Fair trade for the creator, for the distributor and the customer
ByKlaus PlaumannCepic Commitee statement to Dreamstimes new offer on free images on Stockfreeimages.com. Jim Pickerell (Selling Stock) published Serbans opinion and his arguments why he wants to give away a large part of Dreamstime images for free.
Serban Enache, CEO and founder of Dreamstime, is offering nearly 1 million free images on the website www.stockfreeimages.com, owned by Dreamstime:
There's no doubt that there is a strong need for free content in
today's advertising market, Enache said. While some people can't
afford to pay for content; others don't want to pay, even though they
still need specific images. It has become an unfortunate habit for
many consumers to use a search engine to download a free image, often
infringing someone's copyright, and putting themselves in jeopardy.
With Stockfreeimages.com, users can have peace of mind that any image
they download is not only free and safe, but also is legal.
Jim Pickerell answered Serban I think many creators (like Dreamstime contributors) would like to receive a little economic remuneration from those who use their images as evidence that the images have some value.
The Cepic Commitee discussed about this and decided to publish their opinion, that reflects says what most of us think.
“Serban´s "free" model would not educate anybody in fact quite the opposite and everybody will continue trying to find free images whether copyrighted or not copyrighted and steal them no matter where they find them, that's the opinion of Alfonso Gutierrez, CEO of agefotostock. He continues:
Cheap prices have devaluated photography to unimaginable levels in just a few years ago and has demoralized professional photographers....I think that the only way to maintain the value of photography is to produce high quality stuff that could attract clients attention because it is unique, innovative, creative and experimental and while it is not copied by someone it maintains a more than decent price. agefotostock maintains the same principles, shooting the best images we can and try to sell them for the best possible price. No matter how much we dislike people getting content for free, this a trend that exists and needs to be addressed wisely.
Pieter Doormann, Image Select:
There are some understandable arguments in what Serban is saying but the remedy is wrong. A lot of people are unaware and grabbing free content is unfortunately a trend that is difficult to turn around. I’m at least happy that Dreamstime dislikes giving images for free. There might be other companies soon that totally focus their core business on giving away images and then we
have a bigger problem on our hands.It confuses the users, at some website they can get images for free, from other websites they need to pay.
I think that it could be worthwhile that CEPIC initiates a stakeholder meeting in order to discuss the issue about how to educate the image users and have some clear business models.
Stefan Wittwer, Prisma,:
A proverb says: There is no such thing as a free lunch. In professional photography there is no such thing as a free image. Free websites try to generate a lot of traffic that allows them to generate money with ads or help them to sell the website with a large data base of email addresses etc.. The kingpin in this game, the photographer, is left out in the cold, he may get plenty of “likes”, but at the end of the day commercial users of free images are double-crossing him.
Cepic must support a business model that is fair trade for the creator, for the distributor and the customer. Free trade in a professional environment can never be fair trade.
More and more people are downloading images from agencies websites, stealing pictures that photographers have created to earn money with. The agencies as distributors support the photographers, spend money for marketing, offer global contacts for distribution, take care of images by offering the content to a huge amount of customers and share the income with photographers. The business is getting harder every day because the number of pictures is growing faster than ever before. The competition today between the huge market leaders and the average and small companies is a tough business. Giving photos away free, users don`t want to spend money for a picture that people worked for is an idea that we can`t agree to.
Christina Vaughan, CEPIC’s President and Image Source, comments that in giving away almost 1 million images for free makes an unhealthy statement on the value of photography. What dismays me is that while we all know that “free” can drive traffic to websites, no one has yet been able to prove that the “free” acquirer of imagery can be upsold to become a paying licensor of imagery. Whilst a stock agency may benefit from the increase in visitors to a site, the content creators receive no benefit – either from licensing fees or a remuneration for building the agency’s traffic. If we want to rebuild our industry post the global recession, then we need to understand that our ecosystem requires us to reward the content creator – the photographer. If we don’t, how can we ever expect them to reinvest in quality?
The Commitee is interested in getting comments from all the readers of our Cepic blog. Just let us know what you think about giving pictures away for free - we will publish it right here.
In addition, don't forget to attend the CEPIC Congress where these issues and more will be hotly debated in our photocentric day. Click here to register.
Vice President - CEPIC
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