Random Thoughts 41

Posted on 11/30/2001 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



November 30, 2001

SAA Builds New Global Organization

The StockArtistsAlliance was founded in 2001 with the express purpose of representing Getty
Images photographers in contract negotiations. Now that the Getty Images negotiations have
been completed, the SAA is moving to extend its membership to all professional stock
photographers licensing Rights-Protected images directly or through a stock agency.

They expect to begin accepting new members in early 2002. For more information go to
www.StockArtistsAlliance.com .

Their mission statement is as follows:

SAA MISSION STATEMENT Founded in 2001, the StockArtistsAlliance is an international
organization of photographers who produce images for rights-protected license. The mission of
the SAA is to protect and promote the business interests of its members with regard to the
worldwide distribution of their intellectual property.

Membership in the Stock Artist Alliance contributes to the strengthening of solidarity among
stock photographers. As an SAA member, one gains access to important information about the
stock photography industry and becomes part of a diverse global community of experienced
stock photographers.

Empowering each member and enabling them to produce and distribute their work more
effectively, SAA facilitates the sharing of information, goodwill and mutual support across
continents. Through dissemination of educational and business information, industry analysis,
legal support and use of our good offices, SAA provides its members with the tools required
to create a business environment that enhances their individual ability to benefit from the
licensing of their work.

As an advocate for its members, SAA encourages the use of fair contracts and ethical behavior
at all levels of the industry. SAA monitors the industry and serves as an ombudsman for its
members' interests in dealing with agencies and other distribution channels.

Getty's Royalty Free Sales

I have a clarification on the numbers I reported in
Story 441 (Where's RF Headed?) What
Jonathan Klein said in the conference call to investors was that almost 1/3 of the STOCK
photography sales were RF. I interpreted this to mean "total sales," but that was not what
Mr. Klein meant by "Stock Photography" sales.

A number of Getty Images brands are not included in Klein's definition of "stock
photography". Among the brands not included are: TIB Footage and Energy, as well as the
editorial brands Allsport, Liaison, Newsmakers and the archival brand Hulton/Archive.

The Creative brands that are included in the "Stock Photography" definition are: PhotoDisc,
EyeWire, Artville, Stone, TIB, FPG and most of the VCG brands. Also included under Creative
are sales of the third party brands like The Bridgeman Art Library, FoodPix, Illustration
Works, National Geographic and Allsport Concepts.

I believe sales from the footage, editorial and archival brands represent about 25% to 28% of
the total revenue generated by Getty Images. This leaves, at most, 75% of Getty Images total
sales that come from the brands they define as "Stock Photography". One-third of the 75%
would mean that Getty's total RF sales are around 25% of their total gross sales. Getty's
total sales for 2001 are expected to be about $454 million. Twenty-five percent of that would
be about $113 million for the three RF brands PhotoDisc, EyeWire and Artville.

Michael Grecco Settles With Corbis Sygma

Michael Grecco has announced that, "The parties and all legal counsel involved in the case of
Michael Grecco vs Corbis Sygma et. al. are pleased to announce that the matter has been
resolved to the satisfaction of all parties."

Grecco's suit alleged that Sygma had lost over 2,500 of the celebrity photos he had delivered
to them over the years. This was more than 30% of all images delivered. Grecco terminated his
contract with Sygma in 1998 when he discovered that they were licensing rights to some of his
celebrity images in violation of the agreements he had made with the celebrities when taking
the pictures. At that point he learned that many of the images he had delivered could no
longer be found.

Grecco's action against Corbis was brought as a breach of contract and lost property action,
not as a copyright suit. This made it possible to have the case heard in a local state court
rather than federal court. Copyright actions, because they must be heard in federal court,
are usually much more costly to pursue and take much more time to reach a settlement.

Marketing Royalty Free

Photographers who are trying to market Royalty Free discs they have produced might want to
check out Central Stock and Brand X as possible distribution channels for their products.

At the moment many of the major Royalty Free producers get the vast majority of their images
from photographers who are willing to shoot under the close supervision and direction of the
producer's production team. Each disc must have a consistency of style and this usually
precludes the use of images from several different photographers on any single disc. Most
producers also pay a lot of attention to the balance of the total offering of their company
in an effort to make sure they don't have an excess of images in a particular subject area.
This strategy often makes it difficult for photographers who have produced their own discs to
get their work considered.

Central Stock specializes in providing a distribution network for small, independent
suppliers. They welcome suppliers who may only have one, or a few discs. Their goal is to
offer a diversity of visual styles. Eighty percent of their sales come from outside the U.S.
Their catalogs are thematically based. The next two catalogs will be one on Objects (with
clipping paths) and one on People. For more information go to www.centralstock.com or contact
Joseph Vermeren at 941-761-3339.

Brand X is always interested in talking to photographers, but would prefer to see a selection
of images that they can edit rather than a completed product. They are also looking for
themes that are not already covered in their library. For more information go to
www.brandxpictures.com or call 866-427-2639.

Science of Selling Images

In August Wired Magazine did a story on Getty Images' efforts to analyze trends and fads in
order to predict what images will sell in which markets in the future. See the story at


Lewis Blackwell, senior vice president of creative direction says, "How an image is used
tells us why it sells."

Wired says Getty analyzes "sales data, website searches and client requests to find out what
images are in demand and what are actually selling," and then uses that information to
determine how
photographs need to be shot.

"Every picture we put in our collection is targeted as a result of creative research,"
Jonathan Klein said. However, Klein also admitted that, "It is subjective, it's not a
science. But we try to make it as empirical as we can."

Corbis vs. Webshots

Webshots (www.webshots.com) is an online photo community that allows individuals to post
images. Other users of the site can order prints of any image found on webshots. Some of the
images people are posting are copyrighted images that have been grabbed from professional

Webshots was sold to Excite-At-Home and is now tied up in the Excite Chapter 11 bankruptcy
reorganization. The individuals who originally founded Webshots are attempting to regain
control of the Webshots division of Excite and continue to operate it as a separate company.

Many photographers have complained to Webshots about the unauthorized use of their images.
Webshots has always taken the position that they are not obligated to police their web site.
However, they have, in the past, agreed to remove images when photographers identify specific
images and formally notify Webshots of the misuse.

Corbis believes Webshots is obligated to police their site. In some cases images come up with
the Corbis logo emblazoned across them.

Corbis has filed suit against Webshots and claims that it is unfair and illegal for a company
to allow their users to take images represented by Corbis and containing Corbis' trademark
without authorization, and then create competing products using those images.

The suit is temporarily on hold due to the bankruptcy, but Corbis intends to pursue the
action aggressively if Webshots survives the bankruptcy. Corbis is interested in talking to
any photographer or stock agency that has found their images on Webshots, or has brought an
action against the company.

National Geographic And AOL

National Geographic has announced a multi-year cross promotional agreement with America
Online. AOL will distribute and integrate
Nationalgeographic.com's content to more than 33 million AOL and Netscape users. NGS will
promote AOL in its magazine titles.

Under the agreement, National Geographic will have a major presence across the AOL service,
appearing in several channels including Research and Learn, Travel, News, and Kids Only. The
content will also be showcased on Netscape's Research and Learn, and Travel channels.

National Geographic will be featured on Shop@AOL, including offers for National Geographic's
line of maps, specialty gifts, CD-ROMs, educational toys, travel accessories, and
subscriptions to its three magazines.

There is no indication that the people who provide the creative content for National
Geographic will receive greater compensation for these additional uses of their images and
text. Undoubtedly, these additional uses will generate huge financial benefits for the

In recent court cases contesting National Geographic's use of images on the "108 Years of
National Geographic" CD-ROM, it has been learned that gross sales of this disc set and
related disc products have exceeded $60 million dollars since the initial release four years
ago. To date no freelance photographer has received anything for the use of their images in
these products.

Copyright © 2001 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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