June 2, 2000
After our alert about Webshots in
Random Thought 18
one reader supplied us with the a
letter from Index Stock Imagery outlining their agreement. It appears that a
Webshots.com is obtaining valid licenses to use the professional images found on the
All images are posted by suppliers agreeing to Webshots.com's terms and conditions
which include: "No reproduction is permitted and photos may be used only in the
manner expressly permitted by Webshots (including as wallpaper and screen saver
within the Webshots Desktop, on the webshots.com domain on the internet as digital
Most of the 900,000 (and rising) images on the site are posted by amateurs for the
primary purpose of making them available to friends and family. However, there are
several thousand professional images on the web site acquired from stock agencies.
Keyword searches are structured so the professional images come up first. They are
followed by the amateur images that fit the particular keyword category.
According to Index, Webshots.com pays $50 per image for unlimited perpetual rights to
the usages described above. Webshots.com also offers to provide prints suitable for
framing, but it is not clear whether someone could obtain a print if they did not
have permission for the copyright holder.
Stock agencies listed on the site include: The Image Bank, SuperStock, Mountain
Stock, ROMA, Zuma Press and American Stock Photo. Photographers who appear to have
participated directly are Denver Bryant, Steven Holt, Susan Sexton, Len Kaltman, Bob
B. Yarbrough, Eric Sanford, Rob Keith, John S. Murray, Ron Romanosky, Mike Nolan,
James D. Watt and Bob Barbour to name a few.
Index appears to be considering participation. We could find no Index images on the
site at this time. They are to be commended on at least one point. They are
notifying their photographers in advance and giving them the option to choose whether
they want to have their images made available in this way, or not. It is our belief
-- because it fits with standard patterns of operation -- that the
photographers at The Image Bank, and possibly other agencies, were not informed
before their images were licensed for this usage.
The following are the relevant portions of the letter Index Stock Imagery has been
sending to photographers whose work is being considered.
Index Stock Imagery Letter
We are continuing with our selection of images as part of our partnership with
Excite Webshots. As a sponsor of the Webshots Gallery, Index will provide beautiful
and exciting images for individual customers to download as wallpaper and
screensavers. Excite will be paying a one-time license of $50.00 which we will split
with you as per our contract agreement.
Webshots is the leading supplier on the Web of screensavers. It receives as many as
3,150,000 visitors per day and its 3,000 images are downloaded 80 million times per
month. It currently features images from companies such as The Image Bank and
Superstock. Our deal will add approximately 1,000 of our images to this site.
Webshots was recently purchased by one of our major Photos To Go partners
Excite@home. Through our friends at Excite, we were able to arrange a special deal
with Webshots. The $50 license covers use of our images only for screensaver and
background screen use for seven years. (The other sources of images all gave
Webshots perpetual licenses.) The deal requires Webshots to give us two additional
opportunities to receive additional revenue.
1 - Each image will have a link next to it that takes a user to Photos To Go. By
following this link, the user can license the image for personal or small business
2 - Each image will also have a link that offers that image as a poster. The
customer will then be allowed to order prints of the image in an assortment of sizes.
We hope to also offer framed versions of these prints.
We expect many users to select these two options. You will get your normal share of
the licenses we earn on these uses. While we cannot make any guarantees, it is
possible that these images will earn much more from follow-on licensing than they
would in one of our catalogs.
Gary Elsner, President and CEO of SuperStock, said, "Our arrangement with
Webshots.com differs significantly from that described by Index Stock. Our license
term is much more abbreviated and the price per image is appreciably better."
SuperStock photographers were not notified prior to the sale which is standard