Why I Quit Getty Images and Why I’m Moving My Stock Photography Sales to Stocksy

Dear Getty, I Quit

Dear Getty Images: I quit.

I just sent Getty Images the email above, which, I think, is how I terminate my relationship with them. Hopefully. I’m not 100% sure, but I can’t seem to figure out any way to do it online, so I’m hoping that email works.

Why am I quitting?

Well, I’m sitting here typing this at 4:56 in the morning on my “vacation,” getting ready to get an early up to the top of a mountain in Idaho to shoot sunrise and I’m not a skier. It’s dark, it’s cold — and maybe, just maybe, with $10,000 worth of camera gear on my back, I’ll get something that works from this shoot. After I shoot several thousand images today I’ll go home and spend hours and hours processing them. Finally, I’ll upload them online and maybe sell some. If I do sell some though, bottom line is I feel that I’m getting ripped off with Getty’s lousy 20% payout.

I don’t care how you look at it, for me, 20% is not fair. It’s too low. I’ve been complaining about it for years, but have just grumbled along because Getty felt like the only game in town for stock photo sales. Artists and photographers *deserve* more than 20% payouts. I understand that Getty has the buyers, that Getty is the 800 pound gorilla, but still, photographers deserve a better split than 80/20 against them.

There are other reasons why I’m quitting Getty Images too though.

Since the Carlyle Group (read their wikipedia page actually, it’s fascinating) has taken over Getty Images, things seem to have changed. Maybe Getty’s parent is trying to wring as much profit as their stock business as they can, but it feels like artists are getting the short end of the stick even more these days.

In the private, closed, Getty Photographers group, managed by Getty on Flickr, there were almost 3,500 replies to a thread about Getty’s deal with Google Drive. Whatever you think about this deal, there are ALOT of photographers who are unhappy at Getty about an arrangement where they receive a pittance for their work. The 20% payout is already pretty low, but when you combine it with a $12 image buy, some photographers feel that was pushing things too far.

The fact that Getty made this deal doesn’t bother me as much as how they’ve handled the criticism from their members over it. The above mentioned thread is now closed and locked by Getty Images. As a result of the thread, a member was banned and removed from the group — this is the second time that a Getty photographer has been booted from this group that I know of. An earlier member Alex Hibbert was also banned for criticizing Getty.

One of the Getty admins in the group, said that the more recent member was booted not because of his criticism, but because he wasn’t respectful with his criticism. I asked the question if respectful criticism would be allowed to stand and was told yes. I’m going to post this blog post into that forum and I guess we’ll see if this is true. For me, while critical, this post is entirely respectful. I’m still not sure it will get to stay there though.

When you start to see a company fighting with it’s contributors, banning contributors, even FIRING contributors, it makes me feel like maybe it’s time to go. This doesn’t feel like a healthy “relationship” any more. Paying me 20% and keeping 80% already felt a little insulting, but I think we deserve to be treated better.

So where am I going?

This has been the hardest part of all about leaving Getty earlier, there didn’t really seem like there was any place good to go — before today.

Today I’m pleased to announce that I’m going to start selling my stock photos on Stocksy.

Stocksy is a revolutionary new photo agency started by Bruce Livingstone, the founder of iStockphoto. A lot of my friends are there selling photos now too. I’m pleased to be joining some of the most talented photographers I know in a new sort of photographer-owned coop.

While Stocksy isn’t exactly “occupy” stock photography, rather than me getting 20% and Carlyle getting 80%, I’ll be paid a much fairer 50% payout. The exciting part about Stocksy though isn’t just the higher payout, it’s that the members of Stocksy actually OWN the agency. That’s right, after paying out costs, Stocksy will distribute profits to it’s members — so members will get dividends and actually hold real equity in the business.

Now THAT is an idea that I can get behind, and one that’s been long overdue. Fairly compensating photographers while running an agency with some of the most talented photographers in the world today? Sign me up!

Today Stocksy is launching to the rest of the world. You can read more about that here.

If you are a photographer, consider signing up. One bit of warning here though, Stocksy is being *very* selective about the photographers that they are adding. I have felt a little bad because some of my good friends and talented photographers haven’t been asked to join.

Especially early on, Stocksy is trying to build a super premium library of images and sometimes this means making hard choices about who you will launch with. They are also trying to keep Stocksy small where the editors and members can know each other on a personal level. I’ve already made lots of new friends at Stocksy and I’ve appreciated the valuable advice that the editors there share with me about why an image may or may not be right. At Stocksy editors and management do Google+ hangouts with photographers. At Getty all they seem to do is fight.

If you are an image buyer, consider looking at images on Stocksy the next time you need to buy. Not only will you find some of the best, fresh, and most authentic images in the marketplace today, you can feel good about buying them, knowing that they are treating the photographers fairly.

As fellow creative professionals, you are one of us — if given a choice, where would you rather your money go — to actual photographers who create the images, or to Carlyle? Even if you don’t care, still give Stocksy a look, because the imagery there really is miles ahead of what you see in the run of the mill stock photography library out there today.

Let Stocksy make you and your clients look the best they possibly can. You are the ones we need to embrace this idea most of all.

I’ll blog more about Stocksy as time goes on. For stock photography it will be the primary place where I market my own images (like the other photographer members my images for sale on Stocksy will be exclusively offered there) and I’m looking forward to a long and successful relationship.

Here’s Stocksy’s announcement on today’s launch.

Getty Images Before and After

Update: well that was fast. I’ve been banned from Getty’s Forum. I’m fine with that as I’m not a member, but I’m told that my post criticizing them has also been deleted. I hope those that are still in the forum can keep up the good fight, demanding more for photographers. I’m disappointed (although not surprised) that after being told that respectful criticism would be allowed that Getty deleted my respectful criticism there.

Update #2: More from Stephen Shankland over at CNET. PetaPixel republished my article as a guest post here. My good friend Trey Ratcliff is also joining Stocksy.

Update #3: Fast Company’s article on Stocksy here.

Update #4: a good overview about the buzz around Stocksy.

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65 comments on “Why I Quit Getty Images and Why I’m Moving My Stock Photography Sales to Stocksy
  1. Lisa says:

    Subscribing to comments …

  2. Lisa says:

    For real this time =)

  3. BrianM says:

    The dawn of a new era! :)

  4. Vivienne says:

    I am totally with you on this TH. I think this is such a well-written post that details the issues and frustrations on the part of photographers vs. Getty currently.

    I think the tides are turning in terms of the stock industry and Stocksy is at the forefront of a change in not only the model of how to foster great relations with photographers and clients but also in the demand for a different level of photography and art when it comes to stock imagery.

  5. JRae Chip says:

    Hey TH
    I’m glad you wrote this. Artists have been getting the short end for a while, and I’m glad you wrote this to make your opinion known. I’ve been a stock photography nay-sayer for a while because of the injustice I’ve seen against photographers. It sucks seeing people get rich of your work! Good luck with Stocksy. I’m looking forward to hearing how it turns out for you.

  6. I’ve long appreciated your conversation surrounding, and position on, the issue of stock photography. Thanks for speaking clearly and succinctly on this. I appreciate it.

  7. tolga sipahi says:

    Nice move,
    good luck!.

  8. How do I sign up, or apply to be a photography contributor on Stocksy?

  9. Joe Sterne says:

    This sounds like a brilliant idea!

  10. Also: the “support” box on Stocksy is broken. They can’t even respond to support requests. There is no “contact us” page.

    It’s by invitation only? Really, this is great, and yet.. of absolutely no use to me, at the moment.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Daniel – The site literally just went live so I would give it a day or so before requesting or trying to contact them.

    It is by invitation and also I believe there will be a link that allows people to apply via supplying a small selection of their work.

  12. Vivienne says:

    Daniel- Sorry, that last anonymous comment was from me. Itchy trigger finger!

  13. Jon Bauer says:

    I think your thread was deleted already!!!

  14. anonymous says:

    Thread was deleted.

  15. Vivienne says:

    Here is the Call to Artists link for those looking to apply to become a part of Stocksy:

    http://www.stocksy.com/calltoartists/

  16. Ryan Wright says:

    Good read Thomas, I echo your sentiment s with Getty.

  17. Thank you, Vivienne, much appreciated. I’m a ShutterStock video contributor, but they haven’t asked me for photos yet. And 50% is better than 40%, which is ShutterStock’s percentage for video sales.

  18. Thomas Hawk says:

    Yeah, I’ve been locked out of the Getty Contributors forum at this point. Which makes sense since I’m no longer a part of that organization. I do find it disappointing though that they’d delete an honest post that is critical of their poor 20% payouts though. That’s a conversation that should be allowed to happen.

    Claudia, in their forums told me that posts wouldn’t be deleted as long as the criticism was respectful. I think my blog post is entirely respectful and am disappointed (but not surprised) to see her go that route.

  19. Swapnil says:

    *I don’t care how you look at it, for me, 20% is not fair.*

    Bingo. That’s the point. Can’t agree more.

  20. Thomas Hawk says:

    Daniel, the site’s only been up for a few hours. It’s day one so I’d imagine that some of the kinks will be ironed out in the next few days. :)

  21. afellowphotographer says:

    As much as I can understand your point, Stocksy doesn’t seem to offer an alternative for. Not only that the inventor of microstock runs it (which is kinda the personified evil himself), the prices are just way too low. I still earn much more money on an average sale at Getty.
    And as much as I don’t like what Getty does at the moment, deleting a thread where you praise an alternative to Getty is somehow understandable I guess…

  22. Mike Pallas says:

    Interesting article. Perhaps you should consider writing instead, after all it wont cost you a dime in resources just your time. While I agree with the points you raise I fail to have much sympathy with those who get involved with a big corporate concern. Organisations like Getty care not a jot about the contributors. You are just an exploitable resource in their eyes stupid enough to do business with them and suitably punished for it with a 20% reward for your labour. Marx must be turning in his grave right now.

    As for the Carlyle Group. You really are talking about the worst of corporate fascism with that crowd. They must be responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children in Iraq. Why would you allow yourself to be exploited by these evil cretins?

  23. Manuel says:

    Thomas,

    I sympathize with your feelings about 20% being too low. Which is why I hope you’ll consider uploading your images for stock sale to http://www.mediafocus.com

    For high quality images we offer starting royalty rates at 40% with an additional 5% for 2000 and 4000 images in your inventory. You can earn up to 50%.

    Please check us out.

    Cheers,

    Manny

  24. Christin says:

    Congratulations and good for you!!!

  25. Thomas,

    When I first learned about you a couple months ago on the Flickr promo it really surprised me that you were with Getty at all. I gave up on stock agencies years ago. Check out photosource.com. Take 100% from each image sale. Cut out the middle man. Done.

  26. sergio says:

    Fashion photographers take thousands of shots. It blows my mind someone doing landscape needs to shoot that many. Spray and pray.

  27. Interesting.

    Did you have any recent images that were Rights Managed? I only had some from (I think) a year plus ago, nothing recent.

    20% sucks.

    Prices seem kind of capped/limited on Stocksy, do they have any plans to add Rights Managed images where the bigger money is?

  28. PkD says:

    I’ve moved to imagebrief for the same reason.

    One of their other photogs made a vimeo about Getty…funny/sad.

  29. Andrew says:

    And flickr’s still circling the dead pool, visitors are down by 20% versus a year ago, despite their supposed revival. Sad.

    Now they are a dying site with a great iPhone app.

    Can’t believe that the take for Getty is 80%.

  30. tom hermans says:

    Didn’t know it was that bad in the stock photography world..
    Good for you standing up, and all the luck to all in the venture you’re taking with stocksy. Seems a brilliant idea.

  31. Jasmin says:

    Getty does not respect artists. On their popular agency “Thinkstockphotos.com” the images don´t have the name of the photographer attributed. It just says: collection: istockphoto or Getty or Hemera etc…the artist doesn´t even exist and if a customer buys images there, he cannot credit the artist even if he wanted to.

    For them we are just a faceless mass of suppliers.

    I know stocksy will succeed, and I hope other smaller ventures flourish. It will bring diversity and choice to the market.

    This will be a good year for artists, for designers and maybe even for Getty. If enough artists leave, they might rethink their approach to dealing with the artistic community.

    The internet brings transparency into business. They can try to isolate artists in their own locked-in communities, but they can´t stop people from getting information elsewhere.

  32. Looks like things are looking up Thomas.

    Having just discovered this site recently, I haven’t had time to find out too much about it, but another site that’s appears to be worth a look is http://www.pond5.com.

    They have a 50% payout, plus…

    >> You Set the Price for Your Media. Buyers pay what you want them to pay, and you can change the price whenever you like.

  33. Adrian says:

    And Stocksy is better how?

    50% payout on less than 10% of Getty’s RF prices is still only half of the 20% pittance I get from Getty.

  34. Thomas Hawk says:

    Adrian, pricing is a complicated thing in stock photography. The price an individual image is sold for is one characteristic. A photo for sale for $1,000,000 is not one million times better than an image sold for $1. Is it better to sell one image for $3,000 once or is it better to sell one image 300 times for $20? Of course we’d all like to get as much as possible for our photos in terms of both price AND volume, but you can’t always get everything you want.

    In any event, Stocksy is not 10% of Getty’s RF prices. I have images that have sold for Getty for less than $10, though collection relationships and bulk buying arrangements. The RF payout at Getty is quite variable.

    The BIG difference though is that after our 50% payouts are collected, photographer members receive the bulk of any remaining profit after the costs of the agency are absorbed in the form of dividends. Instead at Getty, any remaining profit after paying photographers 20% and business operating expenses go to Getty/Carlyle. That is a HUGE difference.

    If anyone knows the stock photography market, it’s Bruce. In terms of pricing I think they will manage them to our benefit because they follow this part of the business a lot more than I do.

  35. Interesting developments. Since Stocksy is a royalty-free image collection, I assume model releases are required for all uploaded images that include people? That requirement has always been a tricky issue for me, which is why I’ve thus far avoided stock sites other than Alamy, through which I’ve managed to license a few non-released photos for editorial use. (Though I do have the Getty licensing turned on for my Flickr site, I’ve yet to be contacted by them and don’t really expect to license any photos through Getty.)

  36. Thomas Hawk says:

    Hi Julie, yes model releases are required.

  37. Dmitry says:

    Why not just go to Shutterstock?

  38. Darin Cowan says:

    Why not stand up your own site on Amazon Web Services, and score 100% from your photo sales?

    If you don’t think you’ll be high volume, a tiny instance (enough to run a small web site) is free for a year.

  39. Stefan Korth says:

    Getty? Who is Getty???

    Without disrespect, but Getty is just a website address that can be so easily forgotten once you have better alternatives by hand. The www is not faithful and forgiving, it can be a bitch sometimes. And an online service can die as quick as it rose. I once worked for a direct competitor of eBay in Germany, we had more users, more transactions than eBay Germany, but one wrong move (actually it was a dozen), and we lost it all to eBay. And if I recite today who I worked for, no one remembers the service at all..

    I have no pity with Getty. I doubt that they will be able to handle the artists as they do and not lose them to other services. And a competitor is always just around the corner. Getty, R.I.P.

  40. Otter says:

    About time you smelled the coffee!! Or should I say the stench of Getty. I have a long time friend who was with Image Bank New York. It was also eaten up by the Getty monster. His income went from $100,000 to $10,000 under Getty!
    But they’re not the only. Another friend is with Corbis; he receives cheques for $10 for a single image sale!
    Good luck with your new agency.

  41. Ron says:

    How is RF going to work for you? Typically it is only good for the agencies.

    Even though the Stocksy model seems more photog friendly, have you run the numbers on whether devoting yourself to RF will provide you the income, lifestyle and residuals you want to live on?

    Have you given up on RM sites? Stock Connection, Alamy and others are sticking to their RM guns.

  42. Thomas says:

    Just curious Thomas, why did it take so long to check that Getty is ripping off the photographers?

  43. Geof Kirby says:

    There was a very strong rumour circulating in 2011 about Getty moving RM images to RF if they had not had a sale in 3 years. Was there any truth to this ? The APA were very critical of this proposed move which would effectively destroy the long term value of some images and remove photographer’s control of the licensing model.
    One of our local papers carries a daily “from around the world” 2 page picture spread. Pictures from Alamy, Reuters and so on all carry “photographer/agency” credits. Those from Getty just have “Getty” as a credit. Seems to me that the photographers still dealing with Getty are a bit like the proverbial frog in boiling water.

  44. It was rather amusing to see a Getty ad in the right column here while reading your blog-post… :)

  45. Meg Moss says:

    Hi Thomas. Congratulations on the leap of faith. A hard call sometimes. These posts get such passionate responses. I am a co-founder, Director and Curator at ImageBrief. I see one of our photographers has commented here. I don’t want to run the risk of seemingly utilizing your post for promotion so instead invite you to contact me. We’d love to have you as part of our community and it leaves you free to explore your other avenues. However, we are Rights Managed only and also selective about our contributor group. We pay 70% to photographers. You are the artist after all. Feel free to register or contact me to discuss. Thanks, Meg

  46. You know what would be an interesting approach? Getting together as a group of photographers and ask the agencies to submit a bid, so that not every photog is up against the agency individually. No idea whether that’s feasible at all, but it might just work. Granted, all photographers are also competing for the same picture sale (assuming they offer similar stock), but some “unionized” group sure has a little bit more leverage. Just my 2 cents.

  47. Nadiim Nafei says:

    I think this is great.
    I do some photography myself, not much though.
    I’m however a freelance graphic designer and use imagery for my work. The problem I have encountered over the years is that stock photos was mostly too expensive to buy, especially as a freelance graphic designer working beside my studies.
    Over the years I’ve been building my own texture library as high resolution photos of textures in the right color or density or detail for the job was always a pain to find.
    I feel really happy for you and other photographers for getting better rights and deals, something graphic design suffers from often too.
    About Stocksy there are several things I don’t understand.
    I do understand why Stocksy wants to be selective, as a page can easily be filled with useless garbage all to often when not being sorted on the internet (Flickr contra 500px or Deviantart contra Dribble anyone?) Though it’s dangerous to be too fine filtered. First off I don’t understand why they want to keep the users such a small number as they might get to know each other, sure socialising is great, but keeping the user amount might not be the right way, instead Stocksy end up with a small library, not able to offer just that image one is looking for. Furthermore, there are so many great ways to socialise already, why make another place? One could simply add those interesting photographers on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Behance, Flickr w/e people use.
    Another big downside to being too selective is that the imagery is being chosen from one point of view, which makes it pretty onesided what kind of imagery is on the page.
    The last downside might be the most important one. All the imagery at Stocksy is pretty, neat, beautiful, and downright gorgeous, but what about the -stock- in stock photography, yes stock means that there is no limit to how many can have that single photo, but what about the stock, as in “we have a lot of different photos for youre every need”, so my question is: Where are the photos of textures, patterns, items on white background or anything, all the stuff you would use in digital artwork of almost any kind?
    I would love to support Stocksy, both because it support photographers, it makes it affordable for users and buyers, its neat, nice and easy to look around and it gives the bigger sites a great overhaul in both looks, user interface, way of business and thinking/perspective. But I can’t find the photos that I need and that I normally would need from a stock photo page, which is critical both for graphic designers (and other working in the area of digital media and graphics) but also for Stocksy, as those would be some of their greatest users and clients in my honest opinion.

    Hope this is valued as constructive, and respectful, criticism.

    Regards
    Nadiim Nafei

  48. Tsu Takamoto says:

    Let’s clear one thing out of the way….

    Thomas Hawk, your work was on Flickr (for all to download for free), and was invited to participate in the joined venture of Flickr (Yahoo!) and Getty’s partnership. Getty didn’t forcefully put a pen in your hand, and torture you until you signed the contract. You, and only you, signed the contract for your work to be in the Flickr collection. The bottom of the barrel in the stock photography world. What do you expect from such a low-end stock collection?

    You paint the brush of deceit very wide, painting a picture that Getty as a whole only gives 20% to photographers. You’re wrong on so many levels, and your ignorance of this industry is showing. Getty is vast. Getty is huge. Getty owns the market. Almost every single design agency, magazine, publication house and so many other companies around the world, log onto the Getty site on a daily basis to look for imagery. The images they buy are from all various collections. Those collections (if your work is good enough to be accepted by a photo editor) get a percentage cut that is today, industry standard. A much larger percentage, double in fact, what you state in your post (and sometimes more, depending on your name and how good your work is). So no, Getty as a whole does not pay 20% royalties to photographers. The low-end Flickr collection does. The collection your work was in, that you wanted in, that you signed to be in. So your rant shouldn’t be about Getty (Flickr, really) it should be about you, addressed to yourself all in first person.

    You yourself are the only one to blame. First, you shouldn’t have nor should continue to upload your work to Flickr. If you do, make it private. People download and use Flickr photography for free without you knowing. There’s 0% royalty paid out, by the way. Just in case you were expecting those leachers to actually pay you. You also shouldn’t have signed the Getty Flickr collection contract, but you did. If you were expecting a higher royalty, then you should have tried to get your work into the much higher-end stock collections by going through Getty’s contributor site, not via the Flickr channels by whomever you were in contact with that handles Flickr. Also, you could greatly benefit in business practices. Knowing this industry before smacking it down publicly would greatly aid your personal image.

  49. Idaho? Which mountain ?
    BTW, I never could get myself to offer photos at 20%, so never have.

  50. Steven House says:

    TH,

    just out of interest what happened after you sent the ‘I quit’ email to Getty. Did they respond and have all your images been removed?

    Steve

  51. @ Nadiim. I did a keyword search at photosource.com and found two photographers who have pictures of textures, patterns, items on white background. These are stock photographer who sell direct with no agency. Also, I like your idea to utilize Flickr and LinkedIn and other established platforms to do stock photography. See link below.

    @ TSU. I agree with you 100% about how TH should either no longer provide photos for free and make them private, or not sell stock pictures for a fee. Especially when He’s highlighted in Seth Godens book “Linchpin” for being the Creative Commons king. Seth also says in that book, if I understand it right, that as soon as you monetize your art it becomes a dead goose ( or something like that). I’m not saying I agree with that statement, but it seems relevant to the topic of this post.

    Here’s what I’m talking about with regards to Creative Commons compared to private license:

    http://www.danheller.com/blog/posts/creative-commons-and-photography.html

  52. John Rocha says:

    Hi Thomas

    It’s certainly a problem dealing with low prices in stock photography. Apart from other agencies which pay better I’ve been doing some work with Photographers Direct which has a Fair Trade model – you negotiate the price with a potential buyer.

  53. Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for this post. I am also a Getty contributor and like you and many others am unhappy with their payout. Thank you for bringing this new option to our attention!

    David

  54. Nadiim Nafei says:

    @Frank. I know that there are patterns and textures and items on other stock photo pages. Which is fine. Another thing is, in my honest opinion, Photosource is dead confusing, and looks like a moneytrap left from a forgotten internet age, I would never use that site. But what I am trying to point out is, that, Stocksy is missing textures, patterns and item photos and I would like that to be featured on Stocksy as well as all the other gorgeous photos already there. That would make that page THE place to go to for people like me working in the areas of digital art and design, especially when the library starts to expand in size as well.
    Well actually I wasn’t suggesting Social Media doing stock photography, no, that ends up like, well Facebook Acquiring Instagram.. and that just doesn’t work out… No I was actually that Stocksy shouldn’t do that as well. There are stock photo pages and there are a vast amount social media. I wouldnt suggest Stocksy making doing social media themselves. but rather they integrate or rethink the way the existing social media could work along with stocksy so that users og Stocksy would not need to both socialize on Stocksy, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and what not.. all in different ways. no what is needed is unite some of those instead of always inventing what is already invented..

  55. @ Nadiim. First, thanks for your trying out Photosource.com! I have gotten a boat load of work from that site over the years. I will share your comments with the webmaster.

    The reason that I liked your ideas to using social media for stock photography is because that is exactly what I use to develop relationships with photobuyers and sell my images. The royalties from selling a stock picture technically belong to the creator of the work, not the stock agency. However, us photographers let that get turned around. To refrain from making al long post here, please refer to the link below and read the comments to the post at this link too.

    http://danheller.blogspot.com/2012/07/royalty-free-no-longer-exists.html

  56. I just heard about Stocksy. It’s for sure worth looking into.

    Thanks for your take.

  57. Thomas Hawk says:

    Tsu Takamoto says:
    March 27, 2013 at 10:21 am (Edit)
    “Let’s clear one thing out of the way….

    Thomas Hawk, your work was on Flickr (for all to download for free)”

    Tsu, you obviously do not understanding licensing. A Creative Commons Non-Commercial License does not mean that *all* can use my work for free. In fact it’s quite narrow. While I allow non-profit organizations the use of my work and I allow individuals to download it for personal use (like making a print and hanging it in their kitchen) I don’t at all and never have allowed corporate licensing. The Creative Commons non-commercial license is such a beautiful thing as it allows you to give your work away to some, yet profit for it as well. It’s like having your cake and eating it too. You should study up on image licensing. By making statements like that you show your ignorance about licensing and the stock photography market more generally.

    Is the “Flickr Collection” the “bottom of the barrel” for stock photography? I think you are wrong there. I think many of the images on Flickr are considered more authentic than most stock. Many of the images on Flickr were not created as stock but were created as artistic representation. Stock was secondary. Frankly I was far more impressed with what I saw in the Flickr Collection on Getty than many of the other higher paying collections. I’m sure those in higher paying collections though like to feel superior in to those awful old amateurs on “flickr” though. Personally I don’t find the condescension of these sorts of attitudes interesting.

    Getty owns the market. So what. Getty pays too low. So it’s time for new models that reward photographers more. Does the Stocksy model threaten you? Do you work for Getty?

    You say, “First, you shouldn’t have nor should continue to upload your work to Flickr.” Maybe you shouldn’t tell other people what to do? I will continue uploading my images to Flickr. Probably until the day that I die. I love sharing my work with the world. I love sharing it with other people. You can actually do both, share your work and sell your work too.

    How about this. How about you do your thing and I do mine and you don’t tell me (and others) what to do. If you don’t like Flickr fine. Don’t use it — but I love it and can still enjoy it while making money with my work at the same time. As they say, different strokes for different folks.

    Knowing this industry before smacking it down publicly with misinformed comments would greatly aid your personal image.

  58. Thomas Hawk says:

    Frank J. Casella says:
    March 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm “I agree with you 100% about how TH should either no longer provide photos for free and make them private, or not sell stock pictures for a fee. Especially when He’s highlighted in Seth Godens book “Linchpin” for being the Creative Commons king.”

    Frank, you misunderstand licensing. There are many flavors of Creative Commons. The flavor that I use is Creative Commons Non-Commercial. My current license does not provide for free commercial stock photography usage of my images. I can’t believe after all these years so many people still persist in perpetuating myths about Creative Commons. You can actually share your work, give it away to some, and still profit from it. It blows my mind that people can’t see this. It’s actually a superior model in a lot of ways because you benefit from SEO and promotion while still preserving your ability to license for stock.

    You can learn more about the various kinds of Creative Commons licenses available on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/

  59. Thomas Hawk says:

    Steven, Getty did respond to my “I quit” email. I’d print their response but they have a confidentiality disclaimer on the email and I’d prefer not having to haggle with their lawyers. Suffice it to say, I believe at this point I’m out of their clutches. Whew! :)

  60. patti wilson says:

    And on the other side of the Getty profits machine while paying out 20% to their creative partners, they are making quite a profit threatening and extorting $1000+ fee per photo demands from small businesses, individuals and mom & pop online sites for using a Getty image without paying the royalty.

    They have hired a bot company to skim the Internet and find Getty photos and send harassing letters, calls, and emails that never stop with greater threats and increasing demands. It is Getty’s cottage industry

  61. Chad says:

    @Patti Wilson

    The 20% royalty and the “threatening and distorting” issue are completely seperate.

    Getty is enforcing copyrights. A business who uses an image without a proper license SHOULD be threatened for not paying to use an artists work commercially. Just because its “mom and pop” and “small business” doesn’t mean anything.

    Based on your sentiment, I as a struggling artist, should be able to steal your car because mine is not running based only on the fact that I can’t afford my own new car.

    As far as skimming the Internet for infringers. That’s kind of like accusing the police of patrolling a neighborhood looking for break ins.

    It’s plain and simple. If you infringe on a copyright by using the image without a proper license, you should pay up. Small or big doesnt matter. It’s wrong.

    Frankly, as a Getty contributor, I wished they sent out more “extortion” letters on my behalf.

  62. Tom says:

    I had a look at Stocksy and so far, the quality does not seem to be there. They look like, frankly, Flickr photos. They are kind of dated, stylistically. One thing I have noticed is that Flickr Getty contributors like to think they are amazing stock photographers but they are not. They are the bargain basement photographers that Getty uses for the clients that do not want to pay for a “real” stock photograph. I know it sounds d**kheaded to say that, but it’s true. Very few high paying jobs are going to go to Flickr Getty photographers. It’s time for a reality check for a lot of you. You’re just not good enough but your egos don’t let you realize that…sorry.

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