509 RANDOM THOUGHTS 53
October 10, 2002
Getty And Corbis In Talks
Sources tell us that Stephen Davis and Tony Rojas of Corbis have been meeting this week
with high level Getty Images officials at Getty's headquarters in Seattle. Word is that
the talks center around the possible acquisition by Getty of several Corbis divisions.
No official confirmation or other details are available at this time.
The session of the U.S. Congress that is nearing an end has been distinguished by a
number of efforts to try to protect copyrighted works from computer-aided piracy. There
is still a long way to go, but at least the legislature has seemed to be heading in the
right direction. Two bills recently introduced may indicate a reversal of this trend.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would establish that it is legal for
people to make backup copies of digital content (movies, music, pictures and so on),
display them on whatever device they want, and sell or transfer copies of legally
acquired digital content.
Lofgren says her bill would legalize what people already do with non digital media. "My
bill doesn't expand existing rights," she said. "It just applies them to the digital
Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) and John T. Doolittle (R Calif.)
would permit circumventing copy-protection technology in digital content for "fair use"
such as including a movie excerpt in a school project.
Meanwhile, Hollywood reiterated its opposition to measures that might make it easier to
bootleg its products.
Jack Valenti, president and chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of
America, said, "Both these bills make it impossible for us to do any protection. All we
want is to be able to protect our movies in a sturdy fashion, knowing that 100 percent
protection is not possible."
The good news is that this late in the session neither of these bills has any chance of
moving forward. They will die at the end of this Congress. However, it is likely that
they will be re-introduced next year. It seems that their sponsors want to change the
character of the debate and give consumers more rights.
The pendulum may be shifting. While copyright holders didn't gain a lot in terms of
protection in the last two years things could easily get worse, instead of better, in
the next session of Congress.
Stock Catalogs Or Art Books?
Is it a stock photo catalog or an art book? We've recently heard about two new efforts
that work both ways.
Zefa is publishing a 512 page book entitled "A Pair Of" that looks at the unique and
extraordinary combinations of TWO that take place in the world and our society.
The book has 952 images that reflect today's society a variety of combinations of odd
couples, bizarre situations, contradictions and parity. The images deal with themes
such as harmony and disparity; love and hate; joy and sadness; individualism and
conformism; confrontation and displacement. And alongside these various contradictory
statements the opposite can also be found. Many of these images are symbolic showing
the friendships, desires, strengths and weaknesses of our society.
The target audience of zefa's Portfolio books are Art Directors and Creative Directors
from renowned advertising agencies as well as designers, picture editors and
advertising departments from a variety of companies. Essentially all those that use
exceptional imagery for creative and professional projects.
The portfolio book "A Pair Of" is a limited designer edition and can be ordered for EUR
25 by fax: 0211 55 35 55 56, via email on email@example.com or on the Internet under:
Pan America-The Grand Picture
Photographer, Joe Sohm is selling his "Pan America - The Grand Picture" as an art book
and reference for new, exciting photo locations. "Pan America" is a 180 page
publication that was originally distributed about two years ago to ad agencies and
photo buyers as a stock catalog. Almost all of the 746 images are in the 6x17 panoramic
format and they were shot by Sohm, James Randklev and Thomas Wiewandt.
To produce this catalog these photographers crisscrossed the U.S. photographing the
most spectacular landscapes they could find. The images were made in national parks,
deep in the north woods, in the bayous of southern swanps, along country roads, in
small towns, and in all the major cities of America. According to Sohm every images is
a perfect example of impeccable choice of location, lighting and exposure.
The book is now being sold by Photograph America Newsletter for $35 as a "stock
location" guide and tabletop book of USA locations. To get a copy call 415-898-3736 or
Stephen Mayes Joins ImageSource
Stephen Mayes has joined ImageSource as Creative Director. Mayes was formerly the
Group Creative Director of Tony Stone and rose to be Senior Vice President of Content
at Getty Images.
In 1998 Mayes moved to Photonica and became their Chief Executive Officer. In 2001 he
became Creative Director at eystorm, a pioneering company that distributed high-end
contemporary art to the consumer market from artist like Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons,
Helmut Newton, Ed Ruscha and John Pawson.
Of his new position Mayes said, "I truly believe that ImageSource represents one of the
most exciting opportunities in the visual content industry. ImageSource offers a rare
opportunity for adventure - it is a young company pumping with vitality and ambition,
ready to take on the big player. The Royalty Free market is only partially developed
largely because of the low expectations of the content. We plan to change that."
The Veer Directory, designed to promote the web sites of small Rights Protected image
suppliers, mailed its inaugural edition to 30,000 photo buyers in North American in the
middle of September.
In the initial plan suceeding directories would be mailed six times a year giving
suppliers a chance to get their message before buyers frequently as a reasonable cost.
Given the very luke warm interest of suppleirs in the initial product it has been
announced that no further issues of the Veer Directory will be published.
Speaking for the company Jacqueline Osland said, "We do believe that there is
significant value in the directory concept and will look at developing other models
that would generate the response needed from the market."
Veer will continue to fulfill requests from art directors and designers to receive
copies of the directory and they will operate the web site to drive traffice to
Small suppliers who can't afford to independently publish and distribute large, glossy
print pieces in large quantities will have to look for other ways to promote their
services to the broad base of customers.
Insuring That Customers Delete Digital Files
The question has been raised in the stock industry as to how to insure that customers
delete digital files from their hard drives after they have made the initial use?
The general consensus seems to be that there is no way to insure this, but there are
ways for photographers and stock agencies to protect themselves.
The primary means of protection is to have very clear language in the license that
narrowly and specifically defines the used that are being granted. This will not
protect against a possible misuse but it does make it much easier for the copyright
holder to recover damages in the event that an additional use is discovered.
Narrowly defined licenses also make it difficult for buyers to argue that they didn't
understand the rights they had purchased. And such licenses tend to make buyers more
cautious in how they handle images they have used because they recognize that there is
a substantial risk to their company if the image is used in an unauthorized, or
unlicensed way in the future.
Agents have also pointed out that even when we were delivering film and insuring that
the film was returned, the customer was usually scanning that film in order to make
separations. Our film may have been returned, but in most cases we had no idea what was
happening to the separations or the scans that had been created from that film. We also
know that some clients would make dupe transparencies for reference purposes of certain
images, so even when the original was returned there was no absolute assurance that the
client not still retain something that would enable them to make certain uses of the
Some sellers emphasize that it all boils down to trust. I would agree that the vast
majority of customers we deal with are honest and trustworthy, and would not make an
additional use, other than the ones authorized, or the image. But this raises another
question of what happens if someone who was not involved in the original deal finds the
image? Certainly in the United States we are seeing customers move from job to job much
more frequently. A year from now there may be no one at the company who was a party in
the deal you made today. The only protection you have is the written language on the
license -- and hopefully, a signature from someone agreeing to that license at the time
it was made.