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Following the changes to the Alamy contributor contract it seems impossible that I can now carry on contributing to Alamy and that, if nothing changes, I will have to delete my portfolio.

 

The reduced commission is bad enough, but the deal-breaker is the increased exposure to legal risk and Alamy's expection that I would be responsible for my legal costs, their legal costs and the legal costs of Uncle Tom Cobley and All in the event that even a spurious legal claim was brought against me. Given that leagl action is seen almost as a recreational game in some parts of the world, it is a heavy potential burden to bear.

 

I am a sole trader in the UK, bring in an annual income in the low thousands, spread over photos and videos in several agencies, but Alamy is my principal still image agency. 

 

So, can anyone point me to a source of affordable indemnity insurance which I could trust to take the heat, the practical administration of defending, and covering the cost in the (very unlikely) event I was forced to defend a claim against some infringment or other anywhere in the world?

 

Would membership of some professional association be possible which would afford such protection? 

 

I've not found any agency which is like Alamy in the range of uncurated editorial stock it accepts. Does such a place exist? I know it's not possible to openly discuss alternative agencies, but a hint of the best places to look would be helpful. 

 

I know I will not be the only one asking these questions, so any wisdom imparted will be most useful to more than just me.

 

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11 minutes ago, Joseph Clemson said:

Following the changes to the Alamy contributor contract it seems impossible that I can now carry on contributing to Alamy and that, if nothing changes, I will have to delete my portfolio.

 

The reduced commission is bad enough, but the deal-breaker is the increased exposure to legal risk and Alamy's expection that I would be responsible for my legal costs, their legal costs and the legal costs of Uncle Tom Cobley and All in the event that even a spurious legal claim was brought against me. Given that leagl action is seen almost as a recreational game in some parts of the world, it is a heavy potential burden to bear.

 

I am a sole trader in the UK, bring in an annual income in the low thousands, spread over photos and videos in several agencies, but Alamy is my principal still image agency. 

 

So, can anyone point me to a source of affordable indemnity insurance which I could trust to take the heat, the practical administration of defending, and covering the cost in the (very unlikely) event I was forced to defend a claim against some infringment or other anywhere in the world?

 

Would membership of some professional association be possible which would afford such protection? 

 

I've not found any agency which is like Alamy in the range of uncurated editorial stock it accepts. Does such a place exist? I know it's not possible to openly discuss alternative agencies, but a hint of the best places to look would be helpful. 

 

I know I will not be the only one asking these questions, so any wisdom imparted will be most useful to more than just me.

 

Sadly, I am sure that there will be many competitors circling to try and pick-up on the spillage as long-standing Alamy contributors consider what to do with their editorial stock portfolios. I hope that Alamy may reconsider but I think this highly unlikely. Why implement a change if you are not 100% behind it? I guess we don't know the full profit and loss story behind the scenes so it is relatively easy to jump to conclusions but it really could have been handled so much better.

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2 minutes ago, Mr Standfast said:

 

 

I have sent details of clause 5.1 to an indemnity provider and am waiting for a reply. 

I would be interested to hear your feedback from that please Mr Standfast.

 

Kumar

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1 minute ago, spacecadet said:

I'm tending towards the opinion that Alamy may have forfeited that courtesy.

Damn straight. 

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48 minutes ago, Joseph Clemson said:

 

 

I've not found any agency which is like Alamy in the range of uncurated editorial stock it accepts. Does such a place exist? I know it's not possible to openly discuss alternative agencies, but a hint of the best places to look would be helpful. 

 

I know I will not be the only one asking these questions, so any wisdom imparted will be most useful to more than just me.

 

 

 

looking with interest, note that the rule is

 

"This is an Alamy forum so it’s not the place to be attempting to damage the Alamy brand through defamatory comments or promoting competitors. You also should not post anything defamatory against our competitors or customers"

 

 

 

making statement about who takes what hardly is promotion

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3 minutes ago, spacecadet said:

I'm tending towards the opinion that Alamy may have forfeited that courtesy.

 

Alamy removed a post where I asked for alternative agencies.

 

As you said, it's gone past respecting Alamy's wishes entirely. It's every man for himself.

 

John.

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2 hours ago, Joseph Clemson said:

Following the changes to the Alamy contributor contract it seems impossible that I can now carry on contributing to Alamy and that, if nothing changes, I will have to delete my portfolio.

 

The reduced commission is bad enough, but the deal-breaker is the increased exposure to legal risk and Alamy's expection that I would be responsible for my legal costs, their legal costs and the legal costs of Uncle Tom Cobley and All in the event that even a spurious legal claim was brought against me. Given that leagl action is seen almost as a recreational game in some parts of the world, it is a heavy potential burden to bear.

 

I am a sole trader in the UK, bring in an annual income in the low thousands, spread over photos and videos in several agencies, but Alamy is my principal still image agency. 

 

So, can anyone point me to a source of affordable indemnity insurance which I could trust to take the heat, the practical administration of defending, and covering the cost in the (very unlikely) event I was forced to defend a claim against some infringment or other anywhere in the world?

 

Would membership of some professional association be possible which would afford such protection? 

 

I've not found any agency which is like Alamy in the range of uncurated editorial stock it accepts. Does such a place exist? I know it's not possible to openly discuss alternative agencies, but a hint of the best places to look would be helpful. 

 

I know I will not be the only one asking these questions, so any wisdom imparted will be most useful to more than just me.

 

 

I am no expert here (and someone who knows better may say that this is not a good place to start), but (if I'm allowed to use a name here) Photo (and) guard (names used together) insurance may be a good place to at least ask for some direction ... I hope you find some answers.

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if you are tempted elsewhere take care; there are a few sharks in the water. Watch out for former bankrupts operating under newer names. That's not limited to picture agencies!

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2 hours ago, Stokie said:

 

Alamy removed a post where I asked for alternative agencies.

 

As you said, it's gone past respecting Alamy's wishes entirely. It's every man for himself.

 

John.

Respect goes both ways. Obviously they only respect profits... theirs.

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1 hour ago, CarlMillerPhotos said:

Respect goes both ways. Obviously they only respect profits... theirs.

Sure, money talks, in this case a big raspberry and two fingers to boot.

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1 hour ago, Robert M Estall said:

if you are tempted elsewhere take care; there are a few sharks in the water. Watch out for former bankrupts operating under newer names. That's not limited to picture agencies!

 

Right you are Robert, and in my opinion their fingerprints are all over this contract.

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As an 100% exclusive contributor, the question of where now is difficult for me to answer. However I am being proactive about preparing my portfolio to give me the ability to pursue alternatives. To that end I am planing to be able to measure sales results between agency "A' and agency "X". I have taken the following steps:

 

  • I've created a new pseudonym to host images I plan to re-purpose as non-exclusive.
  • I'm marking those images as editorial only
  • I'm marking them as RF
  • I'm downloading all keywords and meta data and updating my files in Photoshop in my base TIFF image on my server.

 

Once I've identified Agency "X" and submitted this test port I will track Returns per Image for a minimum of 6 months, although this might not be a sufficient amount of time. I will then select the winning candidate if their is a clear cut winner. Obviously, agency "A" will have to compete to keep me as a client. That's the plan.

 

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Posted (edited)

Over the years, before retiring as a pro photographer, I have had a variety of Photographer’s Personal Liability and Photographer’s Personal Indemnity cover, with various insurers.  I only had photographer-specific policies and they covered risks specific to professional photographers, and also specific to me personally.  At one time I insured with a company with a discount through the body I belong to (British Institute of Professional Photography), and on other occasions through insurers that advertised in professional photographic magazines.

 

Since retiring I have concentrated on personal projects with very low risk which I assessed as not requiring additional cover over and above what I have already. With my Alamy folio, little has been added in recent years and  I have taken great care to caption accurately and appropriately restrict photos.  The new contract introduces enhanced and new risks I am not prepared to accept, and this, together with the commission drop,  has led me to resign from Alamy.  I personally would not even want to take the risk of facing legal action in the future – even with insurance cover.

 

However, back to Joseph's query:

 

I don’t know of any professional organisation that includes any liability insurance with membership, but I am aware that several do have links with insurers that offer reduced premiums for members.

 

If I was staying with Alamy I would contact an insurer that is a Company Partners to the BIPP;

www.infocusinsurance.co.uk  as they give cover tailored to individual requirements, (with  a discount to members).

 

The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers also have an arrangement (with discount to members) with an insurer www.aaduki.com/

SWWP also has an interesting page at https://swpp.co.uk/insurance/pi_pl_important.htm

 

I am sure that In Focus and aduki would be happy to look at the Alamy contract and maybe quote, and there are several other insurers out there (Google: photographer professional indemnity insurance uk), but it is important that the specific Alamy risks are quoted for.

Edited by Graham Morley
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1 hour ago, formerly snappyoncalifornia said:

Once I've identified Agency "X" and submitted this test port I will track Returns per Image for a minimum of 6 months, although this might not be a sufficient amount of time. I will then select the winning candidate if their is a clear cut winner. Obviously, agency "A" will have to compete to keep me as a client. That's the plan.

 

Why not check out Agency X,Y, and Z and then keep all four for maximum returns?

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

 

Right you are Robert, and in my opinion their fingerprints are all over this contract.

 

... and what I discovered when I was doing a lot freelance writing for print magazines and newspapers was that once one major publication hires lawyers to draft draconian contracts, others quickly follow suit. Monkey see, monkey do.

 

P.S. I don't mean to insult monkeys. They are smarter than us in a lot of respects.

 

 

Edited by John Mitchell
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2 hours ago, Graham Morley said:

Over the years, before retiring as a pro photographer, I have had a variety of Photographer’s Personal Liability and Photographer’s Personal Indemnity cover, with various insurers.  I only had photographer-specific policies and they covered risks specific to professional photographers, and also specific to me personally.  At one time I insured with a company with a discount through the body I belong to (British Institute of Professional Photography), and on other occasions through insurers that advertised in professional photographic magazines.

 

Since retiring I have concentrated on personal projects with very low risk which I assessed as not requiring additional cover over and above what I have already. With my Alamy folio, little has been added in recent years and  I have taken great care to caption accurately and appropriately restrict photos.  The new contract introduces enhanced and new risks I am not prepared to accept, and this, together with the commission drop,  has led me to resign from Alamy.  I personally would not even want to take the risk of facing legal action in the future – even with insurance cover.

 

However, back to Joseph's query:

 

I don’t know of any professional organisation that includes any liability insurance with membership, but I am aware that several do have links with insurers that offer reduced premiums for members.

 

If I was staying with Alamy I would contact an insurer that is a Company Partners to the BIPP;

www.infocusinsurance.co.uk  as they give cover tailored to individual requirements, (with  a discount to members).

 

The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers also have an arrangement (with discount to members) with an insurer www.aaduki.com/

SWWP also has an interesting page at https://swpp.co.uk/insurance/pi_pl_important.htm

 

I am sure that In Focus and aduki would be happy to look at the Alamy contract and maybe quote, and there are several other insurers out there (Google: photographer professional indemnity insurance uk), but it is important that the specific Alamy risks are quoted for.

 

Thank you Graham for your detailed and considered response. It has given me much to chew over. While I don't know yet what I will do with my Alamy portfolio, I do hope to continue with my video portfolios elsewhere, and so indemnity insurance will still have relevance to me there. Having looked at other agency contracts more carefully now, there is certainly a degree of jeopardy for the unwary contributor, but it seems nothing as onerous as what Alamy are dumping on us. 

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On 24/05/2021 at 11:26, Mr Standfast said:

 

 

I have sent details of clause 5.1 to an indemnity provider and am waiting for a reply. 

 

As mentioned, I was contacting Indemnity providers try to gwt cover.

 

So far two companies have replied. Ripe and Directline. Both have discussed 5.1 with their underwriters who have declined to cover the clause.

 

I am awaiting a third reply.

 

I have a dim memory of a case where the legality of forcing a clause on a third party that could not be offset with insurance went to court.   Lets see where it goes.

 

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Mr Standfast said:

 

As mentioned, I was contacting Indemnity providers try to gwt cover.

 

So far two companies have replied. Ripe and Directline. Both have discussed 5.1 with their underwriters who have declined to cover the clause.

 

I am awaiting a third reply.

 

I have a dim memory of a case where the legality of forcing a clause on a third party that could not be offset with insurance went to court.   Lets see where it goes.

 

 

 

 

This does not bode well. If insurers won't touch it with a barge pole, what hope has the ordinary contributor?

 

And although it's not my problem, I do harbour a scintilla of concern for the thousands of small Alamy contributors who scarecly glanced at the Contributor FAQ's before signing up, let alone reading and understanding the contract. How many of them are at risk of losing who knows what if our worst fears about liability come to pass under this new contract? 

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58 minutes ago, Mr Standfast said:

 

As mentioned, I was contacting Indemnity providers try to gwt cover.

 

So far two companies have replied. Ripe and Directline. Both have discussed 5.1 with their underwriters who have declined to cover the clause.

 

I am awaiting a third reply.

 

I have a dim memory of a case where the legality of forcing a clause on a third party that could not be offset with insurance went to court.   Lets see where it goes.

 

 

 

Thanks for checking with them! To be honest, I wouldn't have expected them to cover that clause. Doesn't look good then. 

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, imageplotter said:

Thanks for checking with them! To be honest, I wouldn't have expected them to cover that clause. Doesn't look good then. 

If actual underwriters won't touch it, it does rather suggest that our pessimistic interpretation is correct.

Edited by spacecadet
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1 hour ago, Mr Standfast said:

 

As mentioned, I was contacting Indemnity providers try to gwt cover.

 

So far two companies have replied. Ripe and Directline. Both have discussed 5.1 with their underwriters who have declined to cover the clause.

 

I am awaiting a third reply.

 

I have a dim memory of a case where the legality of forcing a clause on a third party that could not be offset with insurance went to court.   Lets see where it goes.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the update. I wonder if the clause would have as much clout in North America. Perhaps insurers over here wouldn't be as reluctant. Only one way to find out I guess...

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