384 RANDOM THOUGHTS 30
March 17, 2001
What Do Customers Want In An Online Database?
At the International Conference on Picture Portals in London on March 12th there was
a "customers" panel to try to determine what they want in an online portal. The
people in advertising said they want a "tightly edited" site. As one photographer
heard it, basically they want an edit that is, "in exact agreement with what they
need for their next job." No extra images to go through to waste their time.
Editorial customers want to "see everything" because they know they have a very broad
set of needs. They want to be sure they can find a stock image to fill every need.
Many feel that finding the perfect editing compromise between such diverse positions
is an impossible task.
Think photographers have problems with their agencies being acquired? Consider the
problems of music artists trying to work in the record industry.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Courtney Love is taking her record company to
court to fight what she calls an unfair contract, accounting practices, and marketing
Among the issues she is bringing up is the fact that she signed up
with a small boutique record label - Geffen Records in the 1992
because she believed they would handle her correctly. Geffen sold to MCA, which was
bought by Matsushita Electric Industrial of Japan, which later sold to Seagram and
Co, which was bought by Polygram (Dutch), which was bought by Vivendi, a French
utilities and waste corporation.
She is contending that the sale and reselling of her contract has
rendered it invalid even though there was an assignment clause in
the original contract. She is also objecting to the royalties and
marketing charges, saying The Big Five Record conglomerates have been calling the
shots for so long because they control 90% of the
music sold in the world.
She is also objecting to contracts that require artists to remain with one label for
a seven record deal, which means being with the label for 14 years. The record
company can drop the artist at any time, but the artist has no choice to leave. In
addition, audits called by artists at their own expense are based solely on records
provided by the company, none of which can be independently verified. She says she'll
fight the record companies to the Supreme Court. And she's got the money to do it.
Apesteguy Get Settlement From Gamma For Lost Film
According to Agence France Presse (AFP) a French court has ruled that Gamma photo
agency, recently purchased by Hachette must pay photographer Francis Apesteguy
850,000 French Francs (about $117,000) for the loss of between 400 and 500
transparencies and 26 B&W films or a total of 1480 images. The estimate in court
documents said that Apesteguy had a total of 82,419 images with the agency, but only
1480 were lost.
Gamma is appealing the case and claims ownership of these photos on the grounds that
the agency had the original idea for the stories, or that they co-produced them.
French intellectual property law is very clear that all of an author's work belongs
to the author (even if an employee) unless he specifically gives away the rights.
Francis Apesteguy had no such contract with Gamma and had joined the agency at a time
when no contracts were signed.
The events in the case occurred long before Hachette purchased Gamma (initially
founded by photographers Raymond Depardon, now a star of Magnum, and Gilles Caron).
Hachette management is claiming publicly to respect intellectual property and
This case could set a standard for the value of images lost by any French agency. It
bears particular significance for Sygma photographers who may have had a much higher
percentage of loss due to the way the Sygma file has been managed over the years.
Gamma had a practice of returning outtakes to the photographers, while Sygma would
keep everything until just a few years ago.
Royalty Free Access
According to Trend Watch 80% of creative pros download individual royalty-free images
from the Internet. But, 85% report they still use RF CD collections. It is not clear
how many of these are using collections they had purchased in the past, and how many
are buying new discs.
Trend Watch commented, "It's not uncommon to see the same royalty-free images turning
up all over the place, and the subjects of certain royalty-free CD-ROM's are
becomming highly recognizable. The "stars" of one particular "Business People" disc
are probably in danger of being recognized on the street, so often do they appear in
Online Advertising Revenue
Online advertisers are looking for new ways to get attention. Larger and more
interactive ads are on the way. CNET has unveiled "message plus," a 360x300 pixels ad
(almost 1/4 of the page), and appearing in the middle of editorial content.
It is designed to be harder to ignore and to give designers more flexibility that
they had with the typical banner. According to advertisers too many users are
ignoring the banners and the cost of this type of advertising is no longer justified.
Banner ads accounted for 46% of online ad revenues in the third quarter of 2000, the
first time they fell below the 50% mark in four years. Banner revenue fell on an
absolute basis, also, dropping from $1.06 billion to about $910 million.
Colorific! Due For Consolidation
The London editorial agency Colorific!, founded by Terry and Shirley LeGoubin almost
three decades ago, and part of the VCG acquisition by Getty, is scheduled for
Getty has confirmed that beginning in September, Colorific! will relocate to the
Allsport offices in Collier's Wood. This move is expected to lead to a number of
picture staff redundancies.
Photographers are concerned that Colorific!'s reproduction fee structure will be
lowered to bring them into line with Allsport's.
Colorific! has been known in the past for their ability to command higher than
average fees for their contributors' images.
Liaison To Return File Images
Liaison has announced that they will be returning all analog file images to
contributors and releasing them from further contractual obligations. In the future
the only images they will represent are those that have been supplied digitally and
that are in their online database. Their focus will be news and entertainment.
Due to the number of images involved, the process is expected to take most of 2001 to
The Future of Archival and Editorial Photography
The American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP) is conducting a seminar in
Chicago on April 2, 2001 on "The Future of Archival and Editorial Photography."
They have recognized that tens of millions of historic photographic images that
publishers, educators, academics, archivists and researchers need, and often buy, may
no longer be available in the digital world, due to the expense of digitizing large
The hope is that they can identify a solution that will serve the needs of both the
image owners and the image users.
Panel member include: Sarah Stauderman, Smithsonian Institution Archives; Becky
Haglund Tousey, Society of American Archivists; Bill Hannigan, Corbis; Denise
Waggoner, Getty Images; Leslye Borden, PhotoEdit; Pat Vestal, Harcourt School
Publishers; Marjorie Graham, John Wiley & Sons; Brian Seed, Photographer; and Judy
Feldman, Feldman & Associates Photo Research.
For information about attending contact Judy Feldman at 847-784-0404, ext 123 or
Silicon Film Technologies has created a cartridge that will record digital images and
fits a regular camera. After shooting the picture slip the cartridge into its digital
reader and download the file to your computer. The EFS-1 system costs $699 and will
work initially with the Nikon F5, N90, and FE and the Canon EOS 1N A2/5.
SolusImages.com has announced their terms for their new online site and print
They will pay a 70% royalty on all U.S. sales and 70% of receipts from foreign
partners. They have not specified the amount that foreign partners will retain from
the gross sale before submitting the balance to Solus. If a rep is involved Solus
will pay 80% of all sales to the rep. The rep will also have the opportunity to
participate in the negotiating process.
They require "co-exclusivity" on all images which all allows the photographer to
license rights directly from their own studio or web site, but not to place the same
image on any third-party enabled web site, or include it in another catalog.
Solus will produced print catalogs twice a year. Photographers can include a minimum
of six images for a fee of $1,200 per six images. Participation the print catalog
requires a four-year co-exclusivity from the date of publication. Catalog
participation is optional.
They charge $30 per image to place images on the site for a minimum of 10 to 25
images (depending on subject). There is also a $5 per image renewal rate annually.
Corbis Acquires Sub-Agent In Spain
The Corbis online collection of more than 2.1 million images is now represented in
Spain by the Spanish agency Cover.
Cover has offices in Madrid and Barcelona. It's 25 person staff represents more than
200 photographers and several stock agencies including Photonica, Navalon,
Chromazone, Rapho, Hollandse Hoogte, Marca sport newspaper and Cosmos. It also has
its own online site at www.cover.es that is
available online with news production.