Photographers vs. Publishers

Posted on 12/30/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

For much of the past decade, textbook publishers have licensed rights to print a minimum number of copies of the books they published and proceeded to greatly exceed the authorized press run, without informing the content creators. Only recently have photographers become aware of this problem, which we covered last month. Here is a summary of the settled and pending actions.

Get the Full Article (2 Credits)

Have an Account?

Access to this site is an exclusive benefit for you. Enter your username and password in the form above. If you don't remember your password you can reset it at any time.

Forgot your password?

New to Selling Stock?

Selling Stock is a subscription based 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 © 2009 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, 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:  


  • Paul Melcher Posted Dec 31, 2009
    A few comments here:
    - seems as we have repeat offenders here
    - Does any of these photo supplier get blacklisted after bringing legal action ?
    - How come there is no big player like Getty or Corbis. Do they get paid additional fees or do they not sue ?
    - What are associations like PACA or ASMP doing about this ?

  • Jon Feingersh Posted Dec 31, 2009
    Jim-- Thanks for keeping this in the forefront of photographer awareness. The attorney information is of particular interest, as is the the number of cases.

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Dec 31, 2009
    Paul - Indications from their online price lists are that Getty and Corbis get paid LESS than most other suppliers, not more. Corbis says they've never had a problem with unauthorized use by the major publishers. I'm not sure about ASMP, but PACA has certainly made their membership aware of this problem. However, there are indications that not many of the PACA members are making claims.

    I suspect that suppliers do get blacklisted after they sue, and fear of that is probably the reason that so few pursue settlements. On the other hand it is hard to see why Getty and Corbis should be so fearful. Can you imagine the publishers doing without any of the pictures Getty or Corbis have in their collections?

    We don't have a list of the books where these violations occurred, but it is reasonable to assume that not all cases concern unauthorized used within a single book. The average textbook has about 200 photos in it. If the publishers are not paying for extended use of one photo in a book, chances are they didn't pay for any of the extended use of photos in the book. Thus, very likely there are a lot of other photographers and agencies who have legitimate claims if they could only uncover the actual number of copies that have been printed of the books where their photos have been used.

Post Comment

You must log in to post comments.

Stay Connected

Sign up to receive our FREE weekly email listing new stories posted.

Follow Us

Free Stuff

Recent Stories – Summer 2016
If you’ve been shooting all summer and haven’t had time to keep up with your reading here are links to a few stories you might want to check out as we move into the fall. To begin, be sure to complet...
Read More
Corbis Acquisition by VCG/Getty Images
This story provides links to several stories that relate to the Visual China Group (VCG) acquisition of Corbis and the role Getty Images has been assigned in the transfer of Corbis assets to the Gett...
Read More
Finding The Right Image
Many think search will be solved with better Metadata. While metadata is important, there are limits to how far it can take the customer toward finding the right piece of content. This story provides...
Read More
Where Is The Stock Photo Industry Headed?
For new readers, or those who may have missed some of what I have written over the last few months, the following are a list of stories worth looking at to get a sense of where the industry is headed.
Read More
Photography As A Career
It’s that time of year when high school seniors are waiting for college acceptance letters and thinking about future careers. If you know someone who is thinking about photography as a career you mig...
Read More
2014 Stories You May Have Missed
For many the end of the year is a time to review past experiences and consider whether it makes sense to chart a new course in the year ahead. Stock photography has changed dramatically for professio...
Read More
More Stories In 2014 You May Have Missed
Every so often I put together a list of the most important stories we’ve published in the recent past. If you are engaged in the business of stock photography the links below are to stories that we’v...
Read More
Getty: A Three Month Review
In all the excitement about 35 million FREE images it is worth looking back at some of things that have been happening at Getty Images in the last three months. After watching revenue decline for the...
Read More
State Of Stock Photo Industry: 2013
If you’re looking for an overview of the state of the stock photo industry as of October 2013 the stories listed below are a good place to start. Regular readers of Selling-Stock will have seen all t...
Read More
Education Market Shifts To Digital
If supplying pictures for educational use is a significant part of your business plan you need to be aware of how the market is trending toward digital delivery and how that is likely to affect the p...
Read More

More from Free Stuff