Editorial Licenses Move Toward RF

Posted on 11/30/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Users report that Getty’s standard editorial license offers the following: “Worldwide editorial use for 15 years (may not be used for commercial purposes or print covers). Unlimited seats. No limits on impressions and print runs.

This is essentially a Royalty Free license for images that are being offered as Rights Managed. Unlike most RF, the price charged is not fixed and based on the file size delivered. The price may be negotiable depending on the customer. But once the image is delivered, the customer can use the image in multiple ways over a period of 15 years as long as the use is editorial in nature and not for some commercial purpose, or for the cover of a printed product.

In some senses many standard RF licenses are more limiting because they have the restriction of a maximum 500,000 print run. However, in nearly all cases, for a small additional fee, the customer can purchase an “Extended License” that offers an unlimited print run.

Over the past decade, or so, publishers have found more and more ways to deliver the information they produce. Each bit of information within a publication may have a separate life of its own. All the ways it might be used are seldom immediately apparent at the time of first use.

It should be noted that Getty says these terms only apply to images in their Editorial collection and do not apply to Creative RM licenses. However, it is unclear exactly what the terms are for Creative RM licenses and many of the RM images are licensed through "Premium Access" deals at very low prices. 

In the Editorial deal book publishers may re-publish parts of the material found in an original title in e-books, abridgements, adaptations, other print and digital ancillaries, translations, reprints, and custom versions as well as totally new editions.

Digital delivery, and its increasing dominance and variety of options, have added to the complexity and exacerbated the problem. The speed at which decisions are made and must be implemented has made it almost impossible for customers to carefully negotiate every use.

Thus, publishers have demanded more flexibility in the way they can use the images they purchase. In order to continue to make sales most agencies, like Getty Images, have been forced to offer broad rights with any license. The ones that try to hold to the old pricing structure tend to not make many sales.

Why Not Higher Prices?

A huge percentage of the images purchased are not used very broadly. Publishers are reluctant to pay much for those images. Since they don’t know which ones they will be, they don’t want to pay much for anything.

The industry also suffers from a huge over supply of almost everything so without much trouble publishers can easily find a cheaper source.

And, most publishers are struggling, losing money and looking for every way they can to cut costs.

What’s An Image Creator To Do?

Image creators don’t like the lower prices. Identifying subject matter in greatest demand and concentrating on only shooting that kind of imagery may help, but it is no guarantee. Finding assignment customers who need images they can’t find in stock may be one solution, but that’s not easy either.

The most important thing is to accept the new reality. Recognize that it is not going to change no matter how much you complain. Move on to some other way to earn a living is you need the money.

Copyright © 2015 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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