Tag Archives: Licensing

Summary of PACA Sales Webinar


PACA’s first webinar in May was focused on sales.  Over 45 people attended the lively discussion and, despite some technical difficulties, a lot of great information was shared with the participants.

Leslie Hughes, Visual Steam
Candace Murray, Condé Nast
Sonia Wasco, Grant Heilman Photography

  1. Leslie’s Presentation   (view here)
  • Projections

Growth expected overall through the next couple years

Ad Spend up through 2016 Globally= 5.6% per year

Growth led by Americas and Asia

Europe starting to improve

Display ads to surpass search for the first time in 2015

Mobile only 13% of internet advertising, will be 26% by 2016

Social media 30% year-over-year growth

Traditional media will only outpace digital until 2016

Traditional publishing in decline

internet publishing to soar in next 5 years

12% growth in USA this year, 11% worldwide

b. Why?

$$ are moving online

Increased use of visual storytelling

Digital ads more palatable to customers, making them more palatable for businesses

  1. Challenges
  • Generating leads and finding new clients
  • Creating awareness-People don’t realize they can license our content (Candace)
  • So much content available, need to build a unique value proposition for your content
  • Driving people to our website/Getting client attention
  • Data mining of our client base
  • Budget issues:  Know who you’re talking to, find out their budgets, push the envelope.  Client budgets are a challenge, but they will pay if you demonstrate the value of your product/service
  • Remove human touch from low-priced sales
  • Rights and clearances, and clients needing full indemnifications


Increase in the use of visuals online

Increase in visual storytelling

  1. Challenges to Clients
    • Budgets-tighter than ever
    • Creative Content-finding unique, authentic content
    • Time Pressures-Everything has to be now-makes pressure for seller
    • Social Media, they don’t understand usage, so they expect us to figure it out for them. How to make it work best for them
    • Abundance of options, imagery the same on lots of sites.  Cross-pollination at multiple agencies

**Are clients becoming reluctant to use Google Image search now?  Some are concerned with identifying legally licensable content

**PacaSearch named in the top 5th go-to site for buyers.  PACA participants need to start advertising it on their own sites

  1. Have Microstock Companies affected the lowering of prices for stock?
  • You can still get to higher prices if you know their budget and work with the right people
  • Microstock has opened buying to a larger number of buyers, you can make good use of this if you choose your clients wisely.  Avoid clients that have to have the lowest pricing or see if you can work out a price that is fair.  Sometimes a buyer thinks he needs microstock pricing but can work with RF
  • Customers have been brainwashed that web usage should be lower priced, but since it is now the most frequently used method of advertising, we need to rethink pricing for this medium and re-educate our buyers.  We need to think about the internet as being the delivery method rather than the usage.  Website is the usage.  There is a difference between a site that is turning over images rapidly and one that is using images for branding or for publishing.

**Success story of a RM sale of over $100,000.00 for a drug company needing rights for exclusive pharmaceutical usage for a new product outside the U.S.  Multiple licenses that added up to this amount.  There are companies that still require restrictions and warrant big prices.  No longer the norm.

  1. Sales Goals for Coming Year
  • Data Mining
  • Delivering bodies of new work to specific clients
  • Reach out to different people at the traditional spaces: CMOs rather than art buyers and art directors.  Companies have money, but not always in the art department.  Try other departments
  • Using linkedin, agency access, etc to find new leads
  • Attend trade shows like HOW, Visual Connections, Stock Photo Expo and seize the opportunity to get face-to-face with buyers
  1. Top things needed to grow sales in the coming year?
  • Leveraging tools to their best advantage                                                                                    Social media, linkedin, finding ways to connect
  • Re-establishing relationships with those that have purchased before
  • Finding new customers
  1. One piece of advice:
  • Don’t close any boxes.  A client called Grant Heilman for Royalty Free Images and they don’t have any.  Instead of turning away the client, they talked further with them and realized their budget really could work for RM and they sold them 10 images for their project.  A win-win for both sides!
  • Ask as many questions as humanly possible. “You should know your customers so well, you can cover for them if they’re out sick.”
  • Target the right demographics.  If you do the budget pricing, target budget markets.  RF not always cheaper.
  • Figure out how to stand out
  • Follow through is KEY

 Q & A

How to rationalize a RM price increase?

Candace – Use the info gleaned from asking them discovery questions.

Leslie – Depends on client needs. Is the issue simply price? Or ease and reuse?  Also, how the image is being used.  Sometimes RF is more expensive.  Also, sometimes the client has little choice.  Believe in bending a little for client depending on usage and relationship.  Also, consider how easy it is to replace the image or get it somewhere else for less.

What marketing technique should you use?

Leslie – Different methods reach different people, use ’em all. Personalized emails, phone calls. We’re visual people in a visual industry – use pics!  And it depends on the communication?  Are you looking for new clients and getting them to register?  Or perhaps you have new content available.  Have a purpose for every communication.

How do you get a foothold where preferred licensing is already in place (particularly Getty)?

Candace – You can bend over backwards or not. Know how much they need and what you can deliver to them. It might not be worth it to you. Whatever you decide, reevaluate after one year.

Sonia – Figure out your added value to keep you in the running. Found out their terms and if you’re willing to meet them. Gaining a foothold is easier with when you have a specialty collection; you feature a particular area or photographer or something.

Leslie – Understand what’s important to that client more than your competitor. Check back with them periodically. Spend a little more time preparing something targeted rather than generalizing (which will get you blacklisted).

How do we establish subscription pricing?

Leslie – We configure custom subscriptions, so it’s not something we do automatically online.  We talk with the client to understand what number of images per month they think they will need and we try to price competitively based on alternatives.



PACA is Pleased to Welcome our Newest Members

We are excited to receive these new companies into our membership. Please reach out and help acknowledge our new members.  Just one call from an existing member can really help them feel welcome.



PhotoShelter helps people and organizations who are passionate about their photos do more with them. From creating beautiful websites and securely backing up their best images to building an audience and selling photos online, PhotoShelter is trusted by over 80,000 enthusiasts, freelancers, and established pros worldwide. What sets us apart are over 100 professional-grade features and cutting-edge technology that we’ve evolved with photographers in mind since 2005. With PhotoShelter, any photographer can take their online presence to the next level — and get back to doing the shooting they love to do.

Phone: 212/206-0808
Email: amy@photoshelter.com
Website: www.photoshelter.com

General Members:


GraphicaArtis is one of the mostly highly curated, visually compelling collections of vintage graphics and fine art available for licensing. Its thousands of works are relevant to both the commercial and editorial markets, and are of the highest visual and technical quality. Images are carefully selected by editors with decades of licensing experience, giving GraphicaArtis the licensing potential of a collection many times its size.

Works include a wide range of visual media – pop graphics of the 40s and 50s, antique prints and posters of the 19th and 20th centuries, vintage photography, historical subjects, and fine art from all periods. Decades in the making, the collection features work from dozens of sources, and continues to grow monthly.

Phone: 206/999-3204
Email: graphicaartis@gmail.com
Website: www.graphicaartis.com                                                                                                         B2B Contact: Sue Hartke, graphicaartis@gmail.com

Griffin Museum of Photography

A nonprofit organization dedicated solely to the art of photography. Through our many exhibitions, programs and lectures, we strive to encourage a broader understanding and appreciation of the visual, emotional and social impact of photographic art. The museum maintains the archive of our founder Arthur Griffin.

Phone: 781-729-1158
Email: paula@griffinmuseum.org
Website: www.griffinmuseum.org

Sandra G Arts & Photography

Sandra is primarily a Nature & Architectural photographer who captures images of quiet and serene places that provide a feeling of calm, peace, and solace; or mystery and intrigue.

Based off her life experiences and beliefs, Sandra feels, people need a quiet and peaceful place to go in order to remain balanced and focused. Her images take you to those places without leaving the comfort of your home or even your workplace.

Phone: 904-673-6154
Email: sandrag8506@aol.com
Website: http://sandrag.smugmug.com

On Using Orphan Images

by Doug Brooks  With Permission of Visual Connections Blog                                                              Initially Published on Visual Connections Blog

Question: When is it okay for me to publish (or otherwise use) an orphan image

Answer:    Never* (notice the asterisk)

We all know that copyright is there to protect creative works from being used without the permission of the rights holder.  That’s good, that’s solid, we can all appreciate the message. Licensing an image for use, therefore, is fairly straightforward as you need only find the image, contact the rights holder and obtain the permission you seek.

When it comes to using images whose owner is unknown (in the vernacular, an orphan image), publishers and other image users are fearful to use the image, as the rightful owner may come forward and, well, sue their pants off.

There have always been issues with images becoming disassociated from their owner, and thus “orphaned”.  In the early days, film images would be paper mounted, sealed in a plastic envelope or some other protection that carried the owner’s name, contact information and © legend.  The Internet has caused an explosion of images to become effectively orphaned as files become stripped of metadata (if they ever had metadata), file names are changed by users to accommodate their work flow, or any of a number of other reasons. While removing that “copyright management information” (in whatever form) from images is prohibited under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it remains the case that images that have been carefully identified by the image owner are routinely stripped of their identity to become orphans in a sea of images. Equally as horrible, image users locate images they really want to use, but can’t find the path to licensing the images.  The image owner can’t license their image, the image user can’t license the use of the image AND the general public can’t benefit from exposure to the image.  Everyone loses.

The Orphan Works Act of 2008 (HR 5889) has the intent of leveling the playing field by allowing image users to use orphaned images without the threat of huge punitive damages.  Unfortunately, to date, the bill has not offered the image rights holder a reasonable path to reassert their copyright in the orphaned image. In fact, as of the last incarnation of the bill, the image owner would have to jump through costly legal hoops to take the image infringement to court, prevail over the infringer’s objection that a “good faith” search for the author was made, and then go through a process to reclaim their orphaned image as their own. Not so good. Adding insult to injury, once an orphan publishes, every other image user is able to extend less effort finding the owner.  Instead, they can point to the first orphan use as an indication that due diligence had been done by other(s) and the owner could not be found.

The Orphan Bill as we know it is in the House Judiciary Committee and it is hard to know when it might emerge or in what form.

The idea of creating a fair and reasonable Orphan Bill is, in many respects, a wonderful idea as it would allow millions of images that are disassociated from their owners to be used.  But what is fair and reasonable?

I would suggest that fair and reasonable would allow a ‘user’ to publish a work after doing due diligence to find the rightful owner.  I can’t define ‘due diligence’ in this short piece so please allow me to move forward simply saying ‘due diligence’.  The user should be able to move forward without fear of unreasonable punitive damages should the rightful owner come forward.  That’s a sticking point.  What if the rightful owner would not have allowed the use of the image due to a social or personal belief?  What if the image owner were opposed to a political use or having their image promoting a social issue such as abortion, birth control, drugs, alcohol or sexual orientation?  Image rights holders control the copyright to their image and that means they control how it is used. Unless of course, the image is ‘declared’ orphaned. Maybe you see a solution to the ‘opposed’ issue, I don’t.  Having documented this issue for your consideration, allow me to leave that conundrum on the table and move on.

Let’s tackle the use of an orphan image where the image owner would have been happy to license the image for the use that was made. The image owner is first straddled with the responsibility of discovering the ‘use’ and then seeking a fair settlement.  I don’t see a way around that.  I do see the opportunity for something like the Orphan Bill to set a process by where a fair price is set for the use and the image owner has a clear and easy path to reestablishing their copyright in the image.  A fair price for the use would vary by several factors.  The use itself, one might look at a selection of stock agencies and what they would charge for the use itself as well as the industry status of the image creator, I find it easy to understand how an image created by a top dollar industry pro would be valued higher then an image created by someone just starting out.  I can also see a penalty charged to the user if the rights owner can document clearly that the use violates a personal or philosophical belief.  This would encourage those who have a ‘controversial’ use to look further for an image that they are able to clear the necessary rights. Let’s leave the comparison there. There needs to be an opportunity for the unique circumstances of the specific use, and the status of the creator, to be considered in the fair assessment of a retroactive licensing fee and that likely will need to be arbitrated by qualified people.  If arbitration were made the legal solution it’s possible all parties would find themselves a bit ‘unhappy’ but dealing with a reasonable outcome.  For the moment, I’d vote for arbitration.

In my opinion, the image user really needs to consider the backend liability and measure that against the value of the image they wish to use.  This step, in of itself, will cause many users to find substitute images for some orphans while moving forward using others.  As it stands now, image users are liable for damages when they use an image that has not been properly licensed.  That’s the reason why the Orphan Bill was first introduced, to protect users from huge punitive damage settlements.  The holdup in passing the Bill, so far, and only as the result of massive objections from the copyright holder’s side, is that it does not offer a level playing field for users and copyright owners to come to settlement, fairly.

As we move forward image creators and/or copyright holders will need to do more to protect their creative property.  There are solutions currently in our midst and others under development. Here are a few worth looking into:

Digital watermarking is a process by which a unique identifier is embedded within an image, not the metadata, and can’t be removed. Services, like Digimarc (digimarc.com), are available that allow images, that have been digitally watermarked, to be found by bots that tirelessly search the Internet.  Reports come to the image owner and any image found may be checked against licenses that have been made. Obversely, an image may be checked to see if it contains an imbedded identifier that will lead it ‘home’. This may one day soon become a part of a users routine due diligence.

Image recognition has come a long way.  Tin Eye (tineye.com) is one company that provides image recognition software that one uploads an image to.  The image is then searched for across the Internet.  If the image is found the URL locations of any use are reported may provide a link back to the rights holder.  This is another way users may do a portion of their due diligence in trying to locate a rights holder.

Image registries will be hugely valuable resources as rights holders are able to register their images as they are created and also retroactively. Case in point, PLUS Registry (useplus.org), years in development will soon be a global online resource connecting registries worldwide, images, rights holders and rights information.  PLUS is something to know about and I believe it’s in our near future.  It is well worth your time, as a user or a rights holder, to stop by useplus.org and check it out.

*So, the original question was, When is it okay to publish (or otherwise use) an orphan image?

Knowing now some of the issues surrounding the use of an orphan image I’m revising my answer to be, never… or when your company counsel says it’s okay.

© 2014 Doug Brooks, All Rights Reserved


Doug Brooks has extensive experience in the field of picture research and licensing, including his leadership of an intrepid group of acquisitions editors at one of the largest general interest book publishers in the United States.  Today, he is a co-founder and co-director at the Image Research Team providing image and video services to publishers and museum exhibition developers. As a photographer, he continues to shoot for the stock market and he serves as an officer on the National Board of Directors of the American Society of Picture Professionals (aspp.com). He may be found at The Image Research Team and LinkedIn.




Image Embedding

PACA’s mission has always been to support a healthy and sustainable market for licensing the use of photographic images, as well as to encourage and support innovative ways for photography to be legally used in the rapidly changing marketplace.  Clearly, models for licensing of photography have had a difficult time keeping pace with changes brought on by the Internet, social media, and the blogosphere.

Recently, Getty Images announced embedding technology that they believe can address a significant source of unauthorized use.  Getty Images’ embedding technology allows the free use of millions of images for “non-commercial” use by bloggers and other editorial websites.  While it is too early to forecast the impact of this new offering from Getty Images or other similar embedding technologies from Stipple, IMGembed, and others, PACA recognizes the need for new approaches to address the proliferation of infringing uses.

PACA believes from the perspective of the industry and photographer communities that there are intriguing opportunities as well as significant concerns from embedding technologies.  These technologies could potentially reduce infringing uses as well as generate new revenue for copyright holders, but there are still many questions to be answered including Getty Images’ definition of “non-commercial use” which appears to allow, not only use in personal blogs and websites, but also in a broader editorial context.  Also unclear is how any revenue from advertising or data monetization will be shared with copyright holders.  PACA also believes it is important for the industry to understand how Getty Images will enforce its terms of service, and what other benefits photographers would derive from the extension of free use.

As businesses explore new solutions to the rapid and revolutionary changes in the way people consume media,  PACA believes its role is more critical than ever to represent our collective interest in protecting the rights of content owners, in refining copyright law, and in educating creators and users in support of an ethical and sustainable marketplace.  As a forum and industry body, PACA will continue to support and promote a dialog around image embedding and other new business models.

United States Court Of Appeals Decision For Copyright Registration

After many years, the Ninth Circuit finally entered a decision in the Alaska Stock, LLC v. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company case.  Reversing the district court’s dismissal of Alaska Stock’s copyright infringement claim, the court definitively held that Alaska Stock had “successfully registered the copyright both to its collections and to the individual images contained therein” despite the fact that the name of the photographer and title of each component work was not included in the registration.

In doing so, the Court gave deference to the long-standing Copyright Office registration procedures that had been created in 1995 in conjunction with PACA.  Further, the Court specifically rejected the decisions in other courts that refuse to honor registrations because they fail to name all of the photographers and titles of each photograph in a collective work.

It is clear that the Ninth Circuit understood the repercussions of its decision.  In conclusion, the Court stated:

We are not performing a mere verbal, abstract task when we construe the Copyright Act. We are affecting the fortunes of people, many of whose fortunes are small. The stock agencies through their trade association worked out what they should do to register images with the Register of Copyrights, the Copyright Office established a clear procedure and the stock agencies followed it. The Copyright Office has maintained its procedure for three decades, spanning multiple administrations. The livelihoods of photographers and stock agencies have long been founded on their compliance with the Register’s reasonable interpretation of the statute. Their reliance upon a reasonable and longstanding administrative interpretation should be honored. Denying the fruits of reliance by citizens on a longstanding administrative practice reasonably construing a statute is unjust.

SheStock is a female centric collection

Shestock is a female centric image collection created by professional women photographers. The collection is based on a simple concept – ask visual women to create imagery that is authentic to their lives and experiences. 

There is far too much simplistic and unkind imagery of women used in advertising. This imagery leads to a disconnect between marketers and the women they are trying to reach, and promotes unattainable cultural ‘norms.’

Our rights- managed collection launched this past August and we are grateful for the incredible reception we have received from photographers, buyers and the stock industry.  Shestock is dedicated to supporting our photographers not only in producing great stock, but in their careers as women image makers. We are equally dedicated to helping our buyers find just the right image.  All image queries are welcome. We will pull from our collection, circulate the image need amongst our photographers, and in some cases produce the image.  www.shestockimages.com

85 year old and 64 year old. ©Lisa Sciascia  38 year old Japanese American woman. © Jody Asano

young and older female construction workers at dam ©Stella Kalinina NC0000010 © Norma Cordova

026 ©Kerry Varnum  057 ©Kerry Varnum

Portrait of Mom in Texas field full length ©Marcy Maloy  LB00009 ©Laura Barisonzi

Alamy now offering vector graphics as part of its complete image solution for picture professionals


  • Affordable, high quality vectors with one price and a simple license
  • 500,000 vector graphics available at launch, with plans to double the collection in the first year

Stock photo agency Alamy has today announced its move to supply the image market with vector graphics as part of its strategy to provide a full service to image buyers. Alamy has 45 million images online, including creative, editorial, live news and video.

The company is launching with a collection of 500,000 vectors from leading suppliers including YAY media AS, Matthew Britton and Pavel Konovalov. They aim to expand their collection rapidly over the next 12 months adding new content from their existing contributors as well as recruiting more specialists.

Vectors are great for designers, because they are scalable and can easily be resized without altering the quality of the image. If you print a vector logo on a small sheet of paper, and then enlarge it to billboard size it will keep the same sharp quality.

Ned Selby, partner at New Future Graphic agency said: “Vector graphics are a cornerstone of many of our design processes and it’s great to know that Alamy now offer them as part of their vast image library. They’ve made licensing vectors straightforward, with a simple flexible package of rights at one price.”

Rachel Wakefield, Alamy head of sales said: “We’ve been building our portfolio for the creative market and, when we talked to our customers, vectors was an obvious next step. It’s an exciting time, our content is getting more diverse as we continue to add new products – in the last two years we’ve added Live News and Video.  And we’ve made it really easy to buy as well – one simple transaction whatever the media.”

Request for prior art to help defeat Uniloc Patent Claim

By Nancy Wolff Esq., PACA Counsel


On December 10, 2013, the patent troll Uniloc filed ten new patent infringement actions against image licensing companies based on United States patent 7, 099, 849 entitled INTEGRATED MEDIA MANAGEMENT AND RIGHTS DISTRIBUTION APPARATUS. The invention is described in a broad and ambiguous manner, which has enabled Uniloc to sue many companies that offer digital license in copyrighted content.  The patent summary describes the “invention”  as an integrated rights management and licensing system for storing, researching, buying, and selling intellectual property rights.” It was written with the film industry in mind, where one film will have multiple rights owners. As further described in the summary, the invention utilizes a rights owner application, a central repository, and a licensing application to integrate the management, researching and licensing of intellectual property. The patent contemplates that a request to license will be sent back to rights owner to determine if the rights can be granted and then negotiated.

PACA would like to assist in helping the companies that have been sued and their respective attorneys defeat this patent if possible.

One way to defeat a patent is to show that the process used by the image licensing industry is not infringing because it is not the same “invention” or process. While I am not a patent attorney, it appears from my read that the process of online licensing of images is not conducted in the same manner as outlined in the patent . But that is for a patent expert to review.

The other way to defeat a patent is to show that it is not novel an the process or invention is obvious because it only builds on what already was being done in the market. In patent speak this is called “prior art”.

This is where industry knowledge may be very effective. PACA would like to assist the industry in looking for companies that may have had databases where one could search for rights owner information and potentially license copyrighted work that existed prior to the filing of the invention and ideally one year before the invention was filed. The patent was granted in 2006 but the initial provisional patent was filed December 28, 2000. Ideally, if anyone has information about databases that search for rights owners for licensing purposes that existed prior to December 28, 1999 it would be very helpful in defeating this patent.

The more the industry can share information, the less expensive the patent will be to fight for all the individual parties. If anyone has any information or knows of databases that might be considered prior art for purposes of defeating a patent please contact Nancy Wolff nwolff@cdas.com as PACA Counsel.  We will make sure that his information is passed along to attorney’s representing the various parties.

Previously, the industry, thanks to Corbis and Getty Images cooperating in defending a patent claim, was able to defeat a similarly over broad patent, known as the Freeny patent.  Hopefully our cooperation will be a sign to patent trolls that the industry will fight them and may discourage others.


Dreamstime Stock Photo Agency Acquires Their 20,000,000th Image, Adding 1Million Images per Month

Dreamstime, one of the leading stock photography and image sources in the world, recently announced they have acquired their 20,000,000th image (image number 21,000,000 should be on the site before Christmas). In a world of text, the right image will stop the eye and grab the attention of the reader. Dreamstime, one of the Top 500 most visited sites in the world, guarantees great images at low cost and no royalties. When the creative community needs an image to punch through reader indifference, Dreamstime provides that image.

One advantage of Dreamstime over other stock agencies comes from their sense of community. 7,000,000 registered users visit the site regularly, and 80 percent declare Dreamstime their primary image source. In addition, over 150,000 users upload their own images for sales, providing thousands of new images each and every day. This sense of community includes active forums where experienced designers and photographers discuss their art and craft to help bring new site visitors up to speed.

“Dreamstime began as an internal project for our web design company,” said Serban Enache, CEO of Dreamstime. “Stock images were so expensive, at $500 to $1,000 each, that they overwhelmed development budgets completely. That is why our images are often only a dollar or two, and come with no royalty demands.”  Now, Dreamstime reaches customers across devices – computers, tablets and mobile – and around the world.

Besides Dreamstime (www).dreamstime.com), users can also acquire images at corporate siblings Stock Free Images (www.stockfreeimages.com), or choose a new image for their Facebook Timeline banner photo (or Google+ or Twitter profiles) at Time Line Images (www.timelineimages.com).

In today’s world of multi-tasking and inattention, only images can stop the eye and focus the attention of the viewer. Combining the power of 20,000,000 images and an active community of creative people from all over the world makes Dreamstime the go-to image source for over 100,000 new users each month.