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2 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

Yes I understand that. And for those who have lower revenues I can see that it looms up as a much less of an overall concern than the indemnity issue.

 

One of the main things that makes me so bothered is the deceit coming from Alamy. 

 

We were told in 2019 that knowing which images were exclusive was helpful to Alamy and was likely to lead to higher fees and better sales. We were offered a strange sort of reward ( retaining the previous 50% for exclusive images). That took months of boring pain-staking work for me and I lost around $1000 ( can't remember now) from having exclusive images marked as No-Ex through the transition. It took me around six months to close down accounts at other agencies, to get spreadsheets of all the information. Now we are casually told that the Exclusive collection is of no commercial value and is being switched to 40%. You what???

 

Then in the Xmas video we were assured that there were no plans for a commission cut. 

 

Whatever they do with rewriting contract clauses makes little difference as far as I am concerned. They have treated us as mugs ( cue John Morrison) and the trust has gone.

 

Yes Ian, we all feel that way, but what are you going to do.

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Posted (edited)

I don't blame you for seriously considering your position, I obviously don't have as much to lose as yourself.

For me it is not about the cut, it's the continuous shift in the legal ramifications that is the line in the sand for me.

Edited by BobD
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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, BobD said:

I don't blame you for seriously considering your position, I obviously don't have as much to lose as yourself.

For me it is not about the cut, it's the continuous shift in the legal ramifications that is the line in the sand for me.

 

 

During that six months I intend to gradual remove older slide scans ( the first ones that I aded to Alamy back in 2002-05) and move them to a website I am going to build at ( nothing there as yet but I've bought the domain name) www.oldslidephotos.com

 

I still waiting for Photoshelter to get their act together over that.

 

Now it could be that after 6 months Alamy sales increase and everything is tickety-boo. If so I might start contributing again. This is business. I am trying to frame a reaction to the contract which is both constructive and cautious. 

Edited by geogphotos
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4 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

I am trying to frame a reaction to the contract which is both constructive and cautious. 

 

As are many of us. And, for me at least, this thread is useful, helpful information. There is plenty of signal amongst the noise. 

 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

 

I am going to pause and see what happens. I feel trapped actually. I have worked on Alamy probably every day for around 18 years. 

 

I would love to make a gesture but am trying to stay calm enough just to wait and see. Throwing 70k images down the toilet pan is tempting but would just hurt myself not Alamy.

 

So, no more uploads from me, see what happens over the next 6 months. Probably switch all images to Non-Ex but not immediately - will see how the Infringement Team operates and what fees they get. I am deleting my old slide 'scans' - around 2500 images of other people's pictures. I am removing the most obvious risky images and changing a lot more to Editorial Only.

 

I have resumed uploading elsewhere instead of offering Ex images to Alamy.

 

Ditto. I have a much smaller port, but feel equally trapped. A lot of work went into it. And with a lot of mine being 'people' images (up to last year, at least...due to covid it's all wildlife for almost all of 2020/21😁), and many London event news images, including lots of photo calls, festivals, protests etc, quite a chunk of mine is likely to be in the 'risky' category you describe. Ditto a lot of my travel imagery depends on people content. They're all marked as editorial only, but I feel exposed and vulnerable with insurers not wanting to cover the risks pushed onto photographers now in the new/amended contract clauses. So I'll wait and see, probably go non-exclusive, and at the first sign of serious legal trouble being reported by anyone (or experienced by myself) I'll have to pull all of the images. Sad times, Alamy. Or perhaps I should say, sad times, Press Association.

 

 

Edited by imageplotter
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I think the overall and overriding issue here is that @Alamy have said time and again no commission cuts and yet they then go and cut the commission.

 

Sorry @Alamy but you are just in this for yourselves and you are deceitful 😠 

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8 minutes ago, Doc said:

None of us can tell anyone else what to do, as we are in different positions. However we can all decide what we ourselves are going to do.

For me, firstly I am waiting to see what comes back from Alamy. Nothing to be lost at this point by waiting for that. Sadly, as we have seen in the recent past, when new contracts are proposed, violently objected to by us, and then made more benign, they may not then last very long. On the other hand, the partial reversal last time (retain 50% for exclusive images) was decided by the old Alamy management, and this is now PA. They may be less inclined to go back on contract decisions within a year or so which they themselves have made.

In the meantime however this is what I have been doing:

 

1. I have ticked the "for editorial use only" box in the appropriate images. In my collection of 27K photos, the vast majority have people in, so I am guessing c. 20-22K will need that doing. Like John in Vancouver I am not certain how helpful that will be, as all my images have always been marked correctly for model/property releases etc. Interestingly I asked Alamy if they could mark all my images as "for editorial use only" as I thought it would be easier to untick that box on 7K images, rather than to tick it on 20K images. Unfortunately when Alamy did this for me (very quickly) they put a red padlock on all the restrictions so I could not go through and take the  editorial restriction off the 7K or so images which didn't need it. So I asked them to take the tick off the editorial only box, and I am going through making all images editorial use only initially, and will then go through and remove it from the ones which don't need it. This will take some time.

 

2. I have removed myself from all distributors. I am very concerned that apparently distributors may not abide by our restrictions, leaving me more open to legal problems. Normally you can only withdraw in April but at the moment this appears to have been extended.

 

3. I will be going through and removing images which might possibly leave me more open to being sued/having to pay Alamys' legal charges. 

 

4. Although I have never sold any images except through Alamy, I will at some point ask them to make my collection non-exclusive, as with these changes and the ever-reducing cost at which they are selling images I am not going to be able to re-attain the $25K threshold for 50% reimbursement.

 

5. I have taken out some Professional Indemnity insurance, which may or may not work against Alamy's contract but will make me feel a bit better.

 

I have invested 17 years and 27K images in Alamys' collection, and both I and Alamy have done well out of it. I, like many others with large longstanding collections do not want to throw that all away, but like everyone I am very concerned about legal fees being dumped on me, especially when I might have known nothing about it till it happens. 

It would be very interesting, and useful I think to many of us, to know how many times Alamy and Alamy photogs have actually been sued in the last say 10 years. I have asked this question of Alamy, but was told that they could not respond due to confidentiality issues. I am not sure how that applies to just giving us the numbers of occasions. My suspicion is it is very small numbers.

 

There are still some very good people working at Alamy, but they must recognise that explaining "intentions" of complicated legal paragraphs is simply not enough. The wording must be changed to reflect this more accurately.

 

Alamy - we await your proposed changes.

 

Kumar

 

 

Thank you Kumar.

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Well said, Kumar.  You've echoed my own thinking.

 

I've stayed away from the forum while I considered my own options.  As a specialist I may be at less potential risk than others but that risk is not zero.  Accordingly, I've opted out of most distribution, will be going through all my images to decide which to retain as exclusive, which to delete, and which to mark as editorial only.  This will be completed by the end of June irrespective of whether the contract wording is changed to limit the individual photographer's liability for suable errors outwith their control,

 

Up to now all my images except a few have been exclusive so a drop in commission will hit me harder than those who became non exclusive after the last commission 'adjustment'.  I'm not at risk of going down to the 20% level if sales are maintained at the current levels.  Most months generate double or even treble the gross revenue required for the yearly gold rate.  Even so the drop will be significant and I will need to explore other options.  What they are I've not fully explored or decided as yet but the revenue from them will not be going into Alamy's pockets.

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I have been with Alamy since Feb 04 and the $$$ rewards have been plummeting in the last... what, 10 years? I manage some sales each month but prices are now dire!  I keep thinking a percentage of 'something' no matter how small is better than a percentage of nothing but up to now, this month's smallest it $4 largest is $14.  It is not easy to understand Alamy's tentacled structures now, how many other 'agents' are cashing in and wanting a cut from a cut from my cut, I have no idea anymore.  I prefer to be loyal to an agent but I think it's time to have a look around.

C'mon Alamy, you are heading in the wrong direction and it is obvious to all.

 

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30 minutes ago, yokochanie said:

 

2008  31 pictures sold  $3705

 

2021 (part year only)  53 pictures sold, $1521

 

 

I had a company contact me two years ago asking to use an old postcard picture of mine on Alamy for around $400. I had to sign that I owned the copyright. I declined and referred them to Alamy. The picture they said would be used for an advert campaign. They did and and around two months later it went through as been paid for around $40. I checked this with Alamy but they said it was correct. A few pictures recently went through for $3.13...multiple use and in perpetuity. Better then the one that went through at $1.18 for the same use.

 

As for the picture that went royalty free for $0.24, words fail me.

 

There has to be something wrong if a company want to pay me $400, but then get the same picture from the agency where they first saw it for just $40.

 

My point?

 

With that kind of pricing (giveaways), maybe look first at your charging policy before cutting a percentage from the people that go out there and get the pictures.

 

 

This is a very worrying blog my friend. Clearly, how do we know what fees are really being offered. No wonder there's very little left commission-wise.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, John Richmond said:

Well said, Kumar.  You've echoed my own thinking.

 

I've stayed away from the forum while I considered my own options.  As a specialist I may be at less potential risk than others but that risk is not zero.  Accordingly, I've opted out of most distribution, will be going through all my images to decide which to retain as exclusive, which to delete, and which to mark as editorial only.  This will be completed by the end of June irrespective of whether the contract wording is changed to limit the individual photographer's liability for suable errors outwith their control,

 

Up to now all my images except a few have been exclusive so a drop in commission will hit me harder than those who became non exclusive after the last commission 'adjustment'.  I'm not at risk of going down to the 20% level if sales are maintained at the current levels.  Most months generate double or even treble the gross revenue required for the yearly gold rate.  Even so the drop will be significant and I will need to explore other options.  What they are I've not fully explored or decided as yet but the revenue from them will not be going into Alamy's pockets.

 

 

Probably will never affect you John, but my prediction is in 12-18 months time the threshold will rise from $250 to $500, then $1000 and so on.

PA have now shown their true colours and will not be happy until they have wrung the most they can from their contributors.

Edited by BobD
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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, geogphotos said:

The commission for most of us is being cut by 10 % points ( 20% drop in income)

 

Others are having they commission cut to a paltry 20%.

 

We will continue to bare all the costs of producing images, editing them, preparing them for sale.

 

Alamy will, however it is worded, pass more responsibility for indemnifying themselves to us, thereby putting us at some level of increased financial risk.

 

Alamy will be increasing their share by 10% points ( 20% increase in income) for doing no more work and taking less responsibility.

 

In addition they will muscle in to a new area and prevent those with exclusive images from chasing their OWN copyright infringements.

100% agree.

The once cuddly, photographer friendly Alamy has completely gone with the new dodgy contract and stupidly low royalty rates. It's all about sharholders dividends not contributors. It's only going in one direction.

Loads of reputable agencies out there with fair commissions and/or high sales. Easy enough for anyone interested to research where best to place your images. There is absolutely no incentive to stay exclusive to Alamy .. in fact lots of very good reasons not to, both legal and financial.

Think like a business and how to maximise your return on investment and the work you put into producing images to sell .. after all that's all Alamy are doing now.

Edited by wilkopix
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Posted (edited)

And of course, there's a potential conflict of interest where PA can award its own companies/partners even deeper discounts, so making our job reaching targets even harder.

Edited by Cryptoprocta
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6 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

Not bothered about a 20% pay cut?

 

I certainly am damn well bothered!

 

We have been told that the clause about idemnity is going to be clarified. It may be that Alamy are searching the forum for guidance on how to word it but I somehow doubt it. 

 

My guess would be that it is all part of an expectation management plan in the lead up to July 1st.

 

 

 

It depends on whether the top brass at PA/Alamy see their better photographers as people with valuable skills, or if they see all their photographers as one rich trustee head of a NYC orchestra board saw musicians -- trained workers with some specialized skills who were quite interchangable.   Or Hollywood's term -- "the talent." 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Doc said:

None of us can tell anyone else what to do, as we are in different positions. However we can all decide what we ourselves are going to do.

For me, firstly I am waiting to see what comes back from Alamy. Nothing to be lost at this point by waiting for that. Sadly, as we have seen in the recent past, when new contracts are proposed, violently objected to by us, and then made more benign, they may not then last very long. On the other hand, the partial reversal last time (retain 50% for exclusive images) was decided by the old Alamy management, and this is now PA. They may be less inclined to go back on contract decisions within a year or so which they themselves have made.

In the meantime however this is what I have been doing:

 

1. I have ticked the "for editorial use only" box in the appropriate images. In my collection of 27K photos, the vast majority have people in, so I am guessing c. 20-22K will need that doing. Like John in Vancouver I am not certain how helpful that will be, as all my images have always been marked correctly for model/property releases etc. Interestingly I asked Alamy if they could mark all my images as "for editorial use only" as I thought it would be easier to untick that box on 7K images, rather than to tick it on 20K images. Unfortunately when Alamy did this for me (very quickly) they put a red padlock on all the restrictions so I could not go through and take the  editorial restriction off the 7K or so images which didn't need it. So I asked them to take the tick off the editorial only box, and I am going through making all images editorial use only initially, and will then go through and remove it from the ones which don't need it. This will take some time.

 

2. I have removed myself from all distributors. I am very concerned that apparently distributors may not abide by our restrictions, leaving me more open to legal problems. Normally you can only withdraw in April but at the moment this appears to have been extended.

 

3. I will be going through and removing images which might possibly leave me more open to being sued/having to pay Alamys' legal charges. 

 

4. Although I have never sold any images except through Alamy, I will at some point ask them to make my collection non-exclusive, as with these changes and the ever-reducing cost at which they are selling images I am not going to be able to re-attain the $25K threshold for 50% reimbursement.

 

5. I have taken out some Professional Indemnity insurance, which may or may not work against Alamy's contract but will make me feel a bit better.

 

I have invested 17 years and 27K images in Alamys' collection, and both I and Alamy have done well out of it. I, like many others with large longstanding collections do not want to throw that all away, but like everyone I am very concerned about legal fees being dumped on me, especially when I might have known nothing about it till it happens. 

It would be very interesting, and useful I think to many of us, to know how many times Alamy and Alamy photogs have actually been sued in the last say 10 years. I have asked this question of Alamy, but was told that they could not respond due to confidentiality issues. I am not sure how that applies to just giving us the numbers of occasions. My suspicion is it is very small numbers.

 

There are still some very good people working at Alamy, but they must recognise that explaining "intentions" of complicated legal paragraphs is simply not enough. The wording must be changed to reflect this more accurately.

 

Alamy - we await your proposed changes.

 

Kumar

 

 

Kumar,

 

I agree with what you have written 100%.

 

Chuck

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1 hour ago, MizBrown said:

 

It depends on whether the top brass at PA/Alamy see their better photographers as people with valuable skills, or if they see all their photographers as one rich trustee head of a NYC orchestra board saw musicians -- trained workers with some specialized skills who were quite interchangable.   Or Hollywood's term -- "the talent." 

 

 

I'm guessing the more valuable contributors and agencies can negotiate their own terms directly with PA.

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7 hours ago, Doc said:

None of us can tell anyone else what to do, as we are in different positions. However we can all decide what we ourselves are going to do.

For me, firstly I am waiting to see what comes back from Alamy. Nothing to be lost at this point by waiting for that. Sadly, as we have seen in the recent past, when new contracts are proposed, violently objected to by us, and then made more benign, they may not then last very long. On the other hand, the partial reversal last time (retain 50% for exclusive images) was decided by the old Alamy management, and this is now PA. They may be less inclined to go back on contract decisions within a year or so which they themselves have made.

In the meantime however this is what I have been doing:

 

1. I have ticked the "for editorial use only" box in the appropriate images. In my collection of 27K photos, the vast majority have people in, so I am guessing c. 20-22K will need that doing. Like John in Vancouver I am not certain how helpful that will be, as all my images have always been marked correctly for model/property releases etc. Interestingly I asked Alamy if they could mark all my images as "for editorial use only" as I thought it would be easier to untick that box on 7K images, rather than to tick it on 20K images. Unfortunately when Alamy did this for me (very quickly) they put a red padlock on all the restrictions so I could not go through and take the  editorial restriction off the 7K or so images which didn't need it. So I asked them to take the tick off the editorial only box, and I am going through making all images editorial use only initially, and will then go through and remove it from the ones which don't need it. This will take some time.

 

2. I have removed myself from all distributors. I am very concerned that apparently distributors may not abide by our restrictions, leaving me more open to legal problems. Normally you can only withdraw in April but at the moment this appears to have been extended.

 

3. I will be going through and removing images which might possibly leave me more open to being sued/having to pay Alamys' legal charges. 

 

4. Although I have never sold any images except through Alamy, I will at some point ask them to make my collection non-exclusive, as with these changes and the ever-reducing cost at which they are selling images I am not going to be able to re-attain the $25K threshold for 50% reimbursement.

 

5. I have taken out some Professional Indemnity insurance, which may or may not work against Alamy's contract but will make me feel a bit better.

 

I have invested 17 years and 27K images in Alamys' collection, and both I and Alamy have done well out of it. I, like many others with large longstanding collections do not want to throw that all away, but like everyone I am very concerned about legal fees being dumped on me, especially when I might have known nothing about it till it happens. 

It would be very interesting, and useful I think to many of us, to know how many times Alamy and Alamy photogs have actually been sued in the last say 10 years. I have asked this question of Alamy, but was told that they could not respond due to confidentiality issues. I am not sure how that applies to just giving us the numbers of occasions. My suspicion is it is very small numbers.

 

There are still some very good people working at Alamy, but they must recognise that explaining "intentions" of complicated legal paragraphs is simply not enough. The wording must be changed to reflect this more accurately.

 

Alamy - we await your proposed changes.

 

Kumar

 

 

 

Excellent post Kumar. I agree with all of it and I am also following the steps that you have listed. I don't have as much to lose by leaving Alamy as I have fewer images than you do. For me the reduction in commission combined with ever falling licence fees will makes the decision easier though as I'm just not prepared to accept the financial risks for what is a rapidly reducing revenue.  

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I think that Kumar created a very useful roadmap for those of us who hope to stay with Alamy after putting so much time, effort, and money into this project. I'm slowly taking most of the proactive steps that he has mentioned. It's going to take quite awhile to make all the changes, even with my relatively small collection, as I have a lot of other things going on at the moment. Have to admit, though, that I feel like I'm taking stabs in the dark much of the time when ticking boxes, deleting images, etc. I'm going to wait for Alamy's promised updates before possibly removing myself from distributors, which is another move I would hate to have to make as I often get decent distro sales. I've yet to look into personal indemnity insurance, but it's on my to-do list. 

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Posted (edited)

 

7 hours ago, yokochanie said:

 

2008  31 pictures sold  $3705

 

2021 (part year only)  53 pictures sold, $1521

 

 

I had a company contact me two years ago asking to use an old postcard picture of mine on Alamy for around $400. I had to sign that I owned the copyright. I declined and referred them to Alamy. The picture they said would be used for an advert campaign. They did and and around two months later it went through as been paid for around $40. I checked this with Alamy but they said it was correct. A few pictures recently went through for $3.13...multiple use and in perpetuity. Better then the one that went through at $1.18 for the same use.

 

As for the picture that went royalty free for $0.24, words fail me.

 

There has to be something wrong if a company want to pay me $400, but then get the same picture from the agency where they first saw it for just $40.

 

My point?

 

With that kind of pricing (giveaways), maybe look first at your charging policy before cutting a percentage from the people that go out there and get the pictures.

 

 

 

This is indeed very worrying. We are kept in the dark about who the clients are(unless you regularly Google your name, then you will have some information) and how can we trust that we have the right info about the fees that are being paid. Incidentally I was googling for my Alamy pictures some 3 or 4 weeks ago, I found one of my pictures on the website of a well known auction house, the sale has not come through on my account yet. Then 2 weeks ago Alamy got in touch with me to lift restriction for that image so that the client could buy it. Obviously I already knew who the client was, but I was quite taken aback by that the image was already published some weeks prior. When i googled it again the image was no longer there. I sent Alamy a screenshot and I asked if their clients are allowed to publish the images before licensing them I didn't get an answer.

 

The lack of transparency begs the question - how much is there that we do not know?

Edited by Nathaniel Noir
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I believe Alamy are only going to rewrite some clauses so they will be clearer to photographers. I do not see where they are going to change the intent of the contract at all.

 

How many photographers have been sued? Probably very few, as that is not how it works.

 

Parties in the chain receive threats from the plaintive's lawyer. For reasonable smaller claims, a confidential financial resolution is reached between all parties. It never gets to court. It is not public. No one has been sued. However legal costs and settlement costs have been incurred.

 

For large claims everyone in the chain becomes adversaries, all with their own legal representation. Every entity in the chain for themselves.

 

If an agreement is not reached with the plaintive, then the plaintive may sue. Then it becomes public.

 

Occasionally there is a perfect storm of circumstances that can lead to a large claim regardless how careful all members of the stock photo chain have been.

 

Before 2000 most stock photographers were also commercial photographers. They used professional models which made their model releases enforceable. Commercial photographers understood about trademarks, photographing money, photographing artwork in public places, copyright. They had a good working knowledge of the legal aspects of stock photography, and knew their risks. They had their own limited companies, and also carried insurance just in case.

 

When the prices paid for stock photography fell, around 2000, professional stock photographers stopped production. They went on to other types of photography, but left their existing stock on sale because it was largely bullet proof legally.

 

New submissions from professional stock photographers fell off, so stock archives had a problem. Stock archives conducted misleading PR campaigns that placed newspaper stories about how a stay at home mom was supplementing family income by using her new digital camera to photograph her family and friends. Misleading PR campaigns about how amateur authenticity with real people, not professional slickness with actors, was the new trend.

 

New amateur stock shooters, poured in, but had no concept about the risks they were taking.

 

The "Photo AGENCY Council of America" (PACA) understood the risk, and changed their name to "Photo ARCHIVE Council of America"(PACA). Former agencies took the agency language out of their photographers contracts and became archives. If you are an agent you have a heightened responsibility to act in the best interests of the people you represent. Archives are depositories, they represent no one.

 

The new Alamy contract is an honest contract that lays out the risk that photographers have been taking all along. Everything in this contract, is standard stock industry practice, and has been so for many years.

 

Do the low returns, due to low prices and a smaller cut, justify the risks and any future production? That is the question.            
 

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23 minutes ago, Bill Brooks said:

The new Alamy contract is an honest contract that lays out the risk that photographers have been taking all along. Everything in this contract, is standard stock industry practice, and has been so for many years.

 

Since when have we been asked to take liability for mistakes Alamy or its distributors might make? Or have I misunderstood the new contract?

 

Mark

 

 

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