This is the open letter (ASMP website)
sent by AOP, APA, ASMP, CAPIC, EP and SAA to Jonathan Klein.
This letter was sent on September 10. It is one part of an industry
response to Getty´s repricing of image licenses for online uses.
Jonathan Klein, CEO,
Dear Mr. Klein,
We, the leadership of SAA, ASMP, AOP, APA, EP and CAPIC, are calling
upon Getty Images to remove all Rights Managed images (including Rights
Ready brands) from your new discount pricing scheme which reduces the
value of this imagery to $49 for web and digital usage.
Collectively, our trade associations represent the interests of over
12,000 professional photographers, including top advertising and
editorial assignment photographers and thousands of stock
photographers, many of whom are Getty contributors.
Our shared concern is that this move by Getty Images presents huge
risks to Getty?s Rights Managed licensing business, which threatens the
livelihoods of your independent contributors as well as professional
While this marketing strategy of offering your very best imagery at
heavily discounted prices may well increase volume, it also risks
undermining Getty?s core Rights Managed licensing business ? as well as
the businesses of the independent contributing photographers who create
and own the majority of imagery in your RM collections.
As the market leader, Getty?s actions affect the entire industry. We
therefore expect that Getty?s devaluation of digital usage will risk
the long-term earning potential from image licensing, whether it be
stock or commissioned.
Specifically, we anticipate the following likely consequences:
Loss of high value digital license revenue.
Getty is unnecessarily giving up money from commercial and high-end
advertising customers willing to pay premium prices for the most
exclusive imagery. Now these same customers are rapidly shifting their
large media budgets from print to the web as the internet emerges as
their primary marketing platform. Spending for promotional websites and
web advertising by these customers can easily rival traditional media
budgets. This $49 deal gives away valuable rights for minimal prices
that will not be replaced by increased volume for this kind of
Devaluation of RM licensing.
Flat-rate license fees run counter to the Rights Managed premise that
price and value are commensurate with usage. The $49 deal lumps
together buyers for global online ad campaigns with small mom-and-pop
shops and local web uses. This flat-rate unit pricing is already being
offered in Royalty Free products and this new price point will offer
value-conscious customers access to quality RF imagery. There?s no need
to extend it in RM. Offering the very best images at a bargain price
point communicates to customers that all images, even the very best and
most creative, are all worth the same.
Erosion of prices across the board.
The devaluation of web usage prices will lead to devaluing print and
outdoor usage that will pave the way to further steep price cuts across
all types of licenses. Once customers can obtain a major use license of
an RM image at this cost, they will likely question the validity of
being charged significantly higher rates for other uses.
Reduced return for photographers.
Lower per-image returns for photographers make it more difficult to
produce the highly creative images that form the core of creative RM
stock collections. These images cannot be produced in volume and
photographers are already feeling the impact of reduced revenues. This
move further strains the viability of independent photographers?
businesses and will result in less fresh imagery available for
Reduced recovery value for images.
The offering by the world?s largest stock image supplier of all their
images across the board at a $49 price point will have a serious impact
on the valuation of claims in the courts for copyright infringement and
lost/damaged originals. It also undermines the proposition that each
image is unique and has to be valued on its own merits. Infringements
of stock images are already at crisis levels ? especially for web and
digital uses. We are alarmed that a consequence of the low value
established for web uses will dampen efforts to enforce copyrights and
recover otherwise lost revenues.
Mr. Klein, we respectfully urge you to reverse this decision now,
before it is well established and the impact is fully realized. We are
eager to work with you and other leaders in the industry to find
mutually beneficial ways to evolve image licensing that address the
changing needs of new media customers and which leverage the
distinctive value associated with Rights Managed imagery in a changing
We have a mutual interest in growing our image licensing businesses
but respectfully contend that we explore better ways to do so, which do
not risk the value of what we have created.
On behalf of our Boards of Directors,
Roy Hsu, President
Stock Artists Alliance (SAA)
Judy Hermann, President
American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP)
Michael Harding, President
Association of Photographers (AOP)
Don Dormeyer, President
Advertising Photographers of America (APA)
Brian Smith, President
Editorial Photographers (EP)
Michael Kohn, President
Canadian Association of Photographers (CAPIC)