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Getty's Flickr Sales, Money Spinner Or Ripoff? 98

Posted by kdawson
from the devil-you-know dept.
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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Getty's Flickr Sales, Money Spinner Or Ripoff?

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  • Well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by errgh (744846) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @03:46PM (#32627186) Homepage
    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... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CrashandDie (1114135) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:03PM (#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... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by thoughtfulbloke (1091595) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:44PM (#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.
    • 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 o

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:27PM (#32627840) Journal
      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... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dr Herbert West (1357769) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:49PM (#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.
        • 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: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Threni (635302)

          > "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, locatio

        • by muridae (966931)
          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
      • by Hatta (162192)

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

        • by nagnamer (1046654)

          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".

      • at work. Low quality drives out high quality.
        • 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".
      • by muridae (966931)
        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
    • by obender (546976)

      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].

  • Value (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dave562 (969951) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @03:49PM (#32627220) Journal

    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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by jlp2097 (223651) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:02PM (#32627632) Homepage Journal

      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: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

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

        Corbis.

    • 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

    • by Herkum01 (592704)
      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.

    • Well... from what I've read it's the other way around with the percentage.
      That is 20% to you and 80% to them.
  • 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AngryNick (891056)
      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,
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ColdWetDog (752185)
        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
  • by Oddscurity (1035974) * on Saturday June 19, 2010 @03:50PM (#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.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @05:36PM (#32627888) Journal
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Oddscurity (1035974) *

        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 sa

      • by coofercat (719737)

        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

  • by ebusinessmedia1 (561777) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @03:54PM (#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.
    • by rm999 (775449) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:05PM (#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.

      • by mindbrane (1548037) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:32PM (#32627468) Journal

        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: (Score:2, Troll)

          by mrmeval (662166)

          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.

        • 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.

          • by Nursie (632944)

            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.

        • by bronney (638318)

          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. (

    • 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.

      • Grad students (Score:2, Insightful)

        by davidwr (791652)

        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*

      • by epp_b (944299)
        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. No
        • 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 page

          • by epp_b (944299)
            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.
        • by Shihar (153932)

          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 enc

      • by s7uar7 (746699)
        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.
    • by Culture20 (968837)

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grcumb (781340)

      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 mad

      • by schon (31600)

        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.

        • by grcumb (781340)

          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.

      • by bronney (638318)

        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 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.

      • by muridae (966931)
        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 go
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 19, 2010 @03:59PM (#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%.

    • 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 photographe

    • 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

      • 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.
        • 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 expla
    • by muridae (966931)
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by muridae (966931)
      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
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:19PM (#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: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

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

      Have a nice day.

      AC for obvious reasons

  • by retech (1228598)
    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?
  • by vmxeo (173325) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @04:49PM (#32627544) Homepage Journal

    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]

    • by bwintx (813768)

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

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

    • by muridae (966931)
      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.
  • Enlarges the market (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jabberw0k (62554) on Saturday June 19, 2010 @06:46PM (#32628384) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • 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.

  • ...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

  • 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
  • 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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