7JUPITERIMAGES LAUNCHES RIGHTS MANAGED SERVICE
January 15, 2005
JupiterImages, a division of Jupitermedia Corporation, has announced the launch of RightsProtectedImages (www.rightsprotectedimages.com) which will offer customers exclusive rights to any image on the site, regardless of how it is used, for a fixed price for a fixed period of time.
Prices start at $799 for a three-month term. The prices for longer terms are: $1,599 for 6 months; $2,399 for 9 months and $3,199 for one year. There is also a Comp Use price of $99.00. Customers can call for pricing for periods longer than one year, but perpetual licenses are not available.
"Without negotiation, customers can go online and license images outright for a set period of time, ensuring that they will not run into any competing use problems," said Jupitermedia Chairman and CEO Alan Meckler. "The next best alternative in our industry forces the customer to specify exactly how and for how long they will use the image, engage in an extended negotiation process, pay a premium which can be upwards of tens of thousands of dollars, and after all that not be guaranteed any real protection. We knew we could do better than that, so we created RightsProtectedImages.com in response to the needs of creative professionals throughout the marketplace."
At launch Jupiter had about 7,000 images on the site, and they hope to reach critical mass by the summer of 2005. Over 90% of the images are wholly owned by Jupitermedia. While the images are first offered as Rights Managed, Jupitermedia may consider moving images to one of their RF brands if the images have been on the site for three months and no one has shown interest in them. It appears that at this time there is no firm policy as to how long any given images might be left in the RM environment and that they will wait to see how sales develop before making this decision.
One of the first things that struck me after looking at the site is the issue of "similars" as most situations shown on the site have several minor variations of any given shot that change angle or expression, but use the same model, clothes and setting. It has been my experience that when someone really wants an exclusive on a particular shot they want to block the use by industry competitors of close similars. Otherwise exclusive rights is of little value. Consequently, I asked if someone purchases rights to an image are all similars of the situation blocked for the exclusive period?
Patricia Vargas of Jupiterimages responded, "No, 'similars' are not blocked and may be available to another user." She further elaborated:
"When we define 'exclusive' in the context of RPI, we mean that when a customer licenses an image from us, that particular image 'asset' is all theirs for the term that they have purchased....it is not in circulation anywhere else. We also put the power of knowledge in the hands of the designer, art director or publisher and provide information related to an image unlike any other competitive RM site - how an image is used, where it is used, and what 'similar' images are available in the event that are working towards a campaign that may require images with the same model, location and lighting.
"To address his concerns about 'similars' and the problems it may pose, if a customer is so concerned that his competitor may have the same image, then RPI might not be for them. Keep in mind that our target audience is the RM customer who licenses on a non-exclusive basis on a use-by use basis.
"The value of putting the 'similar' images on RPI is that it empowers the customer to make a buying decision knowing which images are available to them from a photoshoot as well as which ones may have been licensed by other people.
"Our target audience is not a Dell or an HP who may require total exclusivity. In most cases, the Fortune 500 companies who are looking for this level of exclusive will hire their own photographers to produce their unique exclusive image.
"These are our RPI ' Campaign Collections'. The benefits of our 'Campaign Collections' is that the cost of selecting multiple images is comparable in price and quality of 1 image from our competitors. I am not aware of any competitive sites in this industry that enables the creative user to view and experience an entire shoot from the comfort of their own office. Our Campaign Collections permit the creative user to select a series of images for their campaigns with the same models, lighting and location. Our customers have given us feedback in the past that they would like to see more images in a collection to choose from. Nothing worse than an photo editor making the decision to leave the image you really would have wanted on the editing floor because it wasn't the one they decided was acceptable."
"The value of the 'Campaign Collections' should not be overlooked. The ability for the customer to source images with continuity of theme, style, lighting, models and location is a value proposition that no one else offers. In fact, through the purchase of a 'Campaign Collection', we can offer a higher level of 'exclusivity' with a series of images at the same price as a single image on competitor sites (such as ImageSource, Getty and Corbis). Although the issue of 'similars' is not unique to RPI, for our own purposes we will be keeping an eye on it in order to allow us in time to better evaluate RPI's position in the marketplace with comparative competitors."
Ms. Vargas indicated that Jupiterimages is interested in accepting submissions from photographers. It is unclear what the terms might be for such arrangements, but based on the general policies of the company I would suspect that Jupiterimages would prefer a buyout arrangement with the photographer rather than a royalty arrangement. The contact is: Patricia Vargas, JupiterImages, 5232 E. Pima Street, Tucson, AZ 85712, email email@example.com.
In a rather cursory review of the site it seemed to me that there are a few situations where there are very limited offering in what I would think are rather high demand subject areas. But Vargas said, "We based the content mix for our initial launch on the top searches on our other JI properties. Our collection will continue to grow and our intent is to evaluate search requests, usage patterns and customer feedback to tailor the content with the RightsProtectedImages.com customer in mind."
This points to a couple opportunities for photographers. First, photographers should examine the site and if they find what they believe is an under represented area in which they have expertise they might offer to submit images of that subject matter for consideration. Second, a careful examination of the imagery that is on the site may give photographers a good idea of the type of subject matter that is being requested by Jupiterimages customers.
One interesting feature of this service is that customers are not permitted to continue distributing products or brochures after the term of the license has expired. For example, if a company buys a 6-month license and use the image on a product or a brochure, at the end of that period they must either purchase another license, or cease using and destroy "all unused materials that contain the Image." In many cases other sellers will limit the number of products that can be produced for a given price, but are fairly lax on the amount of time it takes the user to actually distribute those products.
This service seems to be similar in many ways to ImageSource's "Easy Rights" that was launched in early 2004 (See story 614).