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Last month the U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-to-3 decision in the case of Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons
found that Supap Kirtsaeng had the right to resell, in the United States, textbooks that his friends and relatives purchased in Thailand. The Thai math student at Cornell University generated roughly $900,000 in revenue by reselling books that can be purchased at a much lower price in Thailand than in the U.S.
A major shift is coming in the education market, and more rapidly than many expect. In Pearson’s recent Q4 2012 earnings call
John Fallon, CEO and Chief Executive of International Education business discussed many of the “fundamental structural change” that are taking place in Pearson’s education business.
At the PACA International Conference in October, Christie Silver of McGraw Hill School Education Group provided details on where her team found images for a major reading program they have been working on this year. She also provided insights as to how educational publishers will be sourcing images in the future and pointed out that the main focus of all educational efforts these days is digital.
If you think there is still a decent market for textbook usage of stock photos – think again. The following is a summary of a conversation yesterday between a picture researcher for a major U.S. textbook company and renown travel photographer Wolfgang Kaehler
At the PACA International Conference in Chicago in October the keynote
speakers was Ken Carson, EVP and General Counsel of Cengage Learning. He
outlined many of the challenges educational publishers face today and
provided insights as to where content licensing for educational use is
The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Google have announced a settlement agreement that will provide the Google Library Project with access to books and journals that are still protected by copyright. Now, Google may digitize new books as well as make the contents of books already scanned available online.
For more than 30 years “Collecting Societies” in many countries have had systems to compensate photographers when their images in books and periodicals are photocopied. U.S. photographers are not so fortunate.
Alan Capel, Head of Content at Alamy
explains that the price for printing 3 million copies of a textbook was much higher than we reported earlier
Photographer Jacques Jangoux reports that Alamy has licensed two of his images - A3N0PR (2 boys in a canoe in the Amazon region) and A3AB62 (waterfall of Jari River, tributary of the Amazon) – for just $25.00 each
for textbook use. Of course the photographer will only receive 60% of these figures.
When you discover that a large educational publisher has made extensive use one of your images beyond the rights they licensed is it wise to try to collect for the unauthorized use? In a recent discussion on the Stockphoto@yahoogroups.com forum it was pointed out that publishers often “blacklist” suppliers who try to collect for unauthorized use. Thus, it was argued that it may be better to accept a loss on one sale in hopes that in the years ahead you’ll make it up through additional sales to that same publisher.
Education Companies have recently settled copyright and trademark claims against several textbook distributors. However, these same companies have no remorse about knowingly, intentionally and systematically infringing the copyrights of image creators who have supplied images for use in many of the books they publish.
For some time professional image suppliers and many educational publishers have been at odds over unlicensed use of images. Image creators and suppliers claim they have not been properly compensated for the use of some images while publishers either try to hide the unauthorized uses or argue that what they have done is not copyright infringement. Now publishers and image creators are on the same side against alleged infringer Boundless Learning.
In the future, will it be possible for more photographers to earn a
better living than they are currently earning producing stock images? More and
more photographers are jumping into the stock photo business every day
and many hope to make it a career. Here’s a dozen reasons why future
revenue growth for this industry seems unlikely
. I’ve discussed all
these issues before, but it seems useful to briefly itemize them all in
In late March In the case of Tom Bean vs. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona Judge Frederick J. Martone GRANTED
partial summary judgment to the plaintiff on the issue of defendant's liability for copyright infringement of 26 images used in seven titles.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
(HMH) filed a voluntary petition for
reorganization under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
Southern District of New York. The “pre-packaged” comprehensive
financial restructuring plan will eliminate $3.1 billion of the
company’s debt through a debt to equity transaction with its bank and
In the case of Jon Feingersh Photography, Inc. vs. Pearson Education, Inc. Judge Anita B. Brody in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has denied a request from Pearson that it not be required to release the print quantities and publication dates of the various textbooks in which 50 of Feingersh’s images were used.
After 244 years, the Encyclopaedia Britannica
(EB) is going out of print. Sales peaked for Britannica in 1990 with 120,000 copies sold. In 2010 – the last edition – only 8,000 copies of the 32-volume set were printed and 4,000 still sit in a warehouse unsold.
Recently, the results of a year long study of Algebra 1 students at the Amelia Earhart Middle School in Riverside, California were announced. The math scores of the students who were taught using Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s HMH Fuse: Algebra 1
curriculum on the iPad were 20% higher
in the Spring 2011 California Standards Test than other students who were taught using traditional paper textbooks.
Image creator success stories in the current educational publishing environment are few and far between. The strategy one photographer used when licensing educational re-use of an image may be instructive.
In the previous series of articles entitled "Edication: How The Market Has Changed"
we looked as some of the factors that have changed the educational market for images. This series of stories looks ahead. Not only have there been dramatic changes in the past, but the business of delivering educational materials to students is still very much in transition. There will certainly be a decline in the use of printed products, a growth in the delivery of educational material online and more use of video. Check out these stories for more about where things seem to be headed.
An international alliance of publishers including seven member companies
of the Association of American Publishers, with support from AAP and
other international trade associations, has identified and taken legal
action against operators of one of the largest pirate web-based
businesses in the world.
The Editorial Relations Committee of PACA (Picture Archive Council of
America) has released updated suggestions for dealing with educational
publishers. Digital technology is rapidly changing the way educational
materials are being developed and used. During this transition period
image licensors need to be particularly vigilant if they hope to receive
reasonable compensation for the long range use of their imagery.
In an effort to go after a share of the $15 billion educational textbook
market Apple Inc. has launched iBooks2 software with an aim to quicken
the adoption of the iPad in the educational market. The company has been
working with Pearson, McGraw-Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to
produce digital textbooks that can be delivered on the iPad. Currently,
these three companies are responsible for 90% of the textbooks sold in
It seems to me that 30 or so years ago photographers could have verbal
agreements (a handshake, if you will) with others in business and both
sides would feel an ethical obligation
to honor the agreement.
Today, honoring agreements is often secondary to maximizing profit.
It has been pointed out that publishers need to license rights for long terms (25 years and more) because it is so difficult for them to track
down image owners in order to license reuses years after the initial license. This is particularly true as a result of agency consolidations and agencies going out of business. I recognize the problem, but there is a simple solution that would be easier for the book publishers to administer and much fairer for image creators.