Corbis Update

Posted on 8/6/1996 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)


Corbis Update

Corbis Gets Adams Work

August 6, 1996 -

Corbis Corp. has signed a long-term agreement with The Ansel Adams Publishing
Rights Trust for the electronic rights to works by the legendary American
photographer Ansel Adams.

Under the agreement, Corbis has the exclusive right to license Adams'

photography in digital form to a variety of publishing and communications
professionals and to make the images available to consumers online and through
CD-ROMs. Corbis and the trust will also create the definitive CD-ROM on the
life and art of Ansel Adams for publication in fall 1997. (See * below.)

According to Corbis the partnership is particularly

meaningful in view of Adams' lifelong interest in advanced technology and the
ways technology could benefit and preserve his work. "We must require and use
the benefits of new technologies, and must explore new corridors of thought and
feeling," Adams once said.

Corbis and the trust will work together closely to select Adams' most important
images and to digitize, manage and license those materials on an ongoing basis.
The agreement will protect the artistic reputation of Adams' work, ensuring that
the highest standards of production, presentation and design quality are met.

"We are delighted to be working with Corbis to enable Ansel's vision to
continue into the 21st century," said Bill Turnage, managing trustee of the
Ansel Adams Trust. "One of Ansel's dreams was that his work would flourish
after his lifetime, particularly in new electronic media."

"The trust sought this partnership with Corbis because of Corbis' extraordinary
standards of quality and its commitment to excellence in all things," Turnage
said. "This was evident in the obvious care and creativity that went into the
development of Corbis' CD-ROM 'A Passion for Art.' We are looking forward to
working together to create an intellectually and visually exciting CD-ROM about
Ansel's life and art."

Turnage also told Photo District News that if for any reason the trust doesn't
like the deals Corbis is making, they can reject them and effectively pull the
plug on the agreement. Evidentally museums supplying content to Corbis have
generally been able to reserve this right, but this is the first photo supplier
to reserve the right. This is a tremendous difference from the 20-year, no
backing out, contract offered to photographers.

* Corbis produces and publishes innovative, high-quality CD-ROM and interactive
online products for consumers, including such award-winning documentaries as "A
Passion for Art: Renoir, Cezanne, Matisse & Dr. Barnes," "Volcanoes: Life on the
Edge," "Critical Mass: America's Race to Build the Atomic Bomb," and "Paul
Cezanne: Portrait of My World."

Streano Signs with Corbis

August 6, 1996 -

Vince Streano has signed a standard photographer agreement to supply images to

His principle reason for signing was, "I have many editorial images in my files
that the corporate stock agencies I'm currently dealing with are not interested
in handling. Corbis seems to want them, and is willing to make an up front
payment to include them in their database."

While no definite commitment has been made as to the number of images they will
take, from discussion prior to signing the contract Vince expects they may
choose as many as 10,000 to digitize. Corbis will make an initial payment
against future sales of $4.50 per image, once the completed caption forms have
been provided.

In previous contracts Corbis had been claiming a derivative copyright to all
scans they create. That language is not in Streano's contract and according to
Charles Maczy of Corbis, it has been removed from all other contracts.

I reported in January 1996 (page 7) that the standard Corbis contract had a
sliding scale for Corbis produced products which provided:

7% of cash revenues for the first 10,000 units

2% of cash revenues for units 10,001 through 50,000,

1% of cash revenues for all units in excess of 50,000

It turns out there are two other options, and the photographer can choose
whichever he or she likes. The second option is a straight 3.5% of cash
revenues across the board.

The third and the one Vince choose is:

2% of cash revenues for the first 25,000 units

3.5% of cash revenues for units 25,001 through 75,000,

5% of cash revenues for all units in excess of 75,000

These percentages are based on "the cash revenues received by Corbis from the
distribution (directly or indirectly) to end users of units ______ of the
respective Corbis Product; less refunds, returns, sales commissions to third
parties (if any), sales or value added taxes, shipping and handling charges."

The percentages are figured on the total still photo content of these products.
No other part of the "content" such as video, sound, text, design, etc. are
covered under these percentages.

Copyright © 1996 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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