Random Thoughts 30

Posted on 3/17/2001 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



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

authors' rights.

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

B2B pubs."

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

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.

Copyright © 2001 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 301-461-7627, 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.  


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