The Association of Photographers (AOP) has joined forces with an international coalition of photographic trade associations, led by the Stock Artists Alliance (SAA), to protest Getty Images' plan to launch a $49 web use (500 px wide, 72 dpi) across all licensing models (RM, RR, RF).
According to AOP: "It’s widely recognized that Getty Images is seen within the industry as being the leading supplier of stock images. We expect other image suppliers will quickly follow suit and are deeply concerned about the impact this model will have on those members who rely on stock."
The launch of such a model means that photographers who currently have work with Getty will see a cut of about 95% on a like for like basis, according to AOP.
One member who shared recent sales figures with AOP said: ‘I had three web sales on Getty’s Stone brand last month, grossing $3361.00. Better than $147.' Added AOP: "...this member would have to sell these images around 23 times to break even with this “average” month of his. The images he sold were for use in “typical” web sites, so an unusually large license or two hasn’t inflated the figures he’s talking about. He’s not convinced that such a multiple is achievable and we concur."
Furthermore, the AOP believes this will have a negative impact upon all rates, stock or assignment, so this issue is of industry-wide significance to all photographers.
According to the AOP statement, financial believe that the new model is flawed and the value of Getty shares has continued to move downward, with many analysts re-rating it to their ‘Sell’ category and expressing concerns that the projected increase in sales volumes won’t be realized and will fail to make up for the dramatic price cut.
AOP Members who contacted the group have been vocal about expressing their disagreement with Getty’s move and the long-term effects it will have on business.
Here’s a small sampling of what some association embers have said, according to AOP:
AOP Awards Gold Winner and IPA Professional Photographer of the Year 2007, George Logan, said:
"I have been becoming increasingly disenchanted with Getty for some time and this $49 ‘promotion’ is the final straw. I find it truly insulting that I might receive approx £12.50 per image sold. I do not want to be associated with a company who would sell off my work in such a cheap and crass manner.
"This is not what I got into photography for and I know I am not alone...every other photographer I have spoken to, including many of their major contributors, feels the same way.
"I shall no longer submit images to Getty and will withdraw my existing collection at the soonest opportunity."
Fellow AOP Member and AOP Awards winner Nick Daly said:
"I deplore what Getty [is] doing and have done to their contributing photographers. I deplore also what they have done to their staff, most of whom enjoyed good working relationships with their photographers. I have seen all the friends I have made at Getty over the years leave or be made jobless.
"I fully support any action direct or indirect, which may provoke a dialogue with Getty or their representative."