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Image used by the Times but not appearing in sales and not paid for one year!


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On January 19th 2013 during the blizzards, I had a Railway image live news shot D2ANED used in The Times. It still appears in the google search for Orient Express. To date - one year later, and despite having had many communications with MS and Live News about this image, there is no record of this image being used on my account, and I nor Alamy have not been paid. I have regularly asked for this issue to be taken up, and am always assured that the sale will appear. But one year later, still nothing? My question is, why is it that the mechanism that Alamy has for images to be used and purchased is not sufficiently robust to ensure that mainstream newspapers like the Times, can use an image within hours of it being posted, but then take over a year - if at all -  to be recorded and paid for. My last communication about this was to Live News and MS in the middle of December 2013 and I have not yet had a reply. Are there any other forum members out there having this sort of trouble?

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In a word, yes.

 

Not quite as bad but I had one used in The Times via the Live News feed in July.

 

I was alerted to the use by a mate and received an email from Alamy with congratulations. I wrote to MS three months later and they responded saying they were chasing payment. I wrote again in December but haven't yet had a reply.

 

Another agency I joined in October has already sent 4 sales sheets letting me know usages and 3 remittance advices with payments.

 

It's a no-brainer to decide where my live news pictures go to now.

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Alamy's buyer contract reserves copyright until the fee is paid. Perhaps it's time someone sued for infringement over one of these long-overdue payment. Just the threat might get a cheque.

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I have chased (and collected on) cases where Alamy will/can not. FWIW.

 

Have pretty much gotten used to the canned response when emailing MS about such cases. If I have to do the legwork, I get to decide the fees. No NS prices for infringers.

 

-Jason

 

edit: just to clarify, I am not talking about live news sales, but would handle it similarly!

Edited by Reciprocity Images
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As I said, this is in cases where Alamy for whatever reason does nothing. After going back and forth with MS for months, I will eventually arrive at the same point as the OP- No further response from MS. That's when I figure it's up to me.

 

The Alamy contract gives buyers a certain timeframe to pay- As far as I am concerned, waiting beyond that is just being generous. As you mentioned, the license is not valid until payment of invoice; this IS infringement if it goes long enough.

 

-Jason

 

 

16. Breaches of Licences and Defaults by Customers

16.1 You recognise that Alamy shall have no obligation to conduct any verification or check of the character, standing or financial position of any Customer.
16.2 Each party shall promptly inform the other of any actual or suspected infringement of copyright, loss of Images, breach of moral rights or other matter giving rise to threat of proceedings or claims or demands in respect of any of the Images. In the event of any alleged breach of any Licence by a Customer or any other infringement of intellectual property or other rights in an Image, Alamy may either take action itself against the Customer or alternatively inform you that it will not be taking action and you may then do so at your option.

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Yes, I had a look at that and it seems to cover it.

There's also a clause about not contacting a customer 'for any reason' but it can't be meant to prevent you from exercising your rights under law.

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I had a call from Alamy about it this afternoon. Apparently there is a large backlog of unreported uses at The Times (no wonder if they go back a whole year!!) but they are working on them to clear it and get them paid.

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One year is still inexcusable in my opinion.  Perhaps one should pop into a newsagent and pick up a copy of The Times and suggest to them that you will pay for it when you feel like it, say twelve months time, as you have so many other items to pay for and will get around to it some time soon.  I have never understood this slack attitude of newspapers who demand instant images but then have group memory loss about actually paying for them.  A shake up from Alamy management is long overdue.  

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From the discussion on here there are many instances where our images are being used and not paid for simply because nobody notices. This is certainly a problem when it comes to the subscription news services because searches don't show these up.

 

I have an image use in the Times via Alamy Live News going back to March last year D50J2B and have had several conversations/emails with Alamy over this and like you am still waiting for it to appear in my sales.

 

This is not the first time for me either and I haven't kicked up too much for fear of being boycotted by the newspapers.  On the other hand I am now heading for partial/early retirement so who cares.

 

Anyway perhaps Alamy is not that bothered by a few individual photographers losing out in order to keep the newspapers onside.  It certainly feels like that from a photographer's perspective when there are so many instances that's for sure. 

 

Alamy if you are genuinely bothered about photographers losing out under the current system, how about foregoing ALL commission on any newspaper licenses that fail to appear in our sales reports within the 3 month reporting time.

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I've just had a similar response for a six month delay on a Daily Mail sale. They are awaiting a usage report from the user and of course are trying to resolve it as soon as possible.

 

Seems that the newspapers cans set their own painfully low payment terms, and then decide on how long they will take to pay if at all.

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If libraries had to make payment up front (as soon as a usage was reported or spotted) for content then libraries would be a lot more rigorous about chasing debts. Alamy is not the worst by any means, there are others, including big ones, that are as bad or worse.

I seriosuly believe that many agencies are potentially in serious breach of a duty of care to their contributors. Failures to report usage, chase late payers, pursue copyright infringements, failure to prevent image theft etc. I think many would be at serious risk if contributors were in a position to pursue remedies for what probably constitutes a tort. The fact that Getty aggressively chases copyright abuse and many contributors have themselves collected on copyright theft would suggest to a court that many libraries are not taking all reasonable steps to protect contributors.

Edited by Martin P Wilson
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I would have thought that Alamy is able to monitor which images are downloaded by the various newspapers. Surely Alamy should be able to monitor these images on our behalf and police the process. This seems to be an ever increasing problem.

 

dov

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I had a Times failure to pay on a second use some months after the original illustrating a different story. Back and forth with MS being told that the Times had not replied to their e mails. I could not understand why alamy didn't just invoice them. Anyway a year later I told alamy I was going to go after the times myself and I wanted copies of all correspondence between them and the times regarding this image to back me up and lo and behold I got paid

 

Shame I couldn't invoice for my time in going back and forth with alamy.

 

As for the Daily mail........ don't even go there, I have loads and loads of examples, the latest being that alamy are behind with the daily mail invoices . I have some 6 months old not paid yet had a 3 month old one get paid. Go figure

 

Kevin

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Hi all - many thanks to all who have contributed to this topic. Its all too easy for me to sit out there taking photographs on my own and to not realise that there are MANY other photographers who may be in the same 'non-payment' boat! So, its great to hear all your comments! Thank you. OK, so it seems that there are many instances of Alamy allowing an image to be used, but then not having in place a robust enough mechanism for tracking and obtaining payment. Good news I got an apologetic call from MS today - and they tell me that my sale of one year ago is in fact 'going through in the next two weeks'. Which is good news.... I think. I did press MS about all of your comments - and they say they are sorting them all out. However, I note, CandyApple Images (post above) that MS did 'not know of any issue with the Daily Mail'. Interesting. Personally, I think it would be best if we all contacted MS individually again about our image misuse(s). I had a couple of LiveNews news sales last week through ALN, and they have already appeared on my account. So maybe things are on the up.

 

Here is the link to last year's image if anyone is interested. Its on the Times archive site....

 

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/multimedia/archive/00375/120149316_train_375471b.jpg

 

You know guys, I suspect that like many of us, I run a small photographic business, nothing special - freelance stuff, all bread and butter, but I have in place a personal system that ensures payment electronically before any image from my site is downloaded or sold. Its not rocket science. And the irony is that if any of us want to see my (thus far misused)  image in the Times today? We would have to pay the Times by credit card - electronically - right away - a quid or so for the privilege. So, as I have not yet heard from the Alamy CEO after twice asking in writing, I ask Alamy again, "why is it that the mechanism that Alamy has for images to be used and purchased is not sufficiently robust to ensure that mainstream newspapers like the Times, can use an image within hours of it being posted, but then take over a year - if at all -  to be recorded and paid for"  Surely this is something that James West would like to improve?

 

Regards all, Lindsay

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Kevin, you could initiate an action through the small claims court (new intellectual property track)- that might wake them up. I don't know whether you could make both Alamy and the Daily Mail jointly and severally responsible on the same claim.

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Newspapers not paying us via the self billing mechanism is also a way of them avoiding paying VAT to HMRC.

 

Maybe all VAT registered photographers should drop a wee note to the VATman about uses not paid for?

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Just by coincidence I have also been contacted by Alamy this morning and will get paid for the Times use soon. 

 

While we are on the subject of payment I am still waiting for payment for a Greek magazine front cover from November 2010 - beat that.  There are times when I really do wonder if it is worth the effort.

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There are times when I really do wonder if it is worth the effort.

 

It's not about the cost, it's a matter of principle: image sold > pay the photographer.

 

Cheers,

Philippe

 

 

Not sure what you are getting at Philippe, I never mentioned cost at all.  Perhaps a language misunderstanding or my failure to make it clear?  By effort I mean effort to create and upload imagery, NOT effort to recover the payment.

 

Photography is not a hobby or second income for me so image sold > pay the photographer is all I care about when dealing with Alamy even if it only provides a small part of income.

 

Hope that clarifies it :-)

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another problem with these very late payments is that you get paid the going rate rather than rate when it was used. My times image was licenced for $91 in 2011. They used it again a couple of months later and then when I eventually got paid 2 years later I got $31 when it should have been at the 2011 rate. This also happened with the daily mail. In 2011 I got paid $30 but it was used in 2009 when the mail was paying about $80. Still I guess it was lucky I got paid then and not waited until now for $6

 

Kevin

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