AGE Launches New York Office

Posted on 10/25/2000 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



October 25, 2000

The Spanish agency AGE Fotostock has opened a New York office and has been operating for

about eight months with a staff of three. They have an on-line site that is searchable using

English keywords at

They have also distributed two print catalogs and advertise a number of FREE services to

attract customers. They offer Free scans, Free delivery by courier or messenger, Free

research and Free chromes (the customer gets to keep the duplicate chrome of any image they


The "Free chromes" is indicative of the way AGE does business in Europe, but it may present

some problems in the U.S., and particularly New York.

The sales tax laws make a distinction between licensed "reproduction rights" which is

considered a service and "tangible property" which is any product a buyer is allowed to

retain. In this case the chrome would be considered "tangible property."

The sales tax in New York City is 8.25% for "tangible property," but services are not

taxible. New York is particularly agressive about wanting to get their tax. The above

distinction is one that has been carefully negotiated over the years between photo licensers

and the taxing authority, and it represents a very uneasy truce.

It will be interesting to see if AGE actually intends to charge sales tax on every usage fee,

or if they have a plan for "interpreting" the tax laws in a way different from the way every

other stock agency interprets them.

Interestingly, this one small problem is a good illustration as to why U.S. photographers

will need foreign agencies to represent them overseas, and foreign agencies may find it

difficult to set up independent operations here. why it may be better to have a local

agency, that fully understands

There are many local laws and customs around the world and having someone who is fully

familiar with local rules may be an important asset.

AGE may be only the first of many foreign agencies that is likely to set

up shop in the U.S. For many foreign agencies the print catalog business is very strong, but

they have been having a great deal of difficulty finding U.S. agencies who are willing to

distribute their catalogs here in the U.S. As a result, many are seriously considering

setting up operations here, because they are convinced that if the catalogs are distributed

they will generate significant sales.

When you need a distributor, and no one locally is willing to take on the task, then the only

options is to do it yourself.

Copyright © 2000 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, 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:  


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