Posts Tagged ‘contracts’

Selling Your Images

January 2nd, 2013

A Happy New Year to you!

We’re always looking for new outlets to which to sell fotoLibra members’ images, and between Christmas and the New Year we had a very interesting meeting with an extremely high-powered yet friendly executive who lives close by fotoLibra’s Hertfordshire office.

There is a vast European educational and public sector out there which is largely untapped by normal picture libraries because like most organisations funded with public money, Accountability & Transparency in Procurement are their watchwords. This inevitably means routes to market are not so much Jude The Obscure as Jude The Invisible — there is no way a company such as ours can ring up a representative from one of these monolithic organisations and mutter “pssst! wanna buy some images?” We couldn’t even find out who to talk to.

Everything has to take place through bureaucratic procurement procedures, grim, inflexible ordeals which are less concerned about the quality, range and variety of the images we have to offer than discovering the number of ethnic Welsh people we employ and our policy towards recycling hard disks.

By the simple expedient of not paying taxes, global corporations can afford to employ the sort of people who love ticking all these boxes, so they get flooded with grants, incentives and bonuses as well as three-yearly contracts to be exclusive coffee and image suppliers to the Ruritarian Public Affairs Ministry.

We struggle on. Thanks to our executive friend, we now have at least an inkling of the riches lying out there, just beyond our reach at the moment. But we have more contacts who understand this world far better than our simple viewpoint, and we believe they may be prepared to help us.

Like every other picture library, our sales have fallen over the past three or four years, and we are doing everything in our power to restore lost revenue and explore new possibilities. If our photographers aren’t making money, we’re not making money, so we need to find out about these overseas procurement procedures fast. Even so, our friend warned us “Don’t expect anything to happen for three years. This is the world of bureaucracy, after all.”

We went on to the website of one of these organisations and found this rather good and clearly explained guide to copyright for picture users in the EU. I should point out that this was discovered on the English-language subset of a foreign-language quango’s website:

Information for image users

    When will you have dealings with us? Virtually every publication, every website and every television programme uses images. Copyright law stipulates that the author’s permission is required for this. That permission is usually linked to a financial payment: image creators must, after all, live on the income from their creative labours. 
Apart from a couple of exceptions, publishers and producers are obliged to trace the creators of the images in order to ask permission for publication. The fact that this is not always easy does not detract from this obligation. Our agency enables the user to arrange this effectively in advance. Over 50,000 image creators both in this country and abroad are registered with us and we issue licences on their behalf. Our rates are harmonised with sister organisations abroad. Our agency arranges permission for publication.


    Asking permission is compulsory
 Users are often confused as to what they can and cannot do under copyright law. The golden rule is: anyone who wants to publish someone else’s image must ask permission for this from the creator or their heirs. This obligation only lapses 70 years after the death of the artist. Hence the work of Rembrandt is rights-free, but that of Picasso is not. Anyone who publishes a picture of a painting by Picasso in a book or leaflet without permission runs the risk of having to pay damages.

That’s nice and clear and straightforward.

Not every government announcement has to be draped in the cobwebs of obscurity. And this was English as a foreign language. I wish I could write as clearly. I think we could work with these people.

Lovely Clients

June 25th, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

Here at fotoLibra we love our clients. They buy our member’s images, they pay us, they keep us in business.

Love is an inadequate word to be nestled among the glories of the English language. The Ancient Greeks had at least four words to describe different types of love*, whereas we just have to muddle through with plain old Love.

But our love for our clients is, shall we say, storgéan*. A new client bought a total of two pictures off us and threw a tantrum when he couldn’t have them at the same price per image he was getting from MammonPix, with whom he had a £50,000 p.a. contract.

Another sent us a picture order with the following ominous rider:
Upon payment of this fee, the design copyright and all other rights throughout the world in this material will be vested in us.

Umm … I’m no lawyer, but that reads curiously like a rights grab to us. We have demanded clarification.

The copyright in all fotoLibra images is asserted by our photographers. It’s not our business to sell their inheritance for a mess of pottage.

* OK then, I’m glad you asked:
αγάπη :
AGAPÉ : Love as in ‘I love you.’ This is the ‘charity’ of ‘faith, hope and charity’ in I Corinthians XIII.
ερως : EROS : Love as in ‘I fancy you something rotten and I’m going to do terrible things to you.’

στοργή : STORGE : Love as in ‘My bloody teenage son came home pissed again last night.’

φιλία : PHILIA : Love as in ‘You’re my best mate, you are.’ PHILAdelphia, the City of Brotherly Love.

Breaking news: we demanded clarification, and they have charitably removed the clause from the picture order. I wonder if we’ll ever hear from them again? I need faith.

And hope.