636 RANDOM THOUGHTS 78
May 13, 2004
Customers Concerned About Getty Partnerships With Sports Leagues
Getty's practice of developing partnerships with sports leagues in exchange for
exclusive rights to sell the league's images is raising questions from their
editorial customers about the objectivity of their coverage according to the New York
Publications like USA Today, the Detroit Free Press and the Star Tribune in
Minneapolis refuse to use Getty images because they perceive the company as having a
conflict of interest. They point to such events as race car driver Alex Zanardi's
violent crash in 2001, the fistfight between Rick Fox of the LA Lakers and Doug
Christie of the Sacramento Kings in 2002, and Todd Bertuzzi's sucker punch of Steve
Moore in a hockey game in March 2003 as newsworthy events the sports leagues would
like to ignore where Getty offered no photos.
Getty executives argue that they simply had no coverage of these events. Nick
Evans-Lombe, Getty's Senior VP for editorial matters, told the New York Times that
their relationships with professional sports teams is similar to relationships
newspapers have with advertisers. "The commercial and editorial sides are entirely
separate," he said.
Not all editorial users think Getty is committing journalistic impropriety and many
seem to be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Even the New York Times is
still using Getty images. But the concern could make it more difficult for Getty to
increase editorial sales of its images.
On the other hand, their relationships with the sports leagues may make it possible
for Getty to make more commercial and advertising sales of the editorial images under
their control and this market segment is the biggest revenue generator for Getty.
E-Data Sues Getty Images And Corbis
E-Data has filed a patent infringement lawsuits against Getty Images and Corbis that
may eventually force these companies to pay a licensing fee for delivering images to
customers over the Internet. The E-Data patents, collectively known as the Freeny
Patents, expired on January 19, 2003 in the U.S. so the 5% royalty they are seeking
on U.S. sales will be on monies collected prior to that date, not future sales.
It is important to note that patent laws differ in every country. In most of Europe
E-Data's patent does not expire until 2005. The different rules from country to
country adds to the complexity to the cases against Getty and Corbis since E-Data's
rights to compensation will vary depending on where the image is delivered.
According to E-Data, its patents cover the downloading and recording of data,
including photos, text and video, from a computer onto a tangible object such as a
tape, CD or even a sheet of paper.
The U.S. patent, granted in 1985, covers the transmission of information to a remote
point-of-sale location, where it is then transferred to a material object. U.S.
courts have held that saving information such as a song onto a computer's hard drive,
and then selling the information on such objects as a disc or store kiosk would be
covered under the patent.
Similar issues fueled a lawsuit in 2003 against the European division of Microsoft
and several music services. In January the companies settled with E-Data and I
discussed that case in Story 618 in March.
It seems clear that E-Data is hoping to come to an agreement with Getty and Corbis
that will set a precedent for the entire industry. Given the complexity of
challenging a patent infringement claim, smaller companies will probably have little
recourse other than to go along with whatever is agreed to by the two giants.
Koos Rasser, counsel for E-Data, will be speaking at this year's CEPIC Congress in
Copenhagen on June 11, 2004 and should be able to shed more light on the obligations
of other image sellers at that time.
Date Set For PACA International Conference
The PACA International Conference is scheduled for October 17th
and 18th this year at the Hyatt Regency, 2 Exchange Place in Jersey City, NJ,
directly across the river from Wall Street.
For a picture of the hotel check out www.hyatt.com .
The event has been scheduled on Sunday and Monday of the same week as PictureHouse
and Photoplusexpo to make it convenient for stock agents to attend all the events.
PictureHouse is on
Wednesday October 20th and PhotoplusExpo will be on Thursday through Saturday,
October 21st through 23rd. For more information about these events go to
Picturehouse Image Sources, the public directory of picture suppliers, now lists over
100 suppliers and receives around 3,000 visitors each month. The most popular
supplier listings in the directory receive around 150 impressions a month - and these
aren't the big name libraries: these are specialist sources such as Photographers
Direct, the Everett Collection, and Robert Harding World Imagery.
The Picturehouse Network is a unique service to help agents and photographers find
new partners around the world to represent them. For more information go to:
Index Stock To Use PicScout
Index Stock Imagery is the first U.S. agency to announce that it will be using the
PicScout Image-Tracker Service to monitor the usage of more than 500,000
The service is based on PicScout's proprietary image recognition and crawling
technology. By using this service, Index hopes to improve the control of its library
and benefit its artists. "Our artists create wonderful art," explains Bahar Gidwani,
CEO of Index Stock Imagery. "We are entrusted with protecting their work and helping
them realize the value they deserve from its use."
For more information about PicScout see Story 630 .
New Strategy at Stock Image
Michel Rawicki of Stock Image in Paris recently announced a new four point strategy
to the photographers he represents. The strategy includes: a new website, a nature
collection of more than 8,000 images and expansion of their Pixland Royalty Free
brand to almost 100 CD's with an additional 50 CD's expected out in September.
In June the company will also be moving from their current offices to a new location
in Cours Damoye, (12 place de la Bastille, Paris) that will be more functional and
more appropriate to the current size of the Agency. Once the move is completed they
will launch a new communications campaign.
Rawicki told his photographers, "I will not tell you that the Agency is going on with
growth in spite of a market in crisis. And there is a real crisis in our activity on
the national side as well as on the international side. Our growth is today negative
on those two sides, and we are actively trying to resist." He indicated that they
have low revenues from international sales and that the French market is terribly
damaged with regard to advertising expenditures. He concluded, "Stock Image is
definitely at a turning point in it's life, and in spite of all difficulties of the
moment, I know that thanks to the quality of your images and to the motivation of my
team this situation will come to a positive situation."
Stockbyte Introduces Filtration
Stockbyte has introduced a new system of filtration designed to help customers find
the right image faster. Put simply it means for removing lots of images from any general search
result. Everytime a user does a search on stockbyte.com
they have the option of
clicking some boxes to focus the search on fewer images within the broader search
For example if the user only wants females he would click on "female only", if he
only wants teens click on "teens" only, and if he needs copy space click on "copy
The various filters available include: price, copy space, people, gender, age,
ethnicity, cut out (clipping paths), color, orientation and indoor/outdoor.
ImageState Relaunches Website
ImageState has re-launched Imagestate.com with
a new look and feel that reflects the
company's new brand. The site was designed by London-based creative interactive
agency, Poke, part of the Mother Group. Poke has recently developed online creative
work for Orange, Kiss 100 and Yahoo.
Peter Beech, Managing Partner of Poke said: "Imagestate has been a great challenge.
We've been working to very tight deadlines to transform the entire look and feel of
the site across a vast array of functionality. A site that is quite literally viewed
by thousands of your peers is a very high profile piece of design for Poke. I hope
that we've done a good job of it - ultimately the industry at large will be the judge
The launch of the new imagestate.com represents just one of a series of important
changes that the company is making under its new CEO, Leslie Hughes.