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Getty to snap up Flickr users' pics

The logos of Flickr and Getty Images

TEXT OF STORY

Kai Ryssdal: Alright, all you amateur photographers out there listen up, because this one's for you and it might eventually mean a couple of bucks in your pocket.

The popular photo-sharing website Flickr has made a deal with Getty Images. Getty's going to be able to go on Flickr, find pictures it likes and thinks it can sell and then start paying photographers for their work.

Jeremy Hobson has more.


Jeremy Hobson: Getty makes almost $900 million a year distributing photos to companies like ad agencies and media outlets. CEO Jonathan Klein says the Flickr deal helps Getty tap into the next generation of talented photographers.

Jonathan Klein: We have a partnership with a very strong brand which has a tremendous amount of traffic where our customers are already playing and looking for images but they cannot license them.

About 27 million members share their photos on Flickr and 54 million visitors stop by to see them every month.

Now, Klein says, not all the members are going to get a Getty contract.

Klein: From a quality perspective, I would say it's varied. There are two billion images.

Now Getty won't buy individual images. It'll put willing photographers on contract.

Flickr's General Manager Kakul Srivastava says Getty offers Flickr users credibility in the commercial photography world.

Kakul Srivastava: The premium sort of traditional licensing models that are generally associated with professional photography.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Brian Smith thinks the deal could stop a freefall of photo prices industry-wide.

Brian Smith: There has been a big push in the industry for lower and lower and lower and I think with Getty's knowledge of the industry, hopefully photographers that contribute to Flickr can get what their work is worth.

Getty says that'll likely be between 250 and 500 bucks a photo.

I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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Hello Don. I think you got me wrong no a couple things. I'm not complaining about anything here--just having a conversation with those commending in this forum and trying to bring up different perspectives. I'm not working for big companies and am not quickly jumping on any ban wagon to bash corporate America either, for i believe there's a good and bad side to everything depending what angle you are looking at.

Just so you know where i'm coming from. I'm in the creative business, do design and take commercial photos occasionally, and have worked with professional photographers as well as purchased stock images for my clients. I run a small business myself. And my wife is a photographer. So, I can see from different angles on this conundrum and not taking any camp.

I think this deal is about introducing "amateurs" to the world of pro photography. I don't think Flickr users are that naive and about to be in some major scam by big companies. Everyone knows how much Getty is selling photos on their site. If you can get a few hundred bucks for an image you took on a weekend or on vacation trip--not a bad deal for an amateurs without spending years of formal training.

It's obvious that Getty and Flickr are capitalizing on this new market--good for them. On the other hands, the amateurs are getting their "small" share of the pie as well. I brought up the cost issue for starting a business in the context that these amateurs don't have to spend a dime to market their photos and be able to sell their photos on a professional platform, which can cost millions to build and market.

Since the beginning of capitalism, there's always been a struggle between the working class and business owners. The good part of Capitalism is everyone has a chance to make it big if you have the dream and vision. I come from a Communist society where there's no class struggle supposedly--idealistic right? But who wants to live there? Some people are happy they can make a living and put food on table for their family, and some could never be happy what they can earn. At least in a free society, everyone has a chance.

The gentleman from Honolulu seems to think artists, musicians, graphic artists, image creators are just a bunch of whiners who don't understand business. Quite the contrary, the commenters are trying to educate the unwary that the Getty/Flickr deal will take unfair advantage of Flickr users. This advice comes from people who ARE in business, some for many years.

If the gentleman from Honolulu has problems with the costs involved in launching his own business, this is not the forum to broadcast those personal woes. After all, it is free market. He doesn't have to participate if he doesn't like it, to paraphrase him.

It seems there are two central points from the last few comments. Some think the Getty/Flickr deal is something fishy and the artists are the losers because of this deal. Well, Flickr is a FREE site i believe. So you do have an option--take your artwork off the site and start your own gig and set your pricing. It's a free market. No one is forcing you to sell your work for cheap.

Also, i don't think expecting to use someone's photo for free or at an unfair price is the issue. Serious professional photographers DO command high price--$5,000 day. Many of my small business clients simply can't afford to pay this kind of price. Some amateur photographers (or even some pros) iare more than happy to sell me an image i like for less than $50. Go to Dreamstime.com to see it yourself.

If you are starting a photography business, do you want to pay $10,000 or more for a marketing campaign for an agency to do it for you? Many simply do it themselves to save cost.

The market always balance itself between supply and demand. If you are a regular lister to the show, this is economic 101 stuff.

This is public relations at it's best. Remember the "weapons of mass destruction". This puff piece is along the same lines. It's WHAT they're not saying about this deal, we should be questioning.

The great credibility of APM is being used to sell the war; oops! I mean stock.

I gotta bridge for sale. Anyone interested?

Yes, let's encourgae every amateur to hope their 'lucky shot' is picked up by Getty to earn them a few dollars from image sales - just warn them first that they are cutting the financial throats of any of their children hoping to start a future career in photography.

Why do people expect to pay little or nothing when wanting to use good, well crafted images produced by hard working and experienced professional photographers who have spent years learning their trade? Do we expect a restaurant to give us a free well cooked meal? Or be given free gas for our cars?

Most professional users of photographs are publishers, designers, ad agencies etc - do they work for nothing?
No way!! so why should photographers when they produce beautiful images we want to see and use?

I do feel sorry for the hard working artists trying to make a decent living. As mentioned in my earlier note, this is an old problem as far has history goes. It's time for the school system to require in their curriculum for all artists to take business and marketing classes before handing them a fine art degree. Besides being good at your craft, being savvy about business and marketing can give you powerful tools dealing the corporate America and get you the deal you want.

After all, we are in a free market economy and the issues we have are the by-products of the system. The ones who are business savvy win in the end. I'm a designer/photographer myself, and my learning in business only helps to protect my work, it also helps me to succeed in the business world.

I have been reading about the direction much of the imaging industry has been going on the Pro-Imaging.org site and have warned many of my friends to stop using supposedly "family-friendly" imaging sites to post their photos.

I have told young parents and grandparents alike to send pdf files when sharing photos to avoid the greed that was inevitable on commercial photo sites.

Good to see corporate America is busy destroying working artists and photographers. Funny when you think how Much J. P. Getty loved art, sculpture and photography. Do not be fooled, this is yet another nail in the coffin of good legit photographers getting paid their fair share. And no, I'm not a photographer.

Steve T wrote

"Also i'm tired of paying ridiculously high price for photos i need to used for my creative projects."

I too am tired of paying for creative work, I hear I can now even get graphic design done for peanuts on some microstock sites, would that save me commissioning your Steve?

You could always steal them Steve, why pay anything?

Do you charge what youre worth steve or the bare minimum?

wake up and smell the coffee guys, people are so short sighted in their rush to impress their friends and see their shots in print or on the net.

They should realise that they are killing the industry and they will never ever make any money from photography. Infact they probably wont even cover the cost of their kit!

Do not be scammed fellow pro-ams! This is just another way to steal your images and if they succeed in the the even bigger scam of "Orphan Works" you will be lucky to ever see a cent. Just read what Ed Greenberg has to say, don't believe the vested interests!

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