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David Kilpatrick

Would a paywall have made the Getty move acceptable?

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Let's supposed Getty, instead of just opening 35m images to all and sundry, had imposed a small paywall - even something as minimal as a $10 fee to register for access, or maybe a $10 a year subscription for renewed annual access to the entire lot.

 

Given the size of the market they claim, this would have produced a decent income to share between all those with images placed in the free scheme.

 

Would a very low cost paywall have been acceptable where an outright free-for-all probably is not? If so, why didn't they do this? The paywall also gathers user information.

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Being G, that would probably mean $8 for them and $2 for contributors (or something equally unfair). No?

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Let's supposed Getty, instead of just opening 35m images to all and sundry, had imposed a small paywall - even something as minimal as a $10 fee to register for access, or maybe a $10 a year subscription for renewed annual access to the entire lot.

 

Given the size of the market they claim, this would have produced a decent income to share between all those with images placed in the free scheme.

 

Would a very low cost paywall have been acceptable where an outright free-for-all probably is not? If so, why didn't they do this? The paywall also gathers user information.

I was with an agency that was later acquired by Getty a few years after I left. They allowed the general public to subscribe for $5 a month and download,'all they can eat.' What did the photogs get from this money wise? NOTHING! I left that agency MANY years ago and to this day I find tons of infringers that downloaded and resold my work on CD's,print sales,merchandise and numerous websites. I took one infringer to court and that agency could not provide me if the infringer had downloaded or paid for a subscription. Other agencies in that genre that have these subscription sales,the photographer gets screwed.I'll say no more....  L

Edited by Linda

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If I were a G contributor, what I would find truly unacceptable is that photographers are not able to opt of this deal, especially given the very large cuts that G takes. Kudos to Alamy for giving us the ability to opt in or out of most schemes, etc.

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If I were a G contributor, what I would find truly unacceptable is that photographers are not able to opt of this deal, especially given the very large cuts that G takes. Kudos to Alamy for giving us the ability to opt in or out of most schemes, etc.

I agree. Many of us,myself included would not be in a good place if our photos were suddenly free everywhere....

 

L

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Paywalls and advertising models don't sit happily together - the latter strategy simply seeks to maximise the potential audience with minimal constraints.

 

As for cropping out the credit line you have to ask why it would be worth anyone's while to do this? Assuming it's in breach of Getty's terms & conditions it just exposes them to prosecution for little gain. The deliberate removal of a copyright notice constitutes the criminal offence of "copyright theft" in the UK. The lack of any visible watermarking sets an alarming precedent however.

Edited by hotbrightsky

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On that particular site I managed it within two seconds. 

 

177611353.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFB

 

*Disclaimer

 

That's the original link to the original image. I didn't copy it. I could have, no problem. Just to make that clear to the mods. 

 

*Disclaimer

 

PP made it more difficult than it needed to be. Don't need to resize the embed. Just dive right into the webserver files and copy the URL. Most blog sites have open source code so you can see the root JPG file on the server. Classier sites like photo sites hide these JPG files. 

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I suspect that as Getty's tactics have more to do with data mining than selling licences then they prefer to have no restrictions that might turn away data sources

 

Tony Collins

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"Being G, that would probably mean $8 for them and $2 for contributors (or something equally unfair). No?"

 

As much as $2!? No, the whole business has now degenerated into big giveaway. I'm lucky to be only on the very fringes of it as my photographic work is related to other things. All sections of the creative media are suffering. David K pointed out the tribulations of the paper publishing industry, the music business has been hit, reputable, successful authors are seeing their advances much reduced. We are all attempting to make our way both creatively and financially in a world and society that, with the digital world being swamped with output, now thinks that it is all cheap and easy.

 

In the eighties I was part of a committee that helped reform the then copyright cat that discriminated against photographers. Things have changed dramatically since then and we need firmer legislation but photographers must do their bit too as hard as it might be to withdraw services and images from such sites. 

 

There was much huffing and puffing when Alamy reduced its share to photographers, how many left? How many, do you think will withdraw from Getty? I know it's easy for me to say because stock is a miniscule part of my output but I have always been very firm about retaining my rights. In the days when certain clients demanded the negatives and / or the copyright I always refused. Others complied saying "but we have no choice". I'm still here, many of those are not. I'm passionate about retaining our rights and getting a fair deal, but we all have to have that passion and not give way.

 

Onwards comrades. 

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Being G, that would probably mean $8 for them and $2 for contributors (or something equally unfair). No?

Actually photographers can probably expect as low as a penny per two...maybe

Web site valuations are actually determined by how many hits a site gets.Some clicks on sites are valued more,some less.Most are less.

This will be like subscription sales but probably less money after G takes their cut.

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Could this decision have been in part by their biz relationship with Google?

I would not be surprised seeing that most blogs use Google's Blogger software.

 

Google probably said,'what's the point of you sending us all the SMCA take down notices when we're in agreement to use your photos on the Google platform.

 

L

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On that particular site I managed it within two seconds. 

 

177611353.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFB

 

*Disclaimer

 

That's the original link to the original image. I didn't copy it. I could have, no problem. Just to make that clear to the mods. 

 

*Disclaimer

 

PP made it more difficult than it needed to be. Don't need to resize the embed. Just dive right into the webserver files and copy the URL. Most blog sites have open source code so you can see the root JPG file on the server. Classier sites like photo sites hide these JPG files. 

 

Awesome. Have you though of offering online tutorials? Your skills could be in big demand soon.

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Dyn Llun - you make some excellent points. I never considered leaving when Alamy reduced the share to us contributors - because the way it was sold by Alamy was that money would be spent expanding and improving the business for the long term etc. And I felt that was a prudent and sensible way forward as I was also looking at the long term. Asked to make the decision today - I would probably leave - personally think the period since the reduction has been very disappointing. For example - would you criticise someone working for you for wanting their money 6 months after they had provided the goods/service? For as long as it is considered O.K. to ask a photographer to wait many many months for a small fee - things will not get better. 

 

Stock agencies need a new licensing model (its been often said) - lets hope it doesn't consist of giving away the images! The other interesting point is - silence from Alamy - what is their take on it and where does that leave us all? 

 

Perhaps the way forward is to jump ship to somewhere like Symbiosotck - set your own prices etc and at least be able to respect yourself and maybe even make some money! And before some start squealing thats only micro stock - its not you can do what you want. Am certainly seriously considering it. I DO value my time energy and creativeness (and that of fellow photographers) even if Alamy et al do not.

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the way it was sold by Alamy was that money would be spent expanding and improving the business for the long term etc. 

 

They may have improved their business, but at the expense of ours. Ditto the latest move by Getty no doubt. The "rounding down" principle in the DP post linked above is instructive. These "disruptive" business models are designed solely for the benefit of massive content aggregators - they do not work for individual contributors.

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Hotbrightsky 

 

 

the way it was sold by Alamy was that money would be spent expanding and improving the business for the long term etc. 

 

They may have improved their business, but at the expense of ours. Ditto the latest move by Getty no doubt. The "rounding down" principle in the DP post linked above is instructive. These "disruptive" business models are designed solely for the benefit of massive content aggregators - they do not work for individual contributors.

 

Absolutely agree. When I said improving - I meant I believed they wanted to improve it for ALL involved not just themselves. Sadly that has not been the case. 

What bothers me the most is that this endlessly comes up in topics (way prior to the Getty move) but nothing ever changes. What about Alamy showing some balls and standing firmly behind their individual contributors for once - now that would be progress.

Think of something like the coffee business - within which there was so much bad treatment of small growers/farmers until word got out and various companies started to support "the little guy". Still not perfect but the move to fair or fairer trade has helped many in that business who now make a reasonable living.

I say again - in which business would you be criticised for wanting to be paid many many months after you had delivered the product/service - truly staggering.

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If Getty contributors are so unhappy with this move then why don't they withdraw their images?  If you are unhappy with what your employer/agent/representative is doing for you then withdraw your work.  It's not rocket science …..surely?

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It's not as simple as that.

 

I contribute to Getty but the thought of having to withdraw just over 2000 images and then send them off somewhere else is something I could do without. The only thing I would consider is getting hold of one of my other agents and seeing if they would take them no questions asked.

 

However, I note that AGE is currently not allowing use through the scheme but as far as I can Robert Harding is. How do I know? Just clicked on images of mine that are with RH showing in Getty and the embed feature is there. Tried AGE with someone I know and the link isn't there.

 

What frustrates me further is that neither agency has sent out any communication to its contributors through email asking what we would like to do.

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It's not as simple as that.

 

I contribute to Getty but the thought of having to withdraw just over 2000 images and then send them off somewhere else is something I could do without. The only thing I would consider is getting hold of one of my other agents and seeing if they would take them no questions asked.

 

However, I note that AGE is currently not allowing use through the scheme but as far as I can Robert Harding is. How do I know? Just clicked on images of mine that are with RH showing in Getty and the embed feature is there. Tried AGE with someone I know and the link isn't there.

 

What frustrates me further is that neither agency has sent out any communication to its contributors through email asking what we would like to do.

 

Getty annual revenue approaches $1 billion.  That will need to be a very big walkout to even faintly register on G beancounters' spreadsheets.  So what would be the point?

 

Since, if Paul Melcher is right, part of the strategy is consumer research, then this action will strengthen their grip on the market even more, and research will be fed back to contributors that will enable them to do the same.  Vastly more substantial than the 'Hey you guys, why not try this' spoonfeeds from Alamy.

 

There are, and have been, much more powerful reasons not to be with Getty (except indirectly via their reseller operations).

 

RB

 

(In case you ask:  Getty not only distorts the market, but distorts our very perceptions of what photography is, in a distructive way.  By subbing to indepenedent agencies - that may or may not use G - you at least help to rebalance the marketplace, and possibly support more diverse thinking.)

Edited by Robert Brook

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It's not as simple as that.

 

I contribute to Getty but the thought of having to withdraw just over 2000 images and then send them off somewhere else is something I could do without. The only thing I would consider is getting hold of one of my other agents and seeing if they would take them no questions asked.

 

However, I note that AGE is currently not allowing use through the scheme but as far as I can Robert Harding is. How do I know? Just clicked on images of mine that are with RH showing in Getty and the embed feature is there. Tried AGE with someone I know and the link isn't there.

 

What frustrates me further is that neither agency has sent out any communication to its contributors through email asking what we would like to do.

Age isn't, as yet, participating, though Alfonso has made his personal view clear that he thinks it's a good thing. 

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For me, I keep swinging on both ends. It seems there are good points and then someone comes along with bad points.

 

Really, what is the bottom line. How is it likely to benefit us?

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 What about Alamy showing some balls and standing firmly behind their individual contributors for once - now that would be progress.

Think of something like the coffee business - within which there was so much bad treatment of small growers/farmers until word got out and various companies started to support "the little guy". Still not perfect but the move to fair or fairer trade has helped many in that business who now make a reasonable living.

 

Agreed, David, that would be progress :-) . . . but back to reality:

 

. . . what we need is a "Fair Trade" agency . . . marketing images as "Fair Trade" in terms of cost and returns to photographers . . . something those who license those images can show to the world via a little "We support Fair Trade Photography" tag or sticker or whatever, same as fair trade coffee etc . . . I've certanly heard sillier suggestions . . .

 

dd

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I like the idea of Fair Trade but I suspect in the photo stock market it might be more a case of Fair Retail.

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"Absolutely agree. When I said improving - I meant I believed they wanted to improve it for ALL involved not just themselves. Sadly that has not been the case. 

What bothers me the most is that this endlessly comes up in topics (way prior to the Getty move) but nothing ever changes. What about Alamy showing some balls and standing firmly behind their individual contributors for once - now that would be progress."  DD

 

I see net returns from Getty, Corbis, Rex, some others, plus many agencies on worldwide distribution schemes, and I can tell you that Alamy do a good job of maintaining fair prices, given the limited control over content.  I don't know of any agencies offering more than 50%, and less is becoming the norm, especially if you opt for a  non-exclusive contract. 

 

If they stopped trying to present themselves as the goody true shoes of the business - and the tog's pal - it would be easier to see that they are a decent company doing their best in a hard world and making money for both togs with talent and drive, and - lets face it - many talent free togs too.

 

RB

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Dustydingo - precisely - a fair trade tag or sticker. After all fair trade started from nothing and has totally taken off. I worked in coffee business for almost 20 years - so was always passionately interested in knowing that the growers/farmers/workers in a far away country, much much poorer than ours were making a fair living - and that in some way it was being policed. Whatever it should be called that tag or sticker (or dare I say it something embedded!) - would surely be a mark that the contributor was being fairly treated. If it became the industry "norm" it would have to be accepted. Why is that not possible - inoffensive to any party and a guarantee of quality image and proper treatment of togs.

 

RB - very valid points. I once emailed Alamy CEO who not only emailed me back but actually rang me to discuss the points raised and it was clear he genuinely cared. Regarding talent or not talent - (beauty in the eye of the beholder) - I personally believe that Alamy should cut back on the "holiday snaps" that will always linger on page 50 or 60. Tighten up the collection.They seem obsessed with having the most images. They should be largely be making money for the togs with talent and drive - that would raise the bar.

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