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Important Update - Alamy Contributor Contract


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39 minutes ago, Celluloid Hero said:

So, am I to understand that there is zero benefit to an Alamy Contributor on Gold to mark their images as exclusive to Alamy

That would be my interpretation of it now.   The "benefit" as they would describe it is that by marking your images as exclusive they will then chase any copyright infringements on your behalf.

 

However if you have made a genuine mistake then they will recoup any fees that they incur chasing it.

 

I for one will be contacting customer services tomorrow to ask for all of my exclusive images to be changed to non-exclusive.

 

Can't think how I managed to miss the previous change.

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24 minutes ago, Nick Hatton said:

Could anyone tell me, if I make a direct sale to a calendar company is this counted as a personal sale? all my images are marked exclusive but I do submit to a calendar company.   

 

 

My interpretation is that this is a direct personal sale - as long as the image is not not a rival sales platform to Alamy - and as far as Alamy is concerned is Exclusive. 

Edited by geogphotos
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33 minutes ago, Dave C said:

That would be my interpretation of it now.   The "benefit" as they would describe it is that by marking your images as exclusive they will then chase any copyright infringements on your behalf.

 

However if you have made a genuine mistake then they will recoup any fees that they incur chasing it.

 

I for one will be contacting customer services tomorrow to ask for all of my exclusive images to be changed to non-exclusive.

 

Can't think how I managed to miss the previous change.

 

All my images are non-exclusive ( even those that are actually exclusive). Even so Alamy still keeps quite a large measure of control over infringements:

 

1) there is a contractual obligation to check with Alamy before starting any infringement proceedings

2) Alamy has the right to chase infringements at their discretion even for non-ex images

3) you have to wait and get permission to chase any infringements yourself - when they have decided not to

 

I have an example at the moment where I emailed to ask for licence/download information, was not given any information, but then told that Alamy were taking it on themselves. That was at the end of January. The image is still on the user's site. I have been told that Alamy has made contact with them to request resolution. I have reminded Alamy that I simply asked for information and cannot rule out that the image has come from another agency. I have been reassured that they are aware of this and that I will not be charged if that turns out to be the situation.

 

So, going non-exclusive does not necessarily provide all the freedom you might expect. 

 

One aspect of this that concerns me is that Alamy may feel more inclined to look after their customer than me!

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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1 hour ago, Celluloid Hero said:

So, am I to understand that there is zero benefit to an Alamy Contributor on Gold to mark their images as exclusive to Alamy

 

Correct, it's been like that since the last contract change. Just the infringement process is supposed to be easier/ 'better'

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6 hours ago, Dave C said:

Must have missed that one.  How does one find out how qualifying applies, Is the limit for gold/platinum applied on earnings or sales? 

 

You sure did, there were pages and pages on the Forum when this last change happened. It's gross sales figure per year.

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6 hours ago, Kay said:

@Alamy Re Clause 2.10. "if the Content has been found to be licensed through another licensing platform (and the Content is therefore not Exclusive to Alamy), Alamy will recoup any fees incurred in relation to the pursuit of any action taken, including legal admin fees."

 

Could you please clarify exactly how this sits with images that used to be licensed on other stock sites but have since been removed and are now exclusive to Alamy.  

Does 'exclusive to alamy' mean it has only ever been available for license through alamy or, since ticking the 'exclusive to alamy' box? 

It appears Alamy are trying to broaden their definition of exclusive. In the past it has been stated that "Exclusive to Alamy" means that the image is currently only available for licensing via Alamy. But now Alamy are effectively saying don't mark in image as Exclusive to Alamy unless the image is only currently available for licensing via Alamy and has never been available for licensing elsewhere previously.

 

It's not a problem for me so I'll probably leave my Alamy exclusive images as exclusive because the infringement revenue (from images where Alamy has found the infringements) is starting to become significant (assuming the invoices they have raised actually clear!)

 

Mark

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Am I understanding the exclusive bit right – if I'm exclusive Alamy might chase up people who use the images without paying, at no charge to me, but if I claim to be exclusive but also have the images on other stock libraries and they chase up people using the images then they might charge me for doing that?

I don't have my pictures on any other stock libraries, but might use some myself in a variety of ways (including what might be considered commercial) Is it still OK to say I'm exclusive?

 

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5 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

All my images are non-exclusive ( even those that are actually exclusive). Even so Alamy still keeps quite a large measure of control over infringements:

 

1) there is a contractual obligation to check with Alamy before starting any infringement proceedings

2) Alamy has the right to chase infringements at their discretion even for non-ex images

3) you have to wait and get permission to chase any infringements yourself - when they have decided not to

 

I have an example at the moment where I emailed to ask for licence/download information, was not given any information, but then told that Alamy were taking it on themselves. That was at the end of January. The image is still on the user's site. I have been told that Alamy has made contact with them to request resolution. I have reminded Alamy that I simply asked for information and cannot rule out that the image has come from another agency. I have been reassured that they are aware of this and that I will not be charged if that turns out to be the situation.

 

So, going non-exclusive does not necessarily provide all the freedom you might expect. 

 

One aspect of this that concerns me is that Alamy may feel more inclined to look after their customer than me!

 

 

I always check with Alamy first that they don’t have a relevant download or license for an image used. Sometimes I get a reply that they’ve passed it onto their infringements team without asking me if I want them to pursue it. Other times they tell me to fill out the form if I wish to. Sometimes I get Copytrack to chase if Alamy haven’t taken it on. I fear that, since these cases can drag on for several years, there may be a situation in which Alamy decides to pursue something without telling me when is already being pursued either by Copytrack or by myself. I foresee an attempt to make it very difficult for us to chase infringements ourselves or through a 3rd party.

 

Edited by Sally
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12 hours ago, Kay said:

@Alamy Re Clause 2.10. "if the Content has been found to be licensed through another licensing platform (and the Content is therefore not Exclusive to Alamy), Alamy will recoup any fees incurred in relation to the pursuit of any action taken, including legal admin fees."

 

Could you please clarify exactly how this sits with images that used to be licensed on other stock sites but have since been removed and are now exclusive to Alamy.  

Does 'exclusive to alamy' mean it has only ever been available for license through alamy or, since ticking the 'exclusive to alamy' box? 

 

Always interesting over the years to see changes to clauses, particularly ones where someone tweaks a previous clause (s) yet sometimes ambiguity (for legal reasons I am using that term) remains or is created (in my eyes anyway)

 

Kay's comment above;

The simplest and safest approach for us all (including Alamy) would have been "Exclusive - only available via Alamy - now or in the past" (and then add in the personal website and print sales exceptions)

 

But here's the definition of "Exclusive" in the contract - may have been clearer if the text I entered in red was added (it could be shortened further still);

Mixing past and present - as is written - in the official contract definition doesn't help.

 

"Exclusive"
means any item of Content that you have only made available to Alamy which is not also available and was never available  via any third party licensing, sales or distribution channel, including without limitation via any other stock agency or image site, but excluding the Contributor’s personal website and print sales.

 

8 hours ago, Nick Hatton said:

Could anyone tell me, if I make a direct sale to a calendar company is this counted as a personal sale? all my images are marked exclusive but I do submit to a calendar company.   

 

Two responses below from spacecadet and geogphotos to Nick's post; 

Initially I took a different view from spacecadet  - I leaned then towards geogphotos but when I look at the clause above under "Exclusive"  - the term "Contributor's personal website and print sales" is..well... open to interpretation.

It could be "print sales" not via your website or "print sales through your website" for openers

Maybe "personal website" could be changed to "contributor's own website" for starters too because many contributors may sell from their own site and those could be to corporate entities rather than individuals.

 

In Nick's case he says he "submits"  to a calendar company  - to me a print sale would be one where the purchaser came to me for a print. A website sales would come (off one's own website) from a purchaser - not by submitting images somewhere

 

8 hours ago, spacecadet said:

Certainly not IMO. You would need to mark those images as non-exclusive. There's no longer any incentive to go exclusive anyway.

As I interpret it, "Personal" means a print sale to a private individual. Alamy could easily find one of your calendar images on the publisher's website and you'd be in the doghouse with them.

 

7 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

 

My interpretation is that this is a direct personal sale - as long as the image is not not a rival sales platform to Alamy - and as far as Alamy is concerned is Exclusive. 

 

 

So what next?

well it's late, it's another typical new Alamy Contract puzzle with the usual angst and confusion so hopefully Alamy will as they have done read the posts, identify the issues, take appropriate advice and not only help us by posting here but changing the wording as needs be.

 

On the AI and Novel use - if I am right Alamy isn't going to make AI content available at this stage pending investigation, representation etc - fair enough.

But it is happy to make images available from those who remain in Novel use for machine learning purposes at an unknown level of "remuneration" (my own word to avoid confusion with commission because there is no level of that applicable).

So concerns over copyright of images used in AI on the one hand and making images available on the other - I understand both sides of the see-saw - the genie is well and truly out of the bottle on AI or whatever term you use.

 

Sally - good luck with your query!

 

Today or tomorrow is another day - we await clarity from Alamy in due course. 

    

Edited by Nodvandigtid
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7 hours ago, Sally said:

I always check with Alamy first that they don’t have a relevant download or license for an image used. Sometimes I get a reply that they’ve passed it onto their infringements team without asking me if I want them to pursue it. Other times they tell me to fill out the form if I wish to. Sometimes I get Copytrack to chase if Alamy haven’t taken it on. I fear that, since these cases can drag on for several years, there may be a situation in which Alamy decides to pursue something without telling me when is already being pursued either by Copytrack or by myself. I foresee an attempt to make it very difficult for us to chase infringements ourselves or through a 3rd party.

 

 

I have had the same experiences and it also worries me that Alamy seem to be squeezing this to their advantage. I understand that I must always check with Alamy every time I suspect a copyright infringement ( unless the infringement has the watermark of another agency across it) but have also been frustrated that instead of getting a straightforward answer about whether there is any download/licence history that has not been reported the request gets diverted to the infringement team. Then it can get lost or delayed or forgotten about. When I send a follow up email I am told that they are very busy, that things take time etc

 

To my mind the whole system needs to be more organised and efficient with Case numbers given and regular updates on progess that the contributor can log in and view somewhere in the Alamy system.

 

At the very least I would like Customer Services to promptly inform me of the simple facts about whether the image had been downloaded or licensed through Alamy - then if not I can go and ask other agencies.( All my images are non-Ex)

 

Also, why does Alamy need to actually know who the suspected infringer is? Since they will not tell me the name of any client using my images why do they insist that I tell them them who the potential infringer is? All I need to know is if there is anything in the system for a particular image. 

Edited by geogphotos
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2 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

I have had the same experiences and it also worries me that Alamy seem to be squeezing this to their advantage. I understand that I must always check with Alamy every time I suspect a copyright infringement ( unless the infringement has the watermark of another agency across it) but have also been frustrated that instead of getting a straightforward answer about whether there is any download/licence history that has not been reported the request gets diverted to the infringement team. Then it can get lost or delayed or forgotten about. When I send a follow up email I am told that they are very busy, that things take time etc

 

To my mind the whole system needs to be more organised and efficient with Case numbers given and regular updates on progess that the contributor can log in and view somewhere in the Alamy system.

 

At the very least I would like Customer Services to promptly inform me of the simple facts about whether the image had been downloaded or licensed through Alamy - then if not I can go and ask other agencies.( All my images are non-Ex)

 

Also, why does Alamy need to actually know who the suspected infringer is? Since they will not tell me the name of any client using my images why do they insist that I tell them them who the potential infringer is? All I need to know is if there is anything in the system for a particular image. 

I absolutely agree with you about the need for a system to keep track of these issues. I have to keep flags on every email I’ve sent and periodically review them, chase again, deflag when the issue is resolved etc. It is very tiresome and inefficient.

Edited by Sally
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On 09/05/2023 at 11:08, geogphotos said:

Though it doesn't affect me in a practical sense there is the situation where an Alamy contributor can't contact a customer without Alamy's permission. But Alamy can contact a contributor's customer without having to ask first.

 

Why not first of all contact the contributor to find out if there is a direct licence in place?

I completely agree.

In my case I have submitted library images that are taken from commerical shoots with clients. These are either jobs that I have given a discount to the client (usually because they haven't the full budget for me) on the understanding that the images will be put with libraries complete with model and property releases or the period of use has expired and the images can then be submitted.

The last thing I want is a client being chased. All it would take is a quick contact to the contributor to see if there is a licence in place first. It is the main reason that I became 'non exclusive' to Alamy. Also with the lowering of the commission rate from 50% to 40% there is absolutely no incentive to be exclusive anyway and it is now financially prudent to seek other revenue streams from these images to make up the shortfall.

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21 hours ago, Have Camera Will Travel said:

 

I'm sure you're correct on the policy, but the confusion isn't all on our end. This is a screenshot taken directly from the Alamy Image Manager this morning (Gold account). 


Alamy-Exclusive.jpg

Can Alamy please give us a definitive answer to this please! Many Gold members went non exclusive because we were told that the comission was 40% regardless.

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21 hours ago, Have Camera Will Travel said:

 

I'm sure you're correct on the policy, but the confusion isn't all on our end. This is a screenshot taken directly from the Alamy Image Manager this morning (Gold account). 


Alamy-Exclusive.jpg

 

Apologies for the confusion the above hover-over text has caused - this is incorrect and old text. The 50% exclusivity applies to platinum accounts only. We will update it.

 

8 hours ago, geogphotos said:

Also, why does Alamy need to actually know who the suspected infringer is?

 

Because we need to know if there is a sale in our system awaiting to be processed. 

 

More generally on the subject of exclusivity, when we find a potential image infringer, the initial communication they receive from us is very light touch, and asks the questions:

 

- Did you receive this image direct from the photographer?

 

If so we immediately close the case with no further action. 

 

- Did you licence this image from another stock site?

 

If the answer is yes and the image is still available on that other stock site OR if the answer is yes and we can see the image was marked as exclusive to Alamy when it was sourced from the other stock site then we will have the ability to recoup our lost costs involved in opening up the initial investigation. If the image was formally on a stock site but is no longer so, and the image was not marked as exclusive to us when it was on that site, then we drop the case with no further action.

 

For images exclusive to Alamy, we work with 6 infringement partners who are identifying images that are without licence globally. This operation is all about obtaining the fees that both Alamy and our contributors are owed. It's a strongly growing area of our business, with us paying out 100s of thousands of royalties to exclusive contributors continually throughout the year. 

 

On occasions where we are alerted to - or find through our usual processes for exclusive images - infringements of images that are NOT exclusive to Alamy, then we will only pursue when we have strong reason to believe the image was sourced from Alamy, e.g an image being used that has an Alamy watermark.

 

For any other questions, please feel free to email contributors@alamy.com who will be happy to help.

 

Thanks

 

Alamy

 

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35 minutes ago, Alamy said:

 

Apologies for the confusion the above hover-over text has caused - this is incorrect and old text. The 50% exclusivity applies to platinum accounts only. We will update it.

 

 

Because we need to know if there is a sale in our system awaiting to be processed. 

 

Alamy

 

 

But you know that from the image ref. 

 

I am referring to this sitiuation for non-exclusive images:

 

Q) Is there any download or licence for this image?

A) You need to provide a link to the potential infringement

Q) I just want to know if the image has any history or record in your system

A) We cannot provide that information unless you provide a link to show the image in use

 

Why can't you say:

 

'Yes, there is a download, show us the link and we will confirm if this is the legitimate user or not'

OR

'No, there is no download or sale in our system, you need to check other sources'

 

Why do you need to know who the user is if you do not have any record of a sale or download and if I want to pursue the infringement myself without Alamy jumping in and  taking it on when it could very well have come from another agency?

 

 

As Sally has also found this can get passed to the Infringement team and taken out of the contributor's control. 

 

 

 

Edited by geogphotos
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I was sent this yesterday and I have asked where it is in my contract that Alamy has the right to take on infringements for images that are non-exclusive and could very well have come from other sources that are nothing to do with Alamy. ie) my website, my blog, Flickr, other agencies

 

1) Why should Alamy effectively have first rights to any and all infringements of my images? 

 

2) What if another agency also demands this?

 

3) What if the copyright tracking company also demands this?

 

"We proactively look for infringements on exclusive images only (as we need to ensure we get as many uses paid for our contributors as possible), but on non-exclusive images we still reserve the right to go after infringements as part of our contract with you.
 
You are obligated to tell Alamy about any infringements that you find so that we can elect to chase them."
Edited by geogphotos
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1 hour ago, geogphotos said:

 

But you know that from the image ref. 

 

I am referring to this sitiuation for non-exclusive images:

 

Q) Is there any download or licence for this image?

A) You need to provide a link to the potential infringement

Q) I just want to know if the image has any history or record in your system

A) We cannot provide that information unless you provide a link to show the image in use

 

Why can't you say:

 

'Yes, there is a download, show us the link and we will confirm if this is the legitimate user or not'

OR

'No, there is no download or sale in our system, you need to check other sources'

 

Why do you need to know who the user is if you do not have any record of a sale or download and if I want to pursue the infringement myself without Alamy jumping in and  taking it on when it could very well have come from another agency?

 

 

As Sally has also found this can get passed to the Infringement team and taken out of the contributor's control. 

 

 

 

Alamys response above makes it clear my calendar shots are fine   

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Curiously - the new contract doesn’t appear to explicitly state that contributors aren’t allowed to submit AI generated imagery (although it could perhaps be inferred from Clause 4.1.4 as there's still debate as to whether AI Generated images may contain recognisable copyrighted content from the images used for "training"). Following Alamy's recent forum posting I’d expected them to put an explicit clause in the new contract about AI generated imagery - otherwise, it relies on contributors finding and reading their forum posting. Hardly a reliable route.

 

Mark

 
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15 minutes ago, M.Chapman said:

 

Curiously - the new contract doesn’t appear to explicitly state that contributors aren’t allowed to submit AI generated imagery (although it could perhaps be inferred from Clause 4.1.4 as there's still debate as to whether AI Generated images may contain recognisable copyrighted content from the images used for "training"). Following Alamy's recent forum posting I’d expected them to put an explicit clause in the new contract about AI generated imagery - otherwise, it relies on contributors finding and reading their forum posting. Hardly a reliable route.

 

Mark

 

 

Perhaps an Alamy fudge?

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On 09/05/2023 at 08:49, geogphotos said:

This is a new clause. Can anybody explain what it means?

 

4.3.2. the right to preview and have access to the Content, where Alamy offers license models through an Application Program Interface (API), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), or any other means, that will make the Content available for use by Alamy's Customers on a high-volume basis.

 

I've never understood what "API" means. Apart from that, the clause is a grammatical disaster -- i.e. it's incomprehensible. 

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4 hours ago, sooth said:

api is another way of saying a raw feed of information in this case, the alamy database. somebody (alamy, and/or a third party) builds an app to download the feed and make it pleasant for the end user. 

 

Thanks. That makes sense. I've seen embeddable code for API on other websites, but I was never sure what the purpose was.

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6 hours ago, sooth said:

api is another way of saying a raw feed of information in this case, the alamy database. somebody (alamy, and/or a third party) builds an app to download the feed and make it pleasant for the end user. 

 

Sorry for being dense but I still don't really understand this. Could you perhaps link to a website or App where this is in operation? 

 

What does the viewer want the images for, is it to licence them, browse through them, what is their purpose?

 

If our images are in this 'feed' does it open them to people copying them without getting a licence?

 

When they 'download the feed' what do they do with all those images?

Edited by geogphotos
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3 hours ago, geogphotos said:

 

Sorry for being dense but I still don't really understand this. Could you perhaps link to a website or App where this is in operation? 

 

What does the viewer want the images for, is it to licence them, browse through them, what is their purpose?

 

If our images are in this 'feed' does it open them to people copying them without getting a licence?

 

When they 'download the feed' what do they do with all those images?

It's not really a feed as such but an interface layer that can be called to access various functionality on the Alamy system, search for images etc that Alamy can provide to 'special' customers.

If Alamy have organised their system then the web interface we all use will call the API to access the data within the Alamy system rather than use complicated database queries.

Also this API can be restricted to only allow certain behaviour, therefore all images viewed would still have (hopefully!) watermarks.

I would imagine large customers have their own software which can then use the Alamy API to view data rather than go through the web interface which could be slow.

For example they may have software that displays the final page layout on one side and on the other a panel that shows all images from Alamy which they can scroll through to see which fits best maybe with license information underneath rather than having to click on an image like the web interface does. (Obviously this is probably not what happens just a bizarre idea from off the top of my head :) )

 

Edit: Also what sooth said :)

Edited by Martin L
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