6 Trade Groups Agree to Collaborate

Posted on 10/22/2009 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (1)

As attendees were gathering in Miami for last week’s conference of the Picture Archive Council of America, representatives of six trade organizations that unite more than 50,000 photographers and 800 American and European agencies met to discuss common goals. Though no specific agenda was outlined as a result, the meeting set the tone for global collaboration at what is broadly agreed is a difficult time for the stock and broader photography industry.

In addition to PACA, in attendance were representatives of the American Society of Media Photographers, Coordination of European Picture Agencies, British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies, American Society of Picture Professionals and Stock Artists Alliance. Each outlined its mission and top concerns.

The groups unanimously agreed that information sharing was critical, particularly to promote uniform licensing practices at national and international levels and keep abreast of other developments affecting members. Discussed at some length were currently pending legal developments, including the Google Books settlement and orphan-works legislation. Another subject that received attention is the importance of joint education programs that focus on combating the “right-click and usurp” mentality of Internet users.

At this week’s PhotoExpo, ASMP, ASPP, PACA and SAA are also planning to meet with other trade groups that represent an additional 30,000 photographers to further explore the potential for collaboration.

Copyright © 2009 Julia Dudnik Stern. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


  • Tim Mcguire Posted Oct 22, 2009
    Are these artist trade orgs telling the picture “agencies” and distributors that they have and are continuing to create and perpetuate conditions and business practices lending to a condition where it is becoming next to impossible for a professional artist to maintain a viable stock image creation business?

    Getty must understand this. They shut their stock production department down this week. If it’s not profitable to create your own images and get 100% of the revenues how could it be profitable to create imagery and get between 10% and 40% of the revenue generated?

    The way the artist / agency system is set up now there is little to no meaningful collaboration and I doubt there will be any coming out of this “agreement”. Agreeing to talk about something is a lot different than agreeing to do something to effect changes. The current system is too beneficial to the agencies and distribution outlets for them to have any reason to change.

    Those benefits for “agencies” brought about on the backs of artists allow the agents and distributors to continually lower their prices to where they are today. But now it seems they can’t go any lower without affecting their own bottom line… and the “making up for lower prices by boosting volume” strategy may have finally played out. To call it a relationship is to give it too much credit. It is undeniably a one sided agency/distributor dominated arrangement with the professional artist and their representative trade organizations getting next to no consideration in pricing or licensing models introduced in the market.

    The way things are set up is completely to the benefit of the agency system and the detriment of the individual professional stock artist. I find it hard to believe this is anything more than an attempt at placating the trade organizations by making their leadership feel like they are doing something when in fact they have little to no chance of influencing anything picture “agencies” will do (legally “agency” implies some sort of fiduciary responsibility). There have been many announcements like this over the years and they have amounted to just about nothing in terms of improving business conditions for professional artists. Don’t believe it.

    Tim McGuire
    See what professional stock artists are creating to sustain their careers and bypass the agency system and license their work directly to clients. www.evostock.org / www.evostock.com

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