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Getty's Flickr Sales, Money Spinner Or Ripoff?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the devil-you-know dept.

The Almighty Buck 98

Barence writes "Photo-sharing site Flickr is offering photographers a new way to cash in on their work. The 'Request to License' scheme allows renowned photo agency Getty to sell photos on behalf of Flickr members. Once part of the scheme, all of the user's photos will carry a Request to License link (users can't select certain photos to license in this way). People wishing to buy the photos are directed to Getty's staff, who 'will help handle details like permissions, releases, and pricing,' according to Flickr. However, the last time Getty sold images on behalf of Flickr members, it led to complaints that photographers were being exploited, with commission on photos as low as $1. So who's doing best out of the deal, photographers or Getty?"

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98 comments

THIS IS NOT A PROBLEM !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627170)

It is good for all concerned !!

Well... (3, Insightful)

errgh (744846) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627186)

It's like Lenin says: you look for the person who will benefit and, uhh.... I'd like to think that those photographers who don't have any representation at the moment and have HIGH QUALITY work to offer will benefit, those with medium and low quality work will suffer. The problem is that those with high quality work would be more likely to have representation outside of the internet, thus leaving the majority of people left to fend for themselves on flickr getting the short end of the stick from Getty. You can't pay them more just because they have low quality work and there are more of them, this is not social welfare. Those that opt in need to understand that there are better ways at getting financial representation for their work. But for those that need a little bit of cash from works they aren't making any cash from, this works fairly well.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

CrashandDie (1114135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627308)

Indeed. For most people, this simply means "I could make a buck or two", from something which most probably won't ever have any chance to be monetised.

For real photogs (and I mean, those who are already established professionally), there's a good chance their professional material never made it to Flickr anyhow. I allow myself to paraphrase Ken Rockwell [kenrockwell.com] by saying "If you want to take awesome pictures, around the world, and be allowed to take creative pictures in whichever you want, wherever and whenever you wish? Then remain an amateur, and never go professional!".

If this stuff pays for your yearly Flickr Pro subscription, you should be very grateful. I doubt anything else will ever come of it.

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627514)

Speaking as someone who:
a) has no intention of ever being a pro photographer
b) has most of my photos among the other 142 million Creative Commons photos on Flickr
Most of my requests for my photos are of the form of "I'd like to put your photo on my wall", where they didn't really need to ask permission. I'd hate for people like that to be put off by thinking they need a commercial agreement.
The flip side is those occasions when a company has used on of my photos for commercial purposes, it has been a real pain for me to chase up by myself. by the time you account for my time, the only satisfaction has been moral. So I would be happy with a service that managed commercial rights and only returned a pittance, as it is more than I would make otherwise.
However, in balancing it out, the Getty model doesn't work for me, as I want to share more than I want to become a stock photo supplier.

Re:Well... (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628952)

Well said.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32629728)

Ahh, but once you have received renumeration for your pix, now you might consider deducting your (otherwise hobby) expenses against income. (Consult your tax professional - or don't) ...Lorenzo

Re:Well... (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32630162)

So I can become Uwe Boll of photography?

Re:Well... (1)

thruthenight (1765910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627350)

those with medium and low quality work will suffer

How exactly? If their work is low quality, nobody will buy it, so no profit for person or Getty. So I fail to see any suffering there...

those with high quality work would be more likely to have representation outside of the internet

And if not in internet, where digital photographers are "more likely to have representation"? It's actually quite opposite: most of the digital photographers (professionals and amateurs) do have an internet representation, and most likely on multiple sites.

Those that opt in need to understand that there are better ways at getting financial representation for their work.

I don't think anybody would seriously consider this option as a new way to pay bills from photography or get any sort of "financial representation" (in fact, even Flickr has a better tool for this - a group called Getty Images Call for Artists, which is still too weak for professionals). This feature is purely a nice gesture for those who may eventually sell some photo(s), or would like to have a chance to gain something, if their photo is used for commercial purposes. But I don't know how naive one should be to really believe to get anything out of this program in a lifetime...

Re:Well... (0, Offtopic)

dwightk (415372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627738)

I am the walrus

Re:Well... (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627840)

I'd be more inclined to suspect that those who presently occupy the "high quality" niche would have the most to lose with a scheme like this.

There is, certainly, a pantheon of "iconic" images that are functionally irreplaceable. For certain purposes, Nothing Else Will Do. However, there are a huge number of situations where some sort of photo of something is called for; but "almost as good and a lot cheaper" will be good enough. The vast hordes of flickr happy-snappers, while they do produce a lot of dross, also produce some perfectly adequate, even good, work. And, unless the occasion has been arranged well in advance, or has been occuring predictably, the odds are way better that Joe User will be there with his point-and-shoot when it happens than that Mr. Serious Professional will just happen to be on hand with the big bag o' lenses.

My prediction would be that, if it becomes easy to grab stuff off flickr for cheap(but with the "cleared by Getty" sticker, so legal doesn't freak out), the losers will probably be the serious professional photographers. They won't be wiped out entirely, of course; but they could be priced out of the market for any sort of relatively generic pictures quite swiftly.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627992)

Mod parent up. I have a feeling that all this will do is drive prices down-- not for professional photographers that do model/product/event shoots, but for stock photo professionals..
"Why should I pay X dollars for your professional photography when I can get something that 'looks as good' for a dollar on FLICKR?"

Look at what the glut of cheap and easy WYSIWYG web design tools in the hands of amateurs has done to dev rates-- it's hard to explain to a client the benefit of having a professional build a web app/site when "my nephew can do that in a weekend".
Smart clients know the difference-- but not all my clients are smart.

Re:Well... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628100)

On the other side of it, though, it's also hard to find a professional in the vast field of "nephews" out there pretending to be such....

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628184)

> "Why should I pay X dollars for your professional photography when I can get something that 'looks as good' for a dollar on FLICKR?"

Well....why should they?

> Look at what the glut of cheap and easy WYSIWYG web design tools in the hands of amateurs has done to dev rates-- it's hard to explain to a client the benefit of
> having a professional build a web app/site when "my nephew can do that in a weekend".

Some people just want a `placeholder` kind of a site. Contact details, prices perhaps, location etc. It's not worth very much money. It's important, but so is keeping the streets clean and putting beer on the shelves in a supermarket - anyone can do it.

> Smart clients know the difference-- but not all my clients are smart.

They're smart enough to be your clients.

Having people pay to use pictures you've put on Flickr is a good thing, especially when it's Getty.

Re:Well... (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32631128)

If their nephew is willing to do all the work cheaper, and get it done in a time frame that they want, then you are over priced for the market as someone successfully under-bid you. On the other hand, the nephew is more likely to just throw things together, offer no support, and only know how to use WYSIWYG editors; so when a security flaw crops up, or they want to add something more than just a front page, the nephew is no where to be found.

Sell them the support you offer for the site you make, something the nephew probably can't offer. Or if they actually mention a nephew, leave them your card with the explaination that, when they find out the nephew can't offer what they actually want and they want you to come in and fix things, that the rate you charge may have increased.

Re:Well... (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628944)

Is that a problem? Sounds to me that the market is setting a fair price for work that even an amateur can do.

Re:Well... (1)

nagnamer (1046654) | more than 4 years ago | (#32630802)

Is that a problem? Sounds to me that the market is setting a fair price for work that even an amateur can do.

It's not "work that even an amateur can do". Amateurs will do just about anything. That's what they do. Some of them do it well, too. The way it sounds is "they are setting a price for what amateurs did for free". For better or worse.

I'm sure it's not for pros. With the price of $1, Getty surely wants the amateur stuff that stands out. Someone else has pointed out already: "cheap and good enough".

Agreed, this is Gresham's Law (1)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 4 years ago | (#32629410)

at work. Low quality drives out high quality.

Re:Agreed, this is Gresham's Law (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32629666)

Gresham's Law only applies when you can't easily tell good quality from bad. Not the case here. This is "good enough" replacing "expensive, but the cheapest we can get".

Re:Agreed, this is Gresham's Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32630192)

I'd agree with you, except my experience with professional, "professional" and very good amateur photogrophers has led me to believe that the high quality photos don't correlate strongly with "professional" photogrophers. Case point, decades ago, our wedding photographer was well reviewed in the local community. She sucked, and she pissed off my aunt when she told her that only she was allowed to take a picture when she was aranging everyone for family photos. Well, I'm an ass, so I fired her on the spot. It was beautiful. My cousin, who at the time was a very good amateur, shot the rest of the family photos and the reception. The amateur had better composed pictures, with better color balance (yes, we did still get the prints we had paid for from the "professional").

So here, we will find that, though there are artists who think their works are high quality, the artist's perception of high quality does not correlate, at all, with the market's perception of high quality, and that, while there are professionals who do create high quality work, most of the "professionals" do not create a product any better then the cream of the amateurs, and will find their arrogance priced out of the market.

Sucks when people put comments in the subject line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32630368)

doesn't it?

Re:Well... (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32631114)

For "Generic Landscape A" or "Unidentifiable Sports Scene B" Flickr is going to beat the old stock photographer. And I say this as an amateur who would love to be a professional photographer. The problem is that Joe User has, for the most part, no clue about how contracts work, what a release is, and what Getty charges others to use the picture that they are getting paid $1 for.

At some point, all of those are going to cause some backlash. Getty may catch a lot of flack when people figure out they charge up to $500 for a non-resized 17mega pixel image. Many Flickr photographers do not understand the need for a model release, so I hope Getty is prepared to teach them why they won't accept their precious picture of someone blowing out candles on a cake but will take a, in their opinion, much worse picture from someone else. And contracts; I am not even sure why Getty is dealing with the user directly anyways. Flickr has the ability to sub-license a user's pictures, even after they delete their account; perpetual and sub-licensable are nasty words. Could be that Flickr knows what backlash it would cause, or that Getty is worried about model releases.


The difference between pro and amateur photographers has been, for a long time, just about the money one spent on lenses and what they get paid for a photograph. 35mm film was the same, camera bodies had different features but were all mostly the same, the lens quality is the major difference. Amateurs with a point-and-click or lower end DSLR are getting better picture quality than they would have a decade ago, if this lets them turn semi-pro it might be a good thing. The average non-photographer with a camera will still let the camera do all the lifting. After flooding the market with badly lit scenes, the pendulum should swing back the other way. Or the point-and-click cameras may come up with better chips to take pictures with more depth/range/feeling.

Re:Well... (1)

obender (546976) | more than 4 years ago | (#32631268)

It's like Lenin says: you look for the person who will benefit

In communism many famous words were falsely attributed to Lenin. "To whose benefit?" is actually a latin adage: Cui bono [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Well... (1)

dwightk (415372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32633182)

I am the walrus...

Value (3, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627220)

The only value that Getty Images could add would be offering legal services to those who photos are used in violation of whatever the licensing terms are. Any photographer can monetize their photos under a particular license. Unless they are willing to spend time and money to collect royalities that they are due, the license is worthless. Now if Getty Images offers some sort of revenue tracking services, that's a different story. If I were a photographer and Getty Images want to take 10-20% to list my photos in their catalogue and also manage the collection of royalities for me, that would be a good deal.

When I used to consult I worked at an accounting firm that tracked royalities for music artists. That was a labor intensive business.

Re:Value (4, Informative)

jlp2097 (223651) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627632)

The only value that Getty Images could add would be offering legal services to those who photos are used in violation of whatever the licensing terms are.

Not true - they have something much more valuable: direct access to customers willing to pay for images (newspapers, press agency, online news sites, etc.). That is their main business model after all. That is also why they will pay such a small sum to flickr photographers - because they know that they are in the stronger position. Photographers / flickr users are easily replaceable, but Getty Images is not replaceable.

Re:Value (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32628812)

Photographers / flickr users are easily replaceable, but Getty Images is not replaceable.

Corbis.

Re:Value (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628168)

Maybe that is a good niche?

Have somebody who is already used to handling copyright violations offer up some service like that. If you are an amateur photographer (or even a professional who posts personal non-work images online) you don't really have the time/skill to really go after somebody using your image. You might see your image on some random company website, but you don't really know the best practice for going after them.

Getty or somebody could offer a service where the same team that guards their images, will go after the people pirating your images. I wouldn't expect them to do the searching, more of a "hey, these guys are using my image...you can keep X% of the royalties if you can get them to pay". Since they already have a team in place (a team that may not be busy all the time since they rely on finding infringements before they go to work), they could probably do this in exchange for a cut of the fee. You could also work it where they get a cut of the fee on that image as if it were a part of their catalog and then you have the option to license the image to them for stock usage (since some joe-image-pirate has already proved there is some demand for it).

Re:Value (1)

Herkum01 (592704) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628904)

offering legal services to those who photos are used in violation of whatever the licensing terms are

They may take care of the legalality of a photo but don't expect them to extend an resources to address Copyright violations. And if they do, you can beat that they are going to keep the money they get. Photographers are SOL.

Re:Value (1)

soilheart (1081051) | more than 4 years ago | (#32629112)

Well... from what I've read it's the other way around with the percentage.
That is 20% to you and 80% to them.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32630990)

"If I were a photographer and Getty Images want to take 10-20% to list my photos in their catalogue and also manage the collection of royalities for me, that would be a good deal."

It will be more like 70-90%.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32631238)

regarding the 10-20%:

music licensing site pumpaudio.com started taking 40% when they got bought out by Getty. I would assume they would be trying to hit the same cut from Flickr...

Depends on the amount of control (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627226)

If the artists get to set the price and the Getty's margin isn't too outrageous, then it would be nice. But I think they were taking a 400% markup last time, which seems rather excessive.

Re:Depends on the amount of control (2, Insightful)

AngryNick (891056) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627438)

Professional photography -- particularly, photojournalism -- is a dying art. Yes, there are a few people taking some really good photos, ones that tell stories, represent facts, or are just nice to look at, but is also a tidal wave of "high quality" images that are nothing but amateur snapshots taken with high-end equipment. A few bucks flowing through Getty will make these people feel like they have a chance at the big time...and probably cause even more of them to set up websites promoting their wares, but the "art" aspect of photography doesn't come with a $3,000 camera and a little bokeh. It just moves the $5 stock photo market from the trained professionals to the part-timers and makes it all the more difficult to scratch out a living without shooting weddings.

Re:Depends on the amount of control (2, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627500)

Oh, there is plenty of excellent photography around. The problem is that there is even more cheap junk and most editors don't need good photography they need cheap and fast images. Look around on the Internet. Occasionally you see real product photography - custom stuff showing off a specific piece of merchandise. Mostly it's a 200 x 200 cutout of the object that could be taken with an instamatic, developed at Wall Mart and scanned on a $100 scanner. Most of the 'news' photography is canned pictures of backgrounds that more or less have something to do with the article. Most website photography is just random smiling people doing something that looks vaguely interesting. You just don't need skills or equipment to do this.

Magazines set up a somewhat higher bar but recently the quality of images is scarily reminiscent of something seen on Photoshop Disasters [blogspot.com] . Getting a decent image out of newsprint is a skill that has long since be deprecated by the vast majority of photographers, editors and press men.

But if you take the time to troll around the various photography sites on the web, you will see quite a number of really good photographers creating excellent images. But since there are so many venues for this, so many photographers and so little time it's easy to get lost in the backwash.

Re:Depends on the amount of control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32630408)

Mostly it's a 200 x 200 cutout of the object that could be taken with an instamatic, developed at Wall Mart and scanned on a $100 scanner.

Do you have a store near you that sells walls and also developed photographs? If not, I'm sure you mean Walmart.

Why Slashdot Fired Michael (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627228)

January 31st, 2005, was the last day that Michael Sims, Nazi editor of Slashdot, ever posted a story or indeed was ever heard from again. But what happened that day to Michael Sims? Did his embroilment in the Censorware.org conspiracy finally catch up with him? Or was he involved in a violent, and ultimately fatal, lovers' spat with his partner Jamie McCarthy? The truth, as we'll see, is much more perverse than fiction.

On New Year's Eve of 2004, the entire Slashdot staff was throwing a party to celebrate another year of Linux propaganda, homosexual recruitment, and the profits that their Microsoft ad banners had raked in for them. Eric Raymond, Emad, Roblimo, Hemos, Taco, Jamie, and Alan Cox all planned to rape Richard Stallman later in the night. Michael had shown up late, however, and was let in on the plans after they were made.

As it turned out, Jamie was to be leading the charge against the Free Software Foundation's founder and would be the first to penetrate Stallman's hairy unwashed ass. Michael, however, was jealous of this and made secret plans to thwart their nefarious venture of homosexual rape. The event was planned for zero hours, right as the ball dropped. But Michael had other ideas.

Michael suggested they all toast their plan with Jägermeister, Eric Raymond's drink of choice that was in heavy supply that night, and the rest of the partygoers followed. While everyone downed their first shot, Michael slipped into the VA Software office's break-room, grabbing the syringe Raymond used to inject Rob Malda's semen with on the way. Michael leered at the case of Jägermeister, needle in hand.

Minutes later, Michael reappeared in the conference room with more Jäger, ready for more shots. Over the next couple of hours they indulged in several drinking and party games, spurred on by Michael, as they drank bottle after bottle of the dark brown herbal liqueur. If one were to pay special attention to Michael, however, they would note that Michael drank much less than anyone else and only from his own bottle.

Emad and Roblimo were involved in a powerful sixty-nine cheered on by Hemos and Alan whose bent geek penises throbbed near Emad's head and Roblimo's bloated ass, waiting for an opportunity. Moaning, Emad diverted his wet mouth from Roblimo's butthole and took down Hemos and Alan's cocks in quick succession. Hearing the wet, sloppy commotion behind him, Roblimo lost control and glunked all over Emad's chest.

Across the room near the podium, Eric Raymond was man-handling Rob, jamming a handgun down the back of his pants and asking him if he remembered their special night in Holland. Rob was giggling like a school girl and squirmed with all his might against the cold steel. Eric rained a shower of Jäger over Rob's head which Rob greedily tongued up even as Eric's skinny red penis entered his ass cheeks, probing for the brown prize.

The conference room was awash in gay cum and chaos, Michael noted happily as he surveyed the carnage around him. Emad had now teamed up with Alan and Hemos to rape Roblimo's ass as Rob was being pistol-whipped to orgasm by Eric, all oblivious to the massive amounts of Rohypnol they were ingesting as they drank the Jägermeister Michael had given them. It wouldn't be much longer before the drug took effect.

Another half-hour into the night, Eric paused from raping Taco's mouth and sodomizing his anus with his Glock, short of breath. His head swam and he looked at his bottle of Jägermeister. I can usually down six of these babies, thought Eric, wondering why he was now farting uncontrollably. Rob's nose wrinkled as Eric's rectum expelled another gallon of aerosolized feces into the air. Stooping, Eric held on to the podium for support.

Across the way, Emad pulled his tiny Iranian dick out from between Alan and Hemos's in Roblimo's ass and doubled over. Alan and Hemos continued pounding Roblimo's purple, swollen anus even as Emad began vomiting all over their cocks, thinking it a move on Emad's part to spice things up. Roblimo passed out again for the fourth time that night, but as Hemos slapped him, he failed to wake up.

With Emad vomiting even more violently now, Hemos wondered what was going on. He held a hand to his head as he began forgetting why he was balls-deep in some old man's ass. Alan began hiccuping, which led to uneven strokes and finally a quick orgasm which was quickly washed away by more of Emad's vomit. Nausea rose in Alan's throat as the scents of semen, man-ass, sweat, and vomit overcame him.

Michael was smiling from the corner chair at the table when the telecom beeped. He quickly left the conference room and headed toward the VA Software compound's front doors to let RMS in. As he rounded the last corner, however, Michael almost dropped his bottle of untainted Jäger when he saw that Stallman was not alone. Standing next to him was the CEO of VA Software, Larry Augustin.

His mind racing a thousand miles a minute, Michael feigned a security malfunction when he tried to open the door, leaving Stallman and Augustin stranded outside in the cold. Waving Michael off, Larry Augustin was about to get a slim-jim when he stopped, staring, right behind Michael. There, crawling on the ground, was Rob Malda in his familiar green-and-white plaid shirt, covered in chunks of semen, blood, and feces.

Rob Malda looked up at Augustin and feebly reached out to him before vomiting on the cold tile floor and passing out with a squish in his own sick. Larry and Richard's faces were masks of horror and disgust, and they wasted no time in forcing open the doors. Larry disabled the alarms while Richard checked Rob's pulse. As Richard loosened Rob's collar, Larry turned to Michae, glaring, and shouted, "What the Hell happened here tonight?"

The conference room was a mess. Feces covered the wall and in some places even the ceiling. The carpet was soaked with blood, semen, diarrhea, and vomit in a stew so unimaginable that the room was later bulldozed instead of being professionally cleaned. On the dry erase board, someone had gotten creative and drawn erect, ejaculating penises in their own feces. And behind the podium lay Eric Raymond, sleeping fitfully.

At the other end of the room, Emad was curled into fetal position surrounded by a lake of vomit and curdling shit, both trailing from his soiled form -- nothing new to him. Hemos and Alan laid moaning next to one another, limp dicks in one another's slimy hands. Behind them Roblimo's morose form breathed shallowly, ass in the air where he had passed out earlier. He farted in his sleep as Larry Augustin looked on, mouth agape.

Next week, Larry Augustin held a special meeting with the Slashdot staff. Emad, Jamie, Roblimo, Rob, and Hemos all seated themselves and the meeting began. Eric Raymond also showed, though everyone there seemed a little perplexed. Their party had gotten messy but no one remembered how. Eric wanted especially hard to remember, he thought as he patted his stomach, which still gurgled painfully.

Early in the wee hours of January 1st, 2005, Larry watched as sickened paramedics loaded VA employee after VA employee into the backs of ambulances and raced them to the hospital. They were treated for dehydration and were all given stomach pumps, enemas, and several rounds of antibiotics. They were also tested for drugs and the results were more than a little surprising. Michael, however, had been the only one to test negative.

Hour after hour went by in the VA board-room as each one of the partygoer related their experience. Roblimo, now wheelchair-bound, took the mic and shared his experience that mirrored everyone else's: After his first few toasts of Jägermeister, he remembered nothing save waking up a day later in the hospital, tubes and wires trailing from his bruised body. Roblimo was suffering from a rectal prolapse.

It was decided by a unanimous vote that Michael Sims was to be fired with due haste, as he had drugged the entire Slashdot staff in an attempt to rape them. Unfortunately, due haste took about three-and-a-half weeks so the shareholders could approve the move. Their reaction to the story removed any doubt about Michael's fate and the motion was carried unanimously. Michael was terminated January 31st, 2005.

So now you know why Michael Sims hasn't posted any new stories to Slashdot since January, 2005. Let it be a warning to you, gentle reader, of what evil lurks in the hearts of psychotic Linux zealots and Nazi propagandists. Since then the boys at Slashdot have been able to laugh it off, but consider their depraved anus-games. You might not be so lucky were Michael Sims to happen to you. You have been warned.

Re:Why Slashdot Fired Michael (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627420)

who is michael, and why do we care?

Re:Why Slashdot Fired Michael (2, Informative)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627600)

Michael Sims aka michael. former slashdot janitor. I think he moved to Canada to protest the DMCA or patriot act or anti-child porn laws or something. He was responsible for the bitchslap.pl script and generally abused his unlimited mod points.

He was also the webmaster of censorware.org (cofounded with Seth Finkelstein, Jaime McCarthy, Bennett Haselton, and others). He generally acted like an asshat [sethf.com] deleted the site contents (twice) and hijacked the domain.

Why not add a tag for this? (4, Interesting)

Oddscurity (1035974) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627232)

Why don't they just introduce a new tag, 'gettylicense', with everything after the colon being the minimum amount owed.

e.g. 'gettylicense:$5.00'

And maybe another colon for specifiers: 'gettylicense:$5.00:noads' for something that can be licensed for $5.00, isn't available to be used in ads.

Put a set of standard tags together like this, link to them on an FAQ page about the whole scheme, and let people decide on a per photo basis whether or not they want to allow commercial reuse like this.

Doing this with tags instead of something new and separate would expose the ability to upload these permissions along with the photos using whatever tools integrate with Flickr.

Re:Why not add a tag for this? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627888)

I suspect that the "specifiers" idea, unless restricted to a pre-canned list of them, with meanings spelled out somewhere, would be cumbersome; but the foolicence:$cost idea is eminently sensible, and quite arguably better than what they have in fact done.

This raises to possibilities, neither entirely encouraging:

1. They are stupid: During the course of what must have been at least several weeks, if not substantially longer, of hammering out the deal, flickr failed to come up with something that a slashdotter came up with within less than an hour of the article about it being up. That would be unimpressive.

2. They are evil: Someone involved in the flickr/Getty transaction wants it to be all-or-nothing, and it was set up to be so. I can only imagine that letting individuals do their own pricing would detract from Getty's role in doing that, and that it is better for them if the user, and their entire image collection, is kept as homogeneous fodder.

Re:Why not add a tag for this? (2, Insightful)

Oddscurity (1035974) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628058)

Well indeed, the latter part of the tag would have to be kept to a pre-canned list with carefully explained meanings, or you'd effectively be promoting contract disputes.

I suggested the noads one because I can see people not wanting their likeness abused for whatever type of product advertisement they find to be most annoying.

Why it was implemented as all-or-nothing, I'm inclined to go with your second suggestion. This idea I outlined wasn't particularly hard to arrive at.

If what they effectively want to say to downstream clients who would buy a license via Getty is, 'You only have to deal with one party: us', that still doesn't explain why they're not allowing an artist to specify a minimum fee, or indeed what images are released this way.

Technology wise it's hardly that much more work to adding just images with a certain tag to Getty's pool vs. adding a user's entire cache of images. One would imagine this to be trivial, in fact.

Re:Why not add a tag for this? (1)

coofercat (719737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32640890)

One slight kink in the road is that usually the price depends on what you're going to do with it. For example, if you're looking for a 2" square jpeg for your website, then it's foolicense:$1, but if you also want to use it in your printed literature to a limited audience, then it's foolicense:$5. You want to use it in an academic text book? Small circulation, you say, well, okay, foolicense:$10. Oh, it's a mainstream novel, with a large circulation? Well, maybe foolicense:$500.

You get the idea.

As for point 2 - They are evil - Getty are indeed evil. I have no personal experience, but as I understand it, they use the same tactics on their photographers as the *AA use on their artists - basically, pay them as little as possible, ensure that no work they ever submit leaves their grasp, even if they have no intention of using it themselves, etc etc. Get in bed with Getty at your peril. That said, for the average-joe, getting a few dollars for a few downloads of a picture of your house probably isn't a bad thing. All the serious photographers will be doing something else though.

Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (4, Informative)

ebusinessmedia1 (561777) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627244)

Not good news for professional photographers. Yes, many beautiful images are shot by people with access to cool photo equipment, but there is a lot that goes into framing context and theme for a photo that relates to a story, or even an event. This is a money grab by Getty's new owner (In February 2008 it was announced that Getty Images would be acquired by Hellman & Friedman in a transaction valued at an estimated US$2.4 billion). Pro photographers are going to have to start looking for ways to add value to their traditional services. This is a purely disruptive technology and service offering that is going to hurt the professional ranks. Flickr is also making out on this deal. Digital has democratized access to, and creation of, the photographic image. Add Photoshop and it's a whole new world. I know a few professional photographers who have been put out of business by these new technologies. I see this profession going the way of professional writers, who are still trying to figure out how to surf this powerful, disruptive wave of change. I would love to see some ideas posted on this thread about how professional photographers can adapt to these changes, and continue to put their well-honed skills into play to make a living.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627316)

Porn & the internet; simple.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627318)

Just to make sure, you DO realize this is opt-in, yes?

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (4, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627320)

It's not a bad thing that pros are held to a high standard. I realize the bar has been set much higher by the flood of cheap DSLRs, but as you said it takes skill to add value to a photograph. Pros will still be in demand; they will just have to do something more special than they used to, like crawling through the mud to get photos of wildlife or traveling to dangerous parts of the World. Mundane photos that anyone can take are now worth what they always should have been: very little.

This is the same thing that happened to all sorts of other professions, including artisan crafts, manufacturing, and IT. The world moves quickly, and it is each profession's job to stay relevant.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (4, Insightful)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627468)

I agree with your post but as an old school photographer I'm no longer sure what staying relevant entails. I came to define photography as the interplay of light and form, but when colour and content are factored in, composition gets overlayed with endless details and syntax. When I shot wildlife and wilderness scenery with a Pentax MX I used a landscape viewfinder and imagined crossed diagonals as a way to frame and compose shots, but when shooting wildlife using a 300 mm manual lens and pulling focus on an animal's eye to eyeball depth of field composition pretty much goes out the window. Now the classical ideas of composition probably aren't studied and the approach is basically a Rambo automatic fire mode which means many neophytes are likely to capture good shots that can be touched up by software. Good on them and I'm glad they have a means to pick up some pocket change in addition to having had the good luck to be in the right place at the right time.

I think pros still have to learn the basics and even go back to the ideas that came out of the Paris exposition that introduced Japanese ideas contained in the works of Hokusai and Hiroshige to artists like Toulouse-Lautrec and van Gogh and can be seen in works like the Samurai Trilogy and Lady Snowblood. But like I pointed out above, I'm not sure how those classical ideas and works can be integrated with the DSLs and software available today. I'm glad to have started out with a K1000 shooting black and white asa 100 and having to learn the hard way.

just my loose change

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1, Troll)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628286)

Grow or die. If the training you have does not allow you to work and live as a photographer you might go apply at one of those shovel ready welfare projects. Pros are pros regardless of tools and they will learn to integrate new tools into their repertoire.

Those ideas are technology-neutral (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628544)

The ideas you speak of - good composition, good artistic sense, and the like - are in the mind of the photographer not the tools he holds in his hands.

At least, they are until we get a good AI inside camera. Then watch out.

Re:Those ideas are technology-neutral (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628984)

Who needs skill or art when you have a billion monkeys? Each snapping away with aabandon because they can fit hundreds to thousands of pics on a memory card?

Good composition will happen by accident and the amateur will get his dollar instead of the professional his 500. That is if anyone can be bothered to wade through the piles of crap to find the image they want.

Re:Those ideas are technology-neutral (3, Interesting)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#32629424)

That is if anyone can be bothered to wade through the piles of crap to find the image they want.

That sounds like a good job for an out-of-work ex-professional photographer.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 4 years ago | (#32637148)

Don't worry bro, I let them do their Rambo, 9 frames a second, noisy disturbance to the bride, groom, and guests. With their super ultra dual battery packs cycling full power on the whole 5000 frames for a 10 hour wedding. Without saying a word. Let the noobs do that. Sooner or later they'd realize holy shit, now I got 20k shots here due in 2 weeks wtf am I gonna do.

Rambo's don't last. And while they're too busy cycling and keeping the silly eye in the VF, we observe, spot, and snipe. 1 shot 1 kill. (meh ok sometimes 3.. lol). I am also glad I trained in film :)

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627546)

I think the main problem is that the market for truly artisan-quality, top-end photography has never really been that large: much smaller than the number of professional photographers. They've been able to make up the gap until now, because they also owned the market for more run-of-the-mill photography, which did not really need top-end photography, but did need something better than low-quality 35mm point-and-shoots. Now that amateurs can do that medium-quality work, the people selling themselves as professionals really only have the top-end professional market left, which isn't big enough (i.e. there are too many professional photographers).

Actual recent example: someone's writing an academic book and needs a bunch of 2-by-2-inch stock photos, of things like Parthenon, or an Atari, or clouds. They used to have to license these from a professional photographer, even though the quality they need is not really particularly high. Now they get it free from Wikipedia, or a few bucks from some amateur. Is there any real reason they need a highly paid professional to take these small stock photos? If the photos were the point of the book, say a coffee-table book about architecture, sure. But that's often not the case.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627728)

That's the best explanation I've heard about the situation with micro stock (photo) companies. Well put.

It reminds me of the music industry hearing some photographers talking about getting the compensation they "deserve," and railing against the cheap stock photo sites. I'm sorry your business changed and you aren't making as much money as you used to, but these things happen sometimes. Did you really think a generic picture of a sailboat or a lake was worth hundreds of dollars?

I know that some photographers get it, but it's certainly interesting reading forums with posts like these:

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1014&message=19138945

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/micro-payment.shtml

Actually both of these posts are from several years ago, so maybe people have started to adapt...

Grad students (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628560)

Actual recent example: someone's writing an academic book and needs a bunch of 2-by-2-inch stock photos

Taking photographs for my upcoming book so I don't have to pay a stock agency ... I thought that's what underpaid grad students were for. *cue rimshot*

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628590)

I think your premise is correct: the market for artisan-quality photography used to be smaller than the talent pool.

I think it still is. The number of truly talented and original photographers isn't much higher than it used to be, because the mass perception is that buying a $400 DSLR will turn you into a "professional". The reality is that thousands of "camera enthusiasts" (not photographers) buy into this myth and never amount to anything because they weren't interested in art in the first place. Now the world is filled with worse-than-mediocre imagery printed on our brochures, postcards and publications.

However, I disagree with your conclusion...

someone's writing an academic book and needs a bunch of 2-by-2-inch stock photos, of things like Parthenon, or an Atari, or clouds. They used to have to license these from a professional photographer, even though the quality they need is not really particularly high.

In this instant-on, give-me-satisfaction-now, zero-patience age, there is not enough appreciation for quality. Stock images are usually boring, uninspired snapshots used to occupy otherwise empty space. Using a photograph of high artistic quality can inspire people to imagine beyond the text; I don't think enough people take the time to understand and respect that.

Sometimes a boring image is called for (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628666)

Stock images are usually boring, uninspired snapshots used to occupy otherwise empty space. Using a photograph of high artistic quality can inspire people to imagine beyond the text; I don't think enough people take the time to understand and respect that.

Well said, as long as you don't overdo it and don't ignore the value of space-filler photos.

If I'm a high school teacher teaching math, I don't want a boring book with boring diagrams that bore kids, but I don't want a book filled with high-excitement, high-draw photos that collectively distract from the lesson.

Even if every photo is dead-on-relevant to the lesson and is a high impact photo, one on every page would be like too many spices in a 5-star restaurant dinner.

You need the right balance between pages with no pictures, "space filler" pictures, pages with relevant but non-high-impact pictures, and the occasional very high impact, very relevant picture so the book serves its intended purpose without anything distracting from that purpose.

Re:Sometimes a boring image is called for (1)

epp_b (944299) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628908)

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. "High artistic quality" doesn't necessarily mean "wow factor". Artistic value is, by definition, understanding the purpose and portraying it. Sometimes that purpose calls for something simple (but not boring), sometimes it calls for more. Stock imagery is boring; artistic imagery portrays the requirements exactly.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1)

Shihar (153932) | more than 4 years ago | (#32634582)

In this instant-on, give-me-satisfaction-now, zero-patience age, there is not enough appreciation for quality. Stock images are usually boring, uninspired snapshots used to occupy otherwise empty space. Using a photograph of high artistic quality can inspire people to imagine beyond the text; I don't think enough people take the time to understand and respect that.

Quantity has a quality all of its own.

The amateurization of many professions has been a good thing. More people thrown at a problem, even if most are useless, results in creative and better solutions. Wikipedia is an excellent example of this. Tossing the collective minds of a few million people at the problem has produced the worlds most comprehensive, well researched, and up to date encyclopedia in all of human history. It sucks if you were an expert that used to make a few bucks each year writing encyclopedia articles, but for the rest of humanity it was a net gain.

I feel the same way about photography. Having everyone and their dog wielding a camera has improved humanity. The range of artistic expression has exploded and finding what you want has become easier. The fact that the gains from this are now diffusing into the commercial sphere isn't up setting. It certainly makes life harder if you want to make a living of photography, but for the rest of humanity the world has become a better place.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628916)

Happened to me in 2003, before Flickr was even around. I received an email from a company who wanted to use an image I had posted on a website (this one [ivorysky.com] ) in a French-Canadian geography textbook. It's not even a particularly good photo and was only taken with a 4MP Canon S45. I was just happy to be asked; think I ended up with a name-check and a copy of the book for supplying them with the full resolution version.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628008)

This is a purely disruptive technology and service offering that is going to hurt the professional ranks.

You kept talking, but all I heard was cars and buggy whip makers. Then I heard robots and auto-workers.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (2, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628040)

Not good news for professional photographers.

Flickr never cared about professional photographers. It's possibly the worst imaginable interface for viewing photos [imagicity.com] , debasing just about everything that makes photography interesting and engaging.

Contrast this with an interface like that offered by 500px.com [500px.com] . This site was also founded in Torionto by a few guys who are genuinely passionate about photography. While it consciously apes Flickr in some respects, just about every design and editorial decision is made to enhance our appreciation of photography as art and craft.

Flickr drives virtually no traffic to my websites, in spite of my having some interesting and unique photos (I live in a part of the world few have visited). Since I moved to 500px, I haven't even thought about it. Oh it's perfectly fine for sharing snapshots, but any professional, talented photographer who think Flickr is going to help their career is labouring under a delusion.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636426)

interface like that offered by 500px.com [...] just about every design and editorial decision is made to enhance our appreciation of photography as art and craft.

Funny, I wasn't aware that forcing horizontal scrolling enhanced anything.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32636626)

interface like that offered by 500px.com [...] just about every design and editorial decision is made to enhance our appreciation of photography as art and craft.

Funny, I wasn't aware that forcing horizontal scrolling enhanced anything.

Good point. I didn't mean to suggest that they're perfect. I do, however, see valid reasons behind their choices. I used that particular example because it demonstrates how even small changes from their existing UI could make Flickr immensely better.

The biggest difference between the two sites, though, is editorial. 500px is one of the few sites on the Web that I bother to view full screen. The overall quality of the photos there makes it worth the effort.

Re:Looks like Flickr and Getty making out (1)

bronney (638318) | more than 4 years ago | (#32637694)

lol 500px enhanced diddly squat. Just the pure slowness of loading up is enough to turn me off for a photo site. And I don't bother going deeper to check if there's a nice photo organizer, or great fan base groups like flickr.

A website is just a website. It's the people in it that matters.

Digital camera = Brownie 100 years later (2, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628526)

Digital cameras aren't the first time something once available to professional photographers became available to everyone.

A century ago, the Brownie camera [wikipedia.org] brought photography to the masses. The coming decades would see at-home developing and printing systems and by the mid-century instant film cameras [wikipedia.org] were becoming available to the masses.

Re:Digital camera = Brownie 100 years later (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32631232)

And somehow, during the age of the Brownie, cheaper and cheaper 35mm cameras with more features, and enthusiast range SLRs, we still hit what many people now are reminiscing about.

The difference is that, at the time of the Brownie, few people knew much about photographs. Not many people paid photographers to come to a kids birthday party and take a bunch of snap-shots. After the Brownie, the folks who still wanted a high-quality picture still paid for one; the folks who were now intrigued by snap-shots got Brownies and used them. Professionals were not selling pictures of other people's family to you, so you could hang a portrait on the wall.

Now, an industry grew around the idea that a photographer could take just generic images and get paid for it. Phrasing it that way, I am not sure why anyone thought it was a good idea, really. The real change now is not that there are cameras in the hands of the masses, but that the masses know they can get paid for those pictures.

Maybe instead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627248)

This is the market speaking, when photography took days to developed and there was no clearing house for photographs of current events sometimes a shot of a famous person committing a gaffe, a natural or man-made major disaster or some other noteworthy event could make an entire year's salary in a single snapshot. Those days are long since past as there is a glut of digital pics usually within 15 minutes of something happening being uploaded on Flikr or some other site. The same has been happening with news reporting and especially opinion columns that have been outmoded by increasingly well written blogs, aggregate news sites and comments on both that often enough are more insightful than the talking heads on scrolling news channels and op eds by all the but the top tier of news organizations and what people claim is wrong with citizen journalism, namely the amount of noise is becoming far easier to cut through with increasingly sophisticated and reliable moderation systems.

Re:Maybe instead (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32631256)

There was a clearing house, RobertStock, back in the 1920s. It is still around, doing the same thing Getty does.

They take 70% or more. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627280)

Here is the PDF of the agreement:

https://contribute.gettyimages.com/olc/agreement/sample_agreement [gettyimages.com]

The royalties (that they pay to you) are 20%, 25%, or 30%.

Re:They take 70% or more. (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627578)

While probably not that great compared to what pros get, for the ease of use and easy access to their services that you get (it's difficult to get a deal with getty), that's not all that bad of a rate for an amateur or even a semi-pro. However, the percentage is only half the picture. It also matters what the rate is. If they figure they can just use the vast array of photos as cannon fodder to make pennies here and pennies there, for them it's going to add up to huge money, while the individual photographer might make $10 a year. That's a pretty terrible income, but I'm sure some people will look at it as "hey, that paid for almost half of my flicker pro account for the year".

Re:They take 70% or more. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32628264)

That's definitely a ripoff. Those numbers should be flipped - an artist's rep rarely takes more than 20%, and at the very, very most - 50%.

Then again, most people will not read the contract and will be ignorant, but happy to get twenty bucks while Getty quietly takes eighty.

Poor compared to agency work generally (3, Interesting)

igorthefiend (831721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628636)

Most photographers in my field who've been open enough to discuss it with me are on a 50/50 deal with their agency. So this is a pretty poor offer.

It's a particularly odd turn of events in concert photography. Whereas those of us who do it with a pass are tied to 3 (or less sometimes) songs, no flash, from a particular shooting position and potentially restrictive contracts, the kid who sneaks an SLR in, or happens to get good shots can apparently now license their images in a way that wasn't authorised and as pros we wouldn't be allowed to.

Maybe they'll crack down on cameras at concerts. Who knows?

Re:Poor compared to agency work generally (1)

demonlapin (527802) | more than 4 years ago | (#32629738)

My photography - I've probably taken 5 really good shots in my life - isn't worth much. 20% of a pittance is a great deal to me. It would be a crap deal for my sister, who's a pro and can produce really great stuff, but she's not the target audience for this deal.

Re:Poor compared to agency work generally (1)

thoughtfulbloke (1091595) | more than 4 years ago | (#32630200)

It won't be your 5 really good shots that people will want. Based on my experience, it will be the photos that are well annotated with keywords and have a rich description of the photo attached, because these are the photos that people will find, and they need to find it before they can want to use it. Those photos of mine that people have expressed an interest in using have either been photos of particular species of birds with accompanying text describing the scene, or photos of specific places with explanatory text (as a textual description, not just GPS data).
It is a bit sad, but artistic quality doesn't come into it.

Re:Poor compared to agency work generally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32629756)

They may get 50/50, but it almost certainly isn't from Getty.

As a contributing photographer to Getty... (1)

TheMadScot (1835772) | more than 4 years ago | (#32632206)

I shoot editorial content for WireImage / Getty Images and can most assuredly say that I get 50% of net royalties on whatever they license. In the last twelve months, I've earned $2832 in royalties; not my most productive year but, then again, I've only shot eleven events for them in that period... probably a a total of one weeks worth of work on aggregate.

Also, on three other occasions I was asked to file a set of images as a "stringer" - that's a short way of saying "work for hire" i.e. I'd get a one-time fee for the pictures which Getty would then wholly own. I was paid $225 for each time I worked on such basis.

Re:They take 70% or more. (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32631252)

And that is Getty's standard agreement for all of the photos they sell. So, if the Flickr user's goal is to get sold by Getty, this looks like a good deal. If they want to make money on stock photography, Getty is not really the place for that.

Re:They take 70% or more. (2, Interesting)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32631308)

Ooo, just started reading that contract. The average Flickr user is screwed if they agree to it. There is some weasel wording that all content is accepted as exclusive only. Then they lay out what non-exclusive rights some people might be allowed to keep. IANAL, but that phrasing looks rather weird. Even if the photographer keeps the non-exclusive rights, they would be in violation of the contract almost immediately if the photographs are licensed under the CC allowing for commercial use.

Then there is the contract wording assuring that the photographer does have a valid model release. Local law on who is responsible for damages if that release doesn't exist is so varied that I will be surprised if Getty doesn't demand a copy stapled to the contract.

I've no doubt they take a huge cut (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627390)

However, that's the price for the ease of use. Basically if you want to sell your photos, nobody is stopping you. You can have your own site, where you sell prints for whatever price yo like, under the terms you like. This lets you do more or less "One click sales." That's a nice feature, but it means you are at the mercy of the person who sets the terms. You have do decide if it's worth it to you.

Re:I've no doubt they take a huge cut (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32628898)

Sorry, one-click sales are patented. Roll your own, you get sued.

Have a nice day.

AC for obvious reasons

Fixed (1)

retech (1228598) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627444)

Just don't license the images via Getty. There, the problem is fixed. Users can easily direct someone to their own site and negotiate sales completely outside flickr. Why is Getty's extortion a problem?

Firsthand Experience with Getty (5, Informative)

vmxeo (173325) | more than 4 years ago | (#32627544)

About a year ago I was invited and signed up with Getty through the initial program with Flickr. I had many discussions with friends who are professional photographers about whether or not I should sign up, and most echo what is being said here: the royalty rates are too low. This is a fair assessment; Getty pays between 20% to 30% commission for photos(depending on the license type), far below what most stock and micro-stock agencies will pay. For me however, the other advantages far outweighed the lower royalty rates. Having Getty handle everything is for me worth the fat cut they take. They are a large agency, and do attract a huge amount of customers, most being corporate-use type who are use to paying high amounts for photos. They will go after cases of infringement of photos licensed through them. Finally, I get bragging rights to be able to say I contract with Getty (this makes my pro photographer friends very mad. Now we have an understanding not to mention the "G" word). Basically, once I sat down, counted the cost and the other options, I decided it was worth signing up for. I've made enough money to keep me happy and be able to support my expensive photography habit.

Getty itself is in a interesting position here. For the longest time, stock photography was the domain of professional photographers. With the advent of digital photography, there's a new wave of pro-amateurs that have flourished in sites like Flickr. At the same time, traditional photographers worked themselves into a conformable niche shooting increasingly cliche photos. Creative professionals eventually started noticing they could find more creative photos on sites like Flickr and negotiate dirt-cheap rates directly with the photographer cutting out agencies like Getty out altogether. The deal between Getty and Flickr was smart play from Getty to keep themselves relevant in the changing market. There's still a need for a photo agency to do the middle-man work of contracts, licensing, releases, research, etc., at least for now.

So, in summary, this move is good for Getty, good for non-professional photographers, and not good for existing professional photographers.

btw, if anyone is interested, here's my small catalog on Getty [gettyimages.com] and a shameless plug for my site on Flickr [flickr.com]

Re:Firsthand Experience with Getty (1)

bwintx (813768) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628018)

btw, if anyone is interested, here's my small catalog on Getty

Very nice photos. I can see why pros worry about the competition. :-)

Re:Firsthand Experience with Getty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32629028)

Nice photoshop.

Re:Firsthand Experience with Getty (1)

muridae (966931) | more than 4 years ago | (#32631332)

Alright, that photo of a quarter, you can call yourself a pro for that one. ;-) The HDR thing is over-done, but I can't argue with photos of NYC. It works, for some reason.

Getty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32627678)

What does getty have to do with photography?

CHDK Re:Getty (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628634)

What does getty have to do with photography?

That depends, how many hours before someone adds it [wikipedia.org] to CHDK [wikia.com] ?

Enlarges the market (2, Interesting)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628384)

This is a good thing. The whole market for commercial photography is enlarged when a huge number of images ranging from good to excellent becomes available at affordable prices. A few photographers may make less money now, but a far vaster number will make a little money they never would have had. Nobody will mourn most of yesterday's canned, overpriced "stock" images.

$1/use may be more than my photo is worth (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628448)

I'd settle for pennies per use for my photos depending on the use. If it's a one-time use in a small-circulation disposable brochure like a church bulletin, I'd even prefer "my share" of an annual flat-rate-for-access scheme like the one CCLI [ccli.com] offers for music. The artists get paid but the customers don't get nickled and dimed and dollared to death.

Its not about the money, its much more... (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 4 years ago | (#32628650)

...the ego is so much more.

If you feel the love you'll fork out the $25 to flickr to be "pro" which means that you'll have an even larger capacity to exhibit your work. Others may be motivated by the desire of a vocation or creative challenge, in a flat job market. Vanity Press offerings will tie in nicely with this type of professional incentive.

If great painters have to die to be valued then semi pro photographers must go broke buying pricey apparatus. Its a pay to play incentive to get hooked into that annual pro fee.

don't fool yourselves (1)

jern (585127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32629074)

Getty is in the business of making money, they might dress it up with the "need to inform" or "supplying power visual media", but at the end of the day shareholders need to get paid, if they can do this through some cheaper means and still make the cash they need, they will. So my big prediction; flickr users are going to get used!!!

Mark Getty: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32631558)

"Intellectual Property is the oil of the 21st century."

Great way to sell your soul for a few bucks.

Probably not the most popular view but.... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32635024)

Photography is easy. Seriously really easy. It is to art like golf is to physical sports. Sure there are a lot of extra things you can learn to get a great photo BUT to get a pretty nice photo it really doesn't take much talent at all. Often an eye for art and colour a little info on composition and you are there, buy a nice camera and learn some Photoshop touch up techniques.

There is only room in the world for a handful of full time photographers. And the majority of the reason they are the people making money isn't intrinsic ability but the skill to sell BS. There are 4.7 billion pictures on Flickr. That more than faaar more than covers the need for most photographs. Need a picture of stonehenge? You have 32,200 pictures to choose from. Look at only the top 1% of those, assume the rest is garbage. You've got 322 to choose from for the angle/lighting you want. Maybe there will be 5% of them in the right set up. You have 15 artists now with similar pics to compete on price. One of them likely took it without really giving a shit and will let you use it for a buck or nothing.

Photography is going to die. As everyone gets cameras the law of a million monkeys comes into play (AND old pictures aren't going anywhere). Within 10years flickr will probably have 20billion pictures to chose from.

You are dealing with supply and demand here. Supply is increasing exponentially while demand is very slowly moving upwards. Get over it.

OT: Music will follow this trend eventually given a big enough population and people in wealthy enough positions to spend time learning instruments. (Youtube music is the start of this trend). Only a tiny fraction of people that can play an instrument will make money. Likely a much higher % than photographers due to logistics but the trend will happen.

Re:Probably not the most popular view but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32635912)

You'd be surprised - there's more to photography than you know (clearly). But your ignorance is far from uncommon.

There are quite a few pro photographers in the world. Some of them shoot weddings. Some shoot for advertising agencies. Some shoot catalogue work Some shoot the images you find in a company's annual report.

One of the skills people pay for when choosing a pro photographer is the ability to get reliably high quality images quickly. Sure, you could spray and pray, and hope to get a usable image out of thousands, but it's easier to hire someone who can get it on the first shot. Means you aren't wasting the time of the subject (whether they be the CEO or the bride and groom).

You probably think that the advent of word processing meant that we didn't need professional writers anymore. And that YouTube meant the death of the movie industry.

Re:Probably not the most popular view but.... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#32659978)

Its flickr, the spray part has already happened, no need to pay them for that. Jobs to photograph events like weddings news and catalogues and such will always be there. But 'I need a pretty photo of a smallish bridge in venice at sunset' is filled by flickr. So is 'I need a generic clean person smiling as a backdrop to show how good my phone service is' (works for annual reports too). 'I need a picture of this x to sell on ebay' is well filled.

hi (1)

helentaylor21 (1838134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32638144)

Unless they are willing to spend time and money to collect royalities that they are due, the license is worthless. Now if Getty Images offers some sort of revenue tracking services, that's a different story. If I were a photographer and Getty Images want to take 10-20% to list my photos in their catalogue and also manage the collection of royalities for me, that would be a good deal. http://latestnewscheck.blogspot.com/2010/06/tel-launches-suns-world-cup-song-from.html [blogspot.com]
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