270 RANDOM THOUGHTS 14
December 7, 1999
Sheldon Marshall Is Back
Sheldon Marshall, CEO of Visual Communications Group (VCG) until early this year,
is now President of Globalmedia Ltd. He has put together a committed group of
who are seeking to develop new media projects focused to sell digital assets
to professional users via the Internet.
Marshall says, "We are looking at acquisitions where we can definitely add
the 'click' to established analogue content businesses."
Marshall ran VCG for 16 years and built it into one of the top three businesses
world-wide in the industry.
The French publishing house Hachette Filipacchi Medias SA has acquired the
Paris-based photo agency Gamma to secure access
to high-quality news photo coverage for its 200 publications and
related Internet websites.
Web Crawlers Win Right To Sample Images
Arriba Vista's right to sample all photos on the internet, and put thumbnail
copies of these images on their site, has been upheld in federal court in the
Southern District of California.
Leslie A. Kelly had sued Arriba Vista (now known as Ditto) for copyright
infringement of 35 of his images of the California gold rush country. The
court found that the use made by Arriba Vista was a "fair use" under the
A deciding factor for the court was that the thumbnails were produced much
smaller than the original file size, even though the entire image was used.
It was also important that Kelly could not show that he had lost business as
a result of his images being used on this site. The court concluded that
many visitors to Kelly's site might never have found it had it not been
included on the Arriba Vista search engine.
Kelly also claimed that Arriba Vista had violated the new Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA) by removing copyright management information associated
with Kelly's images. All the copyright information was on the page adjacent
to, but not physically part of, the images.
The court found that DMCA would only apply if the information had been
removed from the image itself and that the fact that the image was separated
from a piece of textual information that had appeared under it on Kelly's
page was not a violation.
Good Ol' Days For The Printing Industry
Trend Watch reports that commercial printers will soon be calling 1998 "the
good ol' days!", even though business in that year wasn't all that good.
Business conditions for commercial printers are headed South just after the
millennium according to the newly created TrendWatch(tm) Business Conditions
Index which is at its lowest level since the start of data collection for the
Index over five years ago. This Index measures current and expected business
conditions in the graphics markets.
The Trend Watch printing industry index dropped from 95.1 in the spring of
1999 to 84.1 today and shows that business conditions for printers look a lot
like those of 1996.
However, in 1996 the threat that dollars would be shifting from print budgets
to new media was only a threat. Now for many print buyers, new media offers
a realistic choice, and cross-media publishing is becomming more
commonplace. This increased use of the web affects budgets, new jobs, page
counts, reprint cycles, and other print job characteristics.
Why should you care?
According to Trend Watch the way print is used in many markets will
significantly change. It appears that 1999 will go down as the year that the
Internet started to shift the printing demand curve. Fewer printed pieces
could mean fewer images sold for print uses.
There will be more cross-media uses where communication projects are
strategically integrated to use the Internet and print together in addressing
the different needs of market segments.
Photographers need to be sure they are positioned to get their images used in
digital media as well as print, and they need to make sure that they are
being properly compensated for digital uses.
New Photo Section On The New York Times Web Site
The New York Times has announced a new photo section at:
The Times claims this section will conveniently collect the excellent work of
New York Times photographers, as well as special features you'll find only at
The Times on the Web. The site certainly offers a wide variety of still
photography, but it is unclear how photographers are being compensated for
use of their images on this site.
The new section premieres with an extraordinary collection of photographs
from Annie Leibovitz's new book, "Women," as well as a photo tour of how
Times Square has changed over the past century.
While reviewing the photos from "Women" you are kicked into the Getty's
Art.com site where presumably you can buy some of these images as fine art
There are slide shows or hard news events and historical features about
Eastern Europe and Vietnam.
The Vietnam section drops the user into the Learning Network with a series of
lessons for use by teachers and students. It is not hard to imagine how this
type of learning could eventually replace a lot of textbook use.
The site also offers users the opportunity to purchase individual "New York
Times" photos for "personal use." We assume that all photos reproduced in
the Times will be made available in this manner, not just images produced by
NY Times staffers.
This site clearly demonstrates the potential for consumer use of still photos
in a variety of ways. It is not clear how the image creators will be
compensated for these uses. Everyone who sells images to the NY Times should
be insisting on clear definitions of how they will be compensated for these
What You Should Know About Doing Business Globally
Want to know what foreign agents outside the U.S. are looking for?
Here's what Barbara Brundage, President of Pacific Stock in Honolulu found
out when she polled a number of them. Barbara reported the following in a
seminar at Photo Expo on October 29th.
Pacific Stock comes from the perspective of the smaller, more specialized
agency and supplies images to International Affiliates. Nearly 40% of
their sales are made outside the U.S.
Brundage polled a number of International Agents and the following are some
of their comments.
Portugal wants a more Latino look wearing European clothes
Austria wants a more European look that is more daring and less
Germany doesn't want any "typical" American people.
Netherlands says they see too many "silicone" models that are too
perfect, too polished and too happy.
France says Americans should be more aware of the European "styles."
New York photographers get a plug here. They are more aware of this European
"touch" possibly because NY is more cosmopolitan.
Italy says there are too many business shots of American businessmen
who always have a cup of coffee on the desk; and you would never see an
Italian wearing a red tie and a white shirt.
Brazil says girls whose hair is too blonde won't sell in South America.
Australia says don't send any shots of people in baseball or cowboy
hats and don't confuse the Australian look with the New Zealand look.
Hong Kong says only native people are used in ads throughout SE Asia
so, you'll see a Thai used in a Thailand ad and a Malaysian person used in a
Japan says don't try to shoot Japanese people outside Japan. Because
chances are they won't look like Japanese people and won't sell in Japan
One European agent recently surveyed several well known U.S. photographers
and discovered they earn more from catalog picture sales made outside
the U.S., despite the fact that they only got 30% of the gross sales,
than they make from U.S. catalog sales. Thus, it appears that despite
the problems, there is definitely potential for photographers to do well in
Thanks again to Barbara Brundage for this research.
EMPICS Announces New Managing Director
EMPICS, a leading web based sports photo agency in the United Kingdom, has
appointed Graham Cross as Managing Director. Graham is leaving his post as
International Sales Manager at Corbis where he is currently in charge of
developing new digital subagent relationships across Europe, the Middle East
Cross has also worked for the Visual Communications Group as Sales Director
for their Editorial Division.
EMPICS current managing director and founder, Phil O'Brien, is moving to
the role of Chief Executive of the organization, to concentrate on strategic,
Graham will be focussed on growing revenues from both home and international
markets and on increasing awareness of EMPICS products and service.
Commenting on his new role as Chief Executive, O'Brien says: "We were the
first sports photo agency to be established on the Web and we are
experiencing exciting growth. 93% of our business today is conducted
digitally. Our Web capabilities and great sports photography in this fast
moving world presents us with significant business development
Henning Named Managing Director At Robert Harding
The Robert Harding Picture Library has selected Paul H. Henning for the
company's newly created position of Acting Managing Director.
Henning, a 14-year veteran of the stock picture industry, will divide his
time between his home office in the United States and the library's London
office "We'll keep that arrangement in place for a while so that we can
assess whether Paul's more valuable to us developing our business in America
on a full-time basis or overseeing our operations here in the U.K.," said
company founder and CEO Robert Harding.
Paul Henning began his career as a professional photographer in 1974 and
co-founded Third Coast Stock Source in 1985. Late in 1997 Henning and his
partners sold Third Coast and he assumed the position of Manager of European
Operations for Comstock, Inc. Henning was based in London during his stint
with Comstock and resigned that position in January of 1999.
Many clients are trying to get unlimited future web use for a single fee.
They argue that they are not making any money from their web site. Here's
what wall street analysts project as the revenue that major entertainment
companies will earn from their internet operations in 2001 and 2004.
Hang onto future rights!