Enough Is Enough

Posted on 10/20/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (4)

Why can’t the three major distributors – Getty, Corbis, Alamy – set reasonable prices for textbook use?  As licensors of the images they should be able to set the price. Instead, they allow the major publishers to dictate to them what they will pay. This happens because the agencies are so worried about losing market share that they constantly try to undercut each other and play right into the hands of the publishers.

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Copyright © 2011 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.  


  • Bill Bachmann Posted Oct 20, 2011
    I have been lecturing the same phrase in stock for years as far as dropping prices, Jim. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    I agree with you 100% for once! Good article.


  • Charles Cecil Posted Oct 20, 2011
    Bravo, Jim! Now what's next? Shall each of us forward this article to our agency? Perhaps a few thousand copies of it will get management's attention. Have you shared your article with Getty, Corbis, and Alamy management? Chuck Cecil

  • John Harris Posted Oct 21, 2011
    We have been arguing against this"creative destruction"of the photographers' existence for some while now. The executives at the big suppliers will not agree as they see the anti competitive price/volume model as their modus operandi and in their short and long term interests. They persuaded photographers/producers to acquiesce –and agree to supply with no floor under the pricing on the grounds that the "management knows best" years ago. To think we just needed to “get their attention" this too seriously underestimate their commitment to this model. For the last decade at least it has been argued (here in particular) that this situation is the natural, inevitable and undeniable result of "the free market" – I hope suppliers can see past that and get organised, though the utility of amateurs in preventing any return to such “restrictive practices" is well understood by Alamy etc. and none of the CEOs will want to agree to any set of fees however reasonable. A trade group of agencies (BAPLA/ CEPIC was once such) would need to push against that business model (rather than championing it) in the interests of sustainability and an organisation of photographers would have to press from below for rates that allow them to live. We have the NUJ in UK but such has been the success of the "savvy marketers" in convincing photographers that “there is no alternative" to this spiral of decline - any opposition to which is dismissed as silly idealism- the now lowly snapper is typically now enveloped in a acute debilitating demoralisation. This must be overcome -for a start we need to stop seeing markets as inexorable forces and recognise they are the result of decisions made in particular interests to which ours are now counterposed. Enough is indeed Enough and I hope others will join us in saying “No". We need not so much “fair trade photography" as “fair rate photography".


  • Bryan Alexander Posted Oct 22, 2011
    Photographers need to stand together to make the big 3 distributors understand that we can't go on handing them our pictures to sell at prices far below what they cost to produce. Remove or restrict images for educational publishing.

    I can't see this happening, the agencies know that the photographers are too scared. Just for the record, the world doesn't end if you take away your pictures. We have taken our pictures down and our clients are returning to us and paying reasonable fees.

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