Distributing RM Images To Multiple Agencies

Posted on 5/23/2018 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Arcangel Images has sent the following message to the photographers it represents.

“Again, we ask all photographers not to split rights-managed photoshoots between libraries or submit to other outlets near identical RM images to those held by Arcangel. Aside from devaluing your work, this can and will lead to major licensing conflicts. This not only affects our reputation as a supplier of high-end imagery, one which has taken almost twenty years to build but can be costly for the photographer, as they may be liable to pay legal and re-printing costs.”

It is understandable why Arcangel takes this position, but it is also understandable why photographers feel they must try to show their work to as many customers as possible if they hope to earn enough from their work to justify continued production.

Arcangel is sometimes asked by their commercial customers to guarantee that no one else will ever use the same, or a similar, image in any marketing materials. Arcangel wants to be able to immediately complete negotiations without having to check with the photographer to determine if other images from the same take may be available, or have been licensed, by other sources.

 It is unclear how frequently such request occur, or what kind of revenue Arcangel is able to command for such exclusive use.

We do know that for most agencies such request for “exclusive use” represent a very small percentage of all RM licenses and in the past decade have become increasingly infrequent, and for much lower amounts of money when licensed, than was once the case.

On the other hand, the photographer must determine whether it is wise to bet on hitting the jackpot with every shoot Arcangel accepts, or if it is better to show images from the shoot to more customers in hopes of generating more money from a larger number of small non-exclusive sales rather than betting everything on making an exclusive sale.

Arcangel also makes it clear that if they make an exclusive sale of one of the photographer’s images, and it turns out that a competitor of the customer is also using a similar image, that the photographer “may be liable to pay legal and re-printing costs” in order to settle a claim with Arcangel’s customer.

When so many RM images are being licensed at very low prices, such a decision becomes a very complicated one for the photographer.

Copyright © 2012 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 301-461-7627, 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.  


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