SAA Takes on Stock-Image Infringement

Posted on 9/7/2007 by Julia Dudnik Stern | Printable Version | Comments (1)

The Stock Artists Alliance has released a report addressing the image-licensing industry’s key challenge, Infringements of Stock Images and Lost Revenues. The report addresses issues including image piracy, misuse of legally licensed images via repurposing or redistribution and the difficulty of copyright enforcement.

More importantly, SAA addresses how and why the industry is subject to this theft. It provides estimates of the industry’s uncollected revenues and cites findings of a study conducted by the Israel-based image-monitoring company PicScout.

Such statistics are quite scary to those who make a living by licensing intellectual property. Current infringement rates are categorized as “unacceptably high.” During the four-month study period, one out of every 15 Getty-owned images was misused. Unsurprisingly, infringement rates are highest for market leaders like Getty and Corbis and in the United States, which accounts for 64% of all image misuse. The U.S. is followed by Germany (23%) and the U.K. (13%).

The copyright infringements documented by the SAA/PicScout study spanned nearly all industries; however, the misuse of images in Web-design templates marketed to small businesses was very pronounced. In many cases, infringing images were used as primary visuals and on multiple pages. Often, the sites identified as pirating images within the study’s sample also demonstrated illegal use of other images, suggesting a common pattern of multiple infringements.

The SAA white paper also describes the industry-wide initiatives and suggests specific steps to minimize image piracy and minimize and recoup financial losses. In this vein, SAA criticizes Getty Images’ recent lowering of Web-use licensing costs to $49 as a move that “devalues rights-managed imagery and thus undermines efforts to collect lost revenues from Web-based infringements.” SAA Executive Director Betsy Reid stresses the importance of united action in addressing copyright infringement: “We can achieve a lot through collective efforts that we cannot achieve alone.”

Copyright © 2007 Julia Dudnik Stern. 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


  • Jagdish Agarwal Posted Sep 12, 2007
    If copyright infringement is so high in USA, UK and Germany, one can imagine how bad it must be in other countries.

    For example, in India most small newspapers, magazines, greeting card manufacturers, playing card manufacturers, brochures for small industries, etc. freely use images from the world wide web. The medium resolution images are printed on paper with inkjet printers, water-mark touched up and scanned directly and used for small jobs.

    Once, over lunch, a representative of one of the large stock photography distributors mentioned that ' their ratio of medium resolution downloads to sales is frightening.' Stock photography industry seems to be going downhill at a fast pace.

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