Random Thoughts 44

Posted on 2/23/2002 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)



February 23, 2002

Solus International Network

SolusImages has assembled a network of 11 foreign agents covering 15 of the leading
foreign markets. These agents will handle sales for Solus photographers of every image
Solus represents. All agencies will be distributing SolusImages' first catalog (titled
'Content') beginning in April.

The countries (and agents) in SolusImages' international distribution network include:
Australia (Photolibrary.com); Austria (Picture Press); Belgium (Image Store); Brazil
(Keystock); Canada (First Light); France (Image du Sud); Germany (Picture Press); Hong
Kong (Asia Images); Israel (Ego Images); Italy (Eye On); Japan (Orion Press);
Netherlands (Image Store); Singapore (Asia Images); Switzerland (Picture Press); and
United Kingdom (The Photographers' Library).

Solus' president, Arie Kopelman, points out that these agents have shown great
enthusiasm to represent SolusImage.com as well as the print catalog. "In addition to
our catalog images, Solus will be supplying all the images online at SolusImages.com
to each agent, who in turn will incorporate Solus' complete collection into their own
local website. Solus photographers will get foreign representation for all of their
Solus images, not just catalog images, in every major overseas market that exists,"
Kopelman says.

This represents the first in-depth global penetration by any of the "new model"
agencies that have emerged in the past two years. Karen Bernstein, formerly Director
of International Relations for FPG, worked with Solus to put together this group of

Workbookstock Ad Campaign

Workbookstock.com has launched a new ad campaign that features the tagline, "We
provide extraordinary images. The rest is up to you."

The first phase rolls in late February with the "Creative Genius Competition," a
creative contest with a cash price that asks entrants to design a spec ad using one of
workbookstock.com's stock images. The contest will be promoted in direct mail and on
their web site.

Negotiating Strategies

A couple thoughts on negotiating strategies.

Start High - When Oriental-rug salesmen and charitable fund raisers start out by
mentioning a ridiculously high price, or a suggested donation, it's not because they
think they'll get it. Rather it is to establish the highest possible reference point
in the minds of the buyers or donors. They know that they will get more than they
would otherwise by starting high and coming down.

Fairness - On the other hand consumers react very negatively to what they perceive as
price gouging. Thus, it is important to be able to explain why the high price you
quote is fair. This can be tricky. For example research has shown that people think it
is fair for an auto dealer to suspend a $200 rebate program for particularly hot
models that are in short supply. But only half as many thought it would be fair for
the dealer to impose a $200 surcharge, even though the final price would be the same.

Textbook Reuse In Australia

Photographers who had images published in the John Wyley book Science Directions
in 1989 have recently discovered that the book was re-published in Australia in
1993 and none of the photographers were paid for this Australian usage.

It appears that shortly after the book was first published the John Wyley School
Division was sold to Nelson Thompson Learning. Thompson Learning then licensed rights
to Pearson to re-publish the book in Australia. In this transfer there evidently was
some confusion as to what rights Wyley had originally purchased and sold.

Not all the images in the original text were used in the Australian edition, but if
you had images in the original you should contact ben.killingsworth@pearsoned.com.au
to determine if your images were used and arrange for compensation.

WWW.retrofile.com Formed

Chris Ferrone of Xenofile Images, Inc. and Bob Roberts of H. Armstrong Roberts have
formed a joint venture to market their collections of classic and vintage stock
imagery. They have launched a searchable database of over 15,000 images at
www.retrofile.com. The images are from the early decades of the 20th century through
the 1970's (Yes, the '70's are now considered "classic!").

Mailing Copyright Registrations

The U.S. Copyright Office in Washington has not received U.S. Postal Service mail
since October 17, 2001. Thus, copyright registration applications mailed during this
period will be delayed. Although it is anticipated that all mail addressed to the
Copyright Office will eventually be delivered, additional delays are anticipated.

The Office currently receives deliveries by commercial carriers such as Federal
Express, Airbore Express, DHL Worldwide Express and United Parcel Service without any
delays. However, there is a plan to eventually divert all such deliveries to an
off-site processing center and this would result in delays of several days before the
Office's actual receipt of the deliveries.

If it is essential that your material reach the Office immediately, it may be
advisable to have it delivered by hand. For more information on delivery disruption
consult http://www.loc.gov/copyright/mail.html.

Fair Use For Thumbnails; Full Size NO

In the case of Leslie Kelly vs. Arriba (now known as Ditto.com) the U.S. Court of
Appeals has decided that the thumbnails created by Arriba with its web crawling
software fall under the "Fair Use" exception to copyright infringement. However, the
uses made of the full size images were considered by the court to be infringing uses.

The court confirmed the lower court's decision that creating a database of thumbnail
images to search for images on the web was fair use despite the fact that the
thumbnails were commercial uses of the creative works and were used in their entirety.
The court called this use transformative which was defined as improving access to
information without harming the market for the original images.

But the appellate court reversed the lower court decision on the full size images. It
found that the presentation of the full size images through the "linking and framing"
techniques used by Arriba, the market for Kelly's original photographs was harmed.
This use also infringed Kelly's "right of display", an exclusive right that copyright
holders have under the Copyright Act.

Legal experts caution not to overly expand the meaning of this case to include all
thumbnail use, or all full size image use on the internet as the specifics of each
case may be important.

Consumer Products At Corbis

Corbis photographers recently received their sales reports for "Consumer Products" and
"Prints and Posters" sales. Many are dissatisfied with the results of this line of
business and asking that Corbis stop marketing their images in this manner. Due to the
small royalty percentage paid for these uses, in many cases photographers receive only
pennies per use and the number of uses are not significant enough to make this source
of revenue worth considering.

Even when the photographers have hundreds of sales many feel that if any of these uses
were to displace a single editorial or commercial sale they would lose money. Some
have suggested that Corbis should only use wholly owned Royalty Free images for these
products and that Rights Protected images should no longer be licensed in this manner.


A story in "The Deal" published in London indicates that the 3i Group, plc is planning
to take visual media international (vmi) public. The 3i Group is a minority
shareholder in vmi, but is not involved in the management of zefa or vmi. The flagship
of vmi is Zefa, headquartered in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Tomas Speight of Zefa says, "It has been no secret that visual media international
(vmi) is considering going public as an option at some point in the foreseeable
future. Currently, however, there are no immediate plans along these lines, nor is
there a schedule."

Zefa has also announced the departure of Bas van Beek from the vmi-group. van Beek was
director of Benelux Press BV which was acquired by vmi about a year ago. Both sides
report that the separation was on very amicable terms. Bas van Beek has decided to
take a "sabbatical break" and pursue some personal interests.

Image State

ImageState has released new RF and Footage CD titles's. In 2001 ImageState added over
60 new CD titles to their line and they expect to continue to add at least the same
number in 2002.

Trend Watch

Trendwatch's Graphic Arts Storage Media Study indicates that Ad Agencies are moving
away from investing in removable disc storage technologies such as zip and jazz and
31% plan to invest in DVD writers in the near future. The study finds that there is
increasing acceptance of DVD as a storage medium, especially for archiving purposes.

Tracking Images Online

Once your images are online can you assume they will always be available to the
customers? No.

Nature photographer Tom Brakefield makes the point that it is very important to
regularly check in on the sites where your images are posted, do a search on your
name, and make sure all your images are still there.

With some of the sites he has seen images suddenly disappear for days at a time. The
webmasters are constantly "tinkering" with these sites and each time they add new
images or make changes in the way the site operates glitches can appear.

Often the site operator doesn't realize there is a problem until someone reports it.
The customers aren't likely to report such problems (if they can identify them), they
will just go to another site that works better.

Given the complexity of these sites, no site manager can test everything all the time.
If you want your images to be seen, check the site regularly and report problems.


Here are some things to be aware of if your stock agency files for bankruptcy. The
first step is usually a court supervised reorganization (Chapter 11 in the U.S.).

During this stage all debt owed is frozen giving the company time to file a plan of
reorganization. This can take months. No portion of any money owed for the licensing
of your images prior to the bankruptcy filing will be paid until after the
reorganization plan is presented. Typically the plan might provide for a payout of the
monies owed over a period of months or years. It is also possible that you will never
receive more than a small portion of what is owed.

During the period while the reorganization plan is being developed all images that
were on file with the company must remain with the company, even though they are your
property. Images can be returned if the photographer had terminated his or her
agreement prior to the filing of the bankruptcy.

To protect yourself if you have any suspicions that an agency is in trouble:

  • - Check regularly with the agency to make sure you are being paid as soon as
    the agency collects on any sales.

  • - Get on a monthly payment basis, not quarterly.

  • - If the images are not selling try to work out a deal to terminate the contract
    and get originals returned before any bankruptcy is filed.

  • - Volunteer to assist in searching the files for your images. If the company is
    in trouble they will not be able to afford the staff costs necessary to search through
    the files and return images.

  • - Try to maintain a friendly relationship. The owner will be under attack from
    all quarters, and is more likely to be willing to help someone who is sympathetic,
    rather than belligerent.

Copyright © 2002 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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