be the 50% at the time of termination? Also having to keep one's bank account / payment details up to date with an agency that you otherwise have no association with. It all seems like an odd contract term when those things are considered. 

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Just curious, how many images are we talking about? How many a year are you selling on Alamy?

 

wim

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I think I'll be going down this route - cancel due to contract change, but then re-applying.

 

As Alamy was going to be my singular place for listing, that is no longer the case, and I have some images on here I would now rather list on other Agencies.

 

Thankfully nothing of mine has sold on here, and I don't want the stuff tied up for 6 months, so this seems like my get out option. 

 

I do have content that will be strictly for Alamy, but when I joined/started uploading again, I didn't realise a lot of their sale prices were little better than Microstock these days.

 

When I go on to their site, and look at the listed sale price for something like PU, it's £10, so not sure why so many are seeing pennies for sales... is it that Alamy is simply competing on price with MS?

 

My main aim was to be non-exclusive anywhere, and sell through my own site, but if I'm honest with myself, no matter how good I get at SEO, I just won't have the market for it to possibly earn for me.

 

I will keep my own site almost strictly for print sales, and keep some content exclusive to myself.

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1 hour ago, wiskerke said:

Just curious, how many images are we talking about? How many a year are you selling on Alamy?

 

wim

About 86, although I have several of them as multiple sales.

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17 hours ago, Martin P Wilson said:

 

You could have held the library's feet to the fire and pointed out that it was a  new licence ( for a new edition, new ISBN ), they were no longer representing you so their licencing was a breach of your copyright, as well as the unlicenced publication of your IP by the publisher. They would probably have had to settle with your own view of the correct fee otherwise they would upset their client relationship. No skin off your nose unless you were expecting to do business with the client on your own account.

 

Just a thought.

 

Yes I could have done that, but not practical because:

 

The image was sold through a sub agent of my former agent.

My former agent has no client relationship with the end user.

I have no desire to do business with the German end user on my own account.

In Toronto it costs about $10,000 for a legal opinion and to bring any simple case up to the discovery phase, which I know I would have to do. The international nature makes the case less simpler and probably more expensive.

My former agent did the right thing and report the sale to me. He had no control over the sub agent renewing the license.

The image was not on any stock site because I decided to retire it a few years ago. Therefore it would be more difficult to prove damages.

I could threaten, but if I eventually did nothing, then I could be looked on as a bullshitter and paper tiger.

Stock photography is a relatively small world, and to be ultra hard nosed in a situation where everyone involved was trying to do the right thing, would hurt me in the long run.

Situations like this are why clients prefer RF. Prices for RF and RM are essentially the same, so client preference for RF is more about client RM rights control problems.

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