Will Getty Insist On Keeping Contributors In The Dark?

Posted on 3/11/2014 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (1)

Photographers, illustrators, Getty’s Image Partners (stock agencies), and trade associations representing Getty photographers should be asking Getty to supply creators with a limited amount of the data collected when Getty embeds creator's images on a web site for FREE.

These image creators supplied Getty with their images for the purpose of licensing, not free giveaways. Now, Getty had decided to make the image available at no charge to certain Internet users in exchange for being able to collect data from the user's web site.

At the very least, image creator are morally entitled to know which images have been embedded.

I asked Getty if they planned to inform contributors of the image numbers of embedded images, and the URLs. Their official answer was:
     “At launch, we will not be sharing information of this manner with contributors, but we will explore data sharing options in the future. If and when we earn revenue associated with an embedded image (e.g., ads placed in the embedded viewer), we will report that revenue to contributors through existing royalty reports.”
I would recommend that contributors contact Craig Peters, Senior Vice President of business development, product and content at Getty Images with the following request:

    Dear Mr. Peters:

    I am not happy with Getty’s recent decision to supply my images to web users free of charge. I supplied the images to Getty Images for the purpose of licensing with the understanding that I would receive a royalty whenever the image was licensed. While there is also an understanding that selected images could be used in a limited way for marketing, I never envisioned that there would be a massive give away with the primary purpose of collecting data from users.

    Nevertheless, I would request that you inform me on a monthly basis of the image number of each of my images that has been embedded in the previous month, and the number of times each was embedded. To the degree that I can better understand what web users are looking for, it will help me in planning future shoots.

    It would also be helpful to know the URL where the image is being used so that I might have a better understanding of how the image is being used.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    (Feel free to copy and paste this suggested language into an email to Peters and to recommend that your friends do likewise.)
If Getty receives enough comments from contributors it might influence their decision about supplying information. It would be easy enough for Getty to supply this information to contributors, at virtually no cost, if they could recognize a benefit.

If contributors have no information about how frequently their images are being used they will assume the worst. In fact, there are likely to be many contributors who will have few, if any, images embedded, simply because of the nature of their collections. Some of these contributors may hold back from supplying new images simply out of an unfounded fear. That is not in Getty’s best interest and they could solve the problem by sharing information with their contributors.

My guess is that pictures of entertainers and sports figures will be embedded frequently as will pictures of food and travel. I suspect there will be less demand for business and office situation, but who knows. The more image creators can understand the level of demand for these uses, the more they will be likely to supply the right kind of images that will allow Getty’s data collection business to grow.

Certainly some users will strip out the copyright notice and the Getty logo because it is distracting. This is a violation of Getty’s terms of use, but it seems unlikely that Getty will have the staff to check all the images that are embedded. Many suppliers would check the URLs if they know where their images are being used, and inform Getty when they find an unauthorized use. This would seem to be a benefit to Getty.

From a purely public relations point of view with their suppliers, if Getty were willing to share some information with suppliers it could go a long way to defusing the initial hostile reaction to the embedding strategy.

Copyright © 2014 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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