A new controversy is brewing in the world of stock photography. Just last month, it came to light that Getty had agreed to license 5000 of its stock photos to Google while paying the creators of the images a meager one-time fee of $12. Now, one of Getty’s most successful stock photographers is claiming that his account is being terminated in the aftermath of the first hoopla.
Drive across the west end of the Burnside Bridge in Portland, Oregon, and you’re bound to see the iconic Portland, Oregon sign, commonly known as the “White Stag sign.” It’s an oft-photographed sign that was named a historic landmark back in 1977.
If you were planning on featuring it in a photo shoot, however, you’ll now want to bring your checkbook in addition to your camera — the city of Portland is now charging fees for anyone who would like to use images of the sign commercially.
Back in early December, Google announced that the company would be adding 5,000 new stock images of “nature, weather, animals, sports, food, education, technology, music and 8 other categories” for free use in Docs, Sheets and Slides.
At the time nobody knew how Google got these images, who took them, or what kind of license they came with. The mystery continued on unsolved until a week ago when an iStocker discovered one of his own images in the search results. As it turns out, the use of these photos is the result of a little known licensing deal between Google and Getty Images. Read more…
Creative Commons licensing is becoming a common option on major photo and video sharing services — Flickr and YouTube, for example — but it’s not something that 500px offered — until now. The fast-growing Flickr rival is now onboard with flexible copyright agreements, rolling out Creative Commons licensing options for all of its users yesterday.
In an interview we published this past weekend, popular photo blogger Thomas Hawk predicted that one of the major trends over the next five years will be “monetization for non-professional photographers.” Paul Melcher of Thoughts of a Bohemian made the exact same prediction today:
The next major disruption in the photo world will be individual licensing. The ability for any individual to license images directly [...] Getty has been fighting these trends by cutting deals with photo sharing platforms like Flickr, but for how long? Those who license via Getty do not appreciate the very low commission rate they receive and since they are already contacted by image buyers directly, can easily jump ship if offered other solution.
So what will be the effect? While, like today everyone is a publisher, tomorrow, everyone will be a photo agency capable of licensing their images with one click from anywhere. They might license only one image a year each, but multiplied by millions worlwide, they will seriously impact the photo licensing world.
So which entrepreneur or photo-hosting service will be the “first mover” in this yet-to-emerge market? Whoever it turns out to be, that person or company will both make a killing and turn a photography-related industry on its head.
The Next Big Thing [Thoughts of a Bohemian]
Image credit: Photo illustration based on hand full of polaroids by and Money Hand Holding Bankroll Girls February 08, 20117 by stevendepolo
Apple is constantly engaged in its fair share of courtroom battles, but its latest one hits a little closer to home for photographers. Swiss photographer Sabine Liewald has filed a lawsuit against Apple for using her “Eye Closeup” photograph to promote the 15-inch MacBook Pro’s Retina Display.
Did you know that in California, “rights of publicity” are transfered to a celebrity’s heirs after the celebrity dies? This means that photos of the famous individual may continue to be subject to the heir’s licensing fees when the photo owners want to license them out for use in commercial products. A court ruling issued last week provides an interesting case study into how this California law can affect photography rights. PDN writes,
Owners of Marilyn Monroe photographs have won a decisive legal victory [...] which has affirmed that Marilyn Monroe heirs have inherited no rights of publicity to the actress’s likeness.
The decision means that Monroe’s heirs cannot control how images of the actress are used commercially, and cannot demand fees whenever those images are licensed for use on calendars, posters, memorabilia, or other products.
[...] The appeals court affirmed a lower court decision that said Monroe was a New York resident because her heirs had insisted upon that for 40 years in order to avoid paying California taxes. The courts said the heirs cannot now claim Monroe was a California resident in order to take financial advantage of California’s posthumous right of publicity laws.
So basically, if Monroe had been a California resident, using photos of her for commercial purposes would still require hefty fees. Since she wasn’t, photo owners can tap into the lucrative Monroe memorabilia industry — which generated $27 million in 2011 — without paying a dime.
Owners of Marilyn Monroe Photos Win Big Legal Victory Over Actor’s Heirs [PDNPulse]
Flickr’s Creative Commons licensing options allows its users to grant licenses that allow creators to make use of the photographs under a set of terms (e.g. attribution, non-commercial). Most photo sharing services have yet to bake Creative Commons licenses into their websites, but starting today, Instagram users can now release their photos under CC — albeit through a third-party solution.
It’s called I Am CC, and is a project started by LocalWiki founder Philip Neustrom that aims to “make the world a better, more creative place.”
Texas wedding photographer Allen Ayres was recently contacted by an advertising agency that wanted to use one of his wedding photographs for one of its pharmaceutical clients. Ayres had in mind to ask for $1,000, but wisely decided to ask for advice over at Digital Wedding Forum.
Polaroid the company was named after the inexpensive polarizing film developed by founder Edwin Land back in 1929. Over the years it became an iconic brand name associated with easy-to-use cameras and instant photos. After the company went bankrupt in the early 2000s, the brand name was sold off to a holdings company, which began licensing the name to third parties.
Up until now, the brand name has been used for mostly photography-related products, but that’s set to change: Polaroid has partnered with British retail chain Asda — owned by Wal-Mart — to branch into other electronics, including televisions and media players. The gadgets will hit store Asda shelves by the end of the month.