A Cut of a Cut of a Cut…..

Posted on 9/9/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

While fees charged customers for stock photo use have been steadily declining, there is another issue that should be of equal concern to image creators. That is the percentage they receive of the gross fee the end user pays. This can be complicated and not the number many photographers think it is.

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Selling Stock is an on-line newsletter that reports on developing trends in the stock photo industry. It is updated at least twice a month. On-line subscribers receive e-mail notification whenever new stories are posted. Archives containing stories going back to late 1995 are fully available to subscribers.

Copyright © 2011 Jim Pickerell. 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 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • Charles Cecil Posted Sep 12, 2011
    It was an interesting thought that the prime agency might only report to us contributing photographers the proceeds that the prime agency receives and not the actual selling price paid by the customer. I questioned Alamy about this. They maintain that when they enter a "Sale" price into our account statements it "represents what the client [i.e., the customer] has paid in full to Alamy, which includes the Distributor, Alamy, and contributors commission." When one of Alamy's "selling distributors" makes the sale they keep 40% of the selling price, Alamy takes 20%, and I receive 40%. This seems to avoid the "cut of a cut of a cut" described in Jim's article.

    There is a definition in the Alamy contract which could lend itself to the interpretation described in the article: "License fees means any sum or sums actually received by Alamy from any Customer in respect of the Licence of an Image...." But if Alamy were only reporting to us the proceeds it actually receives after its distributor's share, then its answer to me would be clearly misleading, which I hope is not the case, particularly since I quoted the article's statement about the "gross sale" figure and Alamy is now denying that that is what they do. If there is any doubt about this interpretation, perhaps an inquiry to Alamy's senior management could elicit an even more definitive statement. For now I'll hope I can accept Alamy's reply at face value. Best wishes, Chuck Cecil

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