Is 20% Royalty For RF Reasonable Today?

Posted on 2/16/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

The concept of royalty-free stock photography was invented in the early 1990s because many picture buyers felt that it was unfair for image prices to be based on how the image would be used rather than their cost to produce. The pay-based-on-use system (rights-managed wasn’t even a term used at that time) was a particular problem for picture buyers because they needed to track future use of any image they purchased to make sure the use wasn’t exceeding the license. Customers wanted a way to avoid this extra administrative hassle.


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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.  

Comments

  • Jonathan Ross Posted Feb 16, 2011
    My answer to your title. NO! Thanks for bringing it to everyones attention especially the point that the cost for the agencies has decreased over time due to technology yet they are still offering the same split as they did 10 years ago.
    The third party agencies are offering a great deal more percentage split to their contributing photographers than the major agencies even though the third party agencies are actually being offered to a much broader range of buyers through multi distribution. Great Read!

  • Sami Samrkis Posted Feb 19, 2011
    Jim,
    So what is your suggestion? Shall we the photographers get more (of course I would say)? Like RM: 30-40% with Getty?
    That would really be the least after all those years of non-sharing costs reductions, imho.

  • Tim McGuire Posted Mar 9, 2011
    The only way that happens is if photographers as a whole are smart enough to withhold their work from these 20% paying agencies and only put their images where they can get a fair return, like Alamy or direct. The history of photographers would make this move seem near impossible. We are our own worst enemy.

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