Upload & Sell: Off
A veritable s**tstorm has broken out at the contributors' forum at IStock, a Getty subsidiary. Read about it in a post of photographer Sean Locke here and Getty's response here (They locked Sean's thread!) While I have little sympathy for microstockers, I think that Getty has just stepped over the boundary of avarice bigtime. In a nutshell, they have licensed thousands of Getty/iStock/Flickr (plus other subsidiaries) images to Google to be downloaded free to Google Document users (amongst others) without restrictions. Well, there are restrictions (if you read the small print) but in my experience, anyone using Google to find images don't bother with the copyright issues relating thereto or "This image may be subject to copyright" on every Google Images search page! The photographers do get paid - $12.00 for the honour of supplying their work to Google to be used in perpetuity via a freebie download. This, of course, will affect those finding their images via the Google Search my Image illegally by infringers as they can now state that they downloaded it from Google legitimately - again for zilch.
I quit Getty in July and the contract ended in mid October so none of my images will be subject to this. I do have a few images on Getty via AGE but they are RM images and, to date, only RF images are part of this deal. What is of great concern to those affected is that images of model released people (including children) are part of this nefarious deal between Getty and Google. Reading the IStock forum, there is still some naivety amongst a few contributors (many are just plain angry) that this is all just a mistake and that some over zealous sales people did this without Getty knowing anything about it. Yeah right! Getty would have sent their best lawyers and marketing folk to Google to stitch up this deal (and stitch up their contributors) and with Getty's usual aplomb, not actually mention it to their contributors. It was only Sean Locke publishing a thread on IStock that anyone knew anything about it. There is a lot of anger over at Getty/Flickr when a link was placed to IStock forum (by a Flickr member Lawren Lu) and the proverbial s..t hit the fan!
It will be an interesting read on Tuesday when someone, poor sod, has to front up to all of these forums with an explanation on why Getty is yet again screwing their contributors.