How to Lose Control of Your Photos With Getty Images
Last week photographer Remi Thornton penned a post about why he quit working with Getty Images. Remi alerted photographers to a new scheme by Getty Images whereby they were “loaning” photographer images (without pay) to Cafe Press for marketing purposes. The idea is that Cafe Press could use photographers’ images without paying, unless a sale was made, then a photographer might receive a royalty.
Allowing Cafe Press free use of photographers’ images for marketing did not sit right with Remi or other photographers, Remi felt that Cafe Press should have to pay a royalty for using the image at all and not get to use the images to market Cafe Press for free.
On March 25th, I submitted my own resignation to Getty Images. Shortly thereafter on March 27th I received acknowledgement from Getty along with the following:
“As per your recent request where you expressed your desire to terminate your outstanding contract with Getty Images, this is your official notice of termination of the Agreement between yourself and Getty Images, which had a Commencement Date of 3/11/2009.”
A few days later my images disappeared from Getty’s website for sale.
One would think that upon termination with Getty Images, the pilfering of images by Cafe Press would cease, but not so. Not only are my images still up for sale with Cafe Press (being marketed in a large font as “Thomas Hawk Gifts”), Cafe Press is additionally ADVERTISING them to me to buy on Facebook (again without pay — see image above).
Even though I no longer have a relationship with Getty and have NEVER had a relationship with Cafe Press, they want to sell me a dry erase board of a dog image of mine. I can also buy a wine charm thing or a beer coaster if I want.
I’m sure in the super fine print of my contract with Getty there is some loophole that is allowing this, but frankly it’s bad enough that Getty is allowing Cafe Press to market our images without pay. To further allow our images to be marketed in Facebook ads (again, without pay) seems a bit far fetched — especially when my relationship with Getty is supposed to be terminated. And why is Cafe Press specifically targeting me on Facebook trying to sell me my own images?
I have no idea how long my images must remain for sale at Cafe Press, but this just serves as an example of how a photographer can lose control over their images with Getty.
I wonder how much money Getty was paid to allow Cafe Press to use our images for free on Facebook?
I’d ask Getty what the deal is in the Contributor forum, but alas, I’ve been permanently banned from the Contributor forum for daring to criticize Getty’s paltry 20% payout. Maybe someone who is still a member there can ask them for me and relay back what their answer is?