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Author Topic: FT API program, check it out  (Read 6859 times)

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« on: September 11, 2008, 10:30 »
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Check this debate on FT forum:

http://us.fotolia.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=138543

what do you think about other companies selling prints of our images, bought from FT. Do they need to by extended licence, or not?

I think it OK way to promote further more our work trough FT API program, and I am OK with this. At least they dont buy subscriptions! LOL! :D

I didnt quite read TOS, so maybe this is wrong what they are doing, I dont know.

What do you think?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 10:37 by Peter »


« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2008, 10:41 »
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I tend to agree with you, Peter.

I understand the reaction of those opposing it -- that company is making a lot of money at this, and I can see their point that we should get a larger share. 

But, I look at it this way.....  If an ad agency get one of my pictures for an ad compain on subscription I get pennies and the agency makes thousands.  So what wrong with the printing company making a hundred dollars and me making $1.85?  Sounds like a better deal to me!

jsnover

« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2008, 10:57 »
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The difference is that in the case of the prints the sale is all about the image - there's no added value from the print supplier. In the case of the ad campaign or other uses of licensed images, there's a ton of work beyond the image that goes into the finished pieces. Those folks are earning their money from their own work, not just the picture.

There was another thread about this earlier http://www.microstockgroup.com/index.php?topic=5606.0

I'll repeat what I said then - if this usage is OK, when would there ever be an extended license for items for resale? I think the answer is that there wouldn't unless the buyer was sure they could sell a lot - because in that case the EL would be cheaper. It seems this is just a discount program for ELs - no risk for the buyer and once again the contributor gets the raw end of the deal.

« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2008, 16:41 »
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There was a similar thread on the German FT Forum lately. There even one of the owners of bilderking (seems to be a German company) joint in.
In essence the statements from "official" side were the same: It's  a legal and intended use of Fotolia's business API.
And I tend to agree (which I seldom do with Fotolia):
Each single print requires a license. When a photo is sold multiple times, multiple licenses are needed. It's a bit like Fotolia were offering prints directly (like Istock is - just that I don't know what the royalties on prints are on Istock).
I think an EL would only be needed, if someone wants to sell multiple items with one license bought.
I personally think this is a good idea.

KB

« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2008, 17:31 »
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If it's such a good thing, then why did Fotolia delete the thread that was started in their general forum to announce this "good thing" to everyone?

The thread did not violate their forum rules in any way. The only reason it was deleted was to hopefully stop the word from spreading to their "valued" contributors.

The largest print that iStock sells is 11" x 16" (approx 28cm x 40cm). They charge 20 credits for that, and contributors get their standard commission (at least US$4).

The smallest print that BilderKing seems to be 20cm x 30cm, for which they charge 28 Euro (about US$39).  It goes up from there, to as much as 129 Euro (US$180), if not more.

A Fotolia contributor makes the same amount (less than $2 for most people), regardless of whether BilderKing charges $39 or $180. That does sound like a good deal! (For BilderKing ... and maybe for Fotolia, who knows what their terms are?)

No wonder Fotolia wants to prevent their contributors from finding out about this. It's surprising that any contributor would think this this is a good deal for themselves, but everyone has an opinion, hm?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2008, 23:49 by KB »

« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2008, 18:38 »
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As I said, I don't often agree with what FT does (and definitely not with the way they treat any kind of possibly negative comment on their forums).
And I surely do not want to defend them.

But the facts as I see it:
Bilderking sells prints on canvas. You can as well upload your own pics and let them print it. There are a number of other companies offering the same, and the price of Bilderking for me looks rather competitive - so if they are making big money on these prints, obviously all the other companies offering such service do so as well.

Any FT customer now could buy a regular (L, XL) license and use that picture to buy a print from Bilderking. I believe that is fully within the license terms of Fotolia.

What they do on top of that: They allow their customers to search the FT database. If a customer finds a picture he wants to have, they buy it from FT on the customer's behalf and print it. They take the same money for the print plus the FT license fee, which they forward to FT.

So to me the difference is: There is one print of one of my pictures hanging in a living room somewhere (same as in the example above). I got paid for a normal license (not an EL, same as above). But: the probability that someone buys a canvas print via such a site is a lot higher than someone going through the effort of setting up a FT account, buying credits, buying a license, downloading a file, uploading the file to a print service and again paying the print service.

So for one sale:
End result for the customer: The same (a picture on the wall).
End result for me: The same (money for one license).
End result for Bilderking: The same (profits from printing one picture on canvas and selling it).
End result for Fotolia: The same (their share for one license)

But in total:
More customers!!!
For me, for Bilderking, for Fotolia.

Am I missing something?

Dirk

By the way: the same normal (non-EL) license allows advertising companies to use the files for huge campaigns. Currently a very big internet company in Germany (www.unitymedia.de) is using a Fotolia picture (http://de.fotolia.com/id/7510786) for a countrywide campaign. It's on their website, on billboards at busstations all over Germany, in flyers they send to households (probably in the hundreds of thousands)...
And all that (if I understand Fotolia's terms correctly) is possible with a normal license, which for this file in the biggest size is 10 credits.

And one question to Istock: are the 20 credits for the print of for the license (and costs for printing come on top of that)?

KB

« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2008, 00:07 »
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Dirk,

First let me start out by saying, I posted incorrect information. I searched IS' FAQs for "print", and then stupidly copied the information given without really reading it. The information I gave was for a simple DL (which I should've recognized), not for a print. Prints are significantly more (and I assume contributors get their standard commission rate of the sale price -- but I'm not positive, since I've never had a print sale there).

So, the smallest size they sell is actually 8.5" x 11" (about 21cm x 28cm) -- 12 credits for canvas prints. The largest size is 20" x 30" (51cm x 76cm) -- 70 credits for canvas prints.

These prices are less than Bilderking charges, yet the contributor gets significantly more commission than with the Fotolia deal.

Which is really the best response I have to your post. If Bilderking is selling canvas prints at a reasonable, going rate (which they very well may be -- I don't know), then I also don't see any difference between this and your scenario of someone buying an image and then getting it printed by such a service. But if there is a large, middleman markup (as I assumed, but don't know), then I feel we are being shortchanged. Based on the comparison with IS, it definitely looks bad.

« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2008, 06:10 »
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Really fine post Dirk.  To me this is exactly what MicroStock is all about. Many outlets for customers to use images in a variety of ways in accordance with the license terms.    This puts the majority of costs and market risks on others so the marketing details do not interefere with contributors doing what they do best - make images.

As far as "price gouging" goes.  The Internet is a well oiled system for unabashed capitalistism, price gougers either drop their prices or are overwhelmed by the competition.  Don't worry about it.  Just hold up your end as a photographer.

fred

« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2008, 16:50 »
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I agree with some points on dirkr post.

If a designer buys a regular license, he may use it for as many projects as he wants, charging each client for it.  This is an aspect of microstock license that I never really swallowed - to me it should be a fee for each time the image is used, even if by the same client (using image on website and in a brochure should require two purchases). It is obvious however that this would be impossible to enforce, so microstok is as it is.

In Bilderking however, I think there should be some kind of special agreement. They should pay more for each image. Not necessarily an EL, but more than the regular fee. They are offering an imense choice of images for their clients, therefore giving their business more attractive to buyers, but they are not paying anything else for this.  They are not risking money on EL licenses nor paying an extra for the images.  Their buyers would not be purchasing from them if it wasn't for the images we provide through FT.

Regards,
Adelaide

jsnover

« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2008, 19:45 »
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...
Any FT customer now could buy a regular (L, XL) license and use that picture to buy a print from Bilderking. I believe that is fully within the license terms of Fotolia.

...

Am I missing something?

What you're missing is that to buy images from FT directly, the customer has to open an account and buy a package of credits or a subscription - multiple sales come from that. This deal allows the customer to buy one image at the regular price as if they bought credits. Back when DT allowed guest sales, they paid twice the price for buying a one off.

And there's still the issue regarding what happens if Bilderking gets a second order for the same picture - will they buy a second license or just use the image they have. And can the customer get the image in electronic form from them too?

« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2008, 23:47 »
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...
Any FT customer now could buy a regular (L, XL) license and use that picture to buy a print from Bilderking. I believe that is fully within the license terms of Fotolia.

...

Am I missing something?

What you're missing is that to buy images from FT directly, the customer has to open an account and buy a package of credits or a subscription - multiple sales come from that. This deal allows the customer to buy one image at the regular price as if they bought credits. Back when DT allowed guest sales, they paid twice the price for buying a one off.

And there's still the issue regarding what happens if Bilderking gets a second order for the same picture - will they buy a second license or just use the image they have. And can the customer get the image in electronic form from them too?

Here is the question that's been nagging in the back of my head too.
Fotolia claims bilderking is just acting as the middle man, and thus buying the picture on behalf of the customer.  So if they do, the picture is actually licenced to me.?.. despite the fact it is invoiced to Bilderking.... isn't that contradictory .?..
Shouldn't the client/customer also get the picture in digital form, have the right to use it in other ways...?.

Patrick H.

« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2008, 01:58 »
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Bilderking states their policy regarding uploads from customers on their website:

"Your photo is handled confidential and is not given to 3rd parties and would not public available in any way."

Since images from FT are licensed to the customer and not Bilderking I would think the same rules apply and normal FT licensing would require another license for each customer.

Not sure I really care if the customer gets a digital copy or not - they have the license for one, after all - but  many/most would probably not be aware of that and perhaps would not even want one.  If they don't it would seem to provide a little more IP protection than if FT customers had to download and find their own printer.  In they do it themselves then we have to trust every drugstore and fly-by-night printing framing/outfit around.

I would really like to see this take off.  One benefit I could see is that if some of my pictures start selling on Bilderking very well then I would know they are popular and I could then print them myself and sell them at fairs and flea markets - better than guessing which ones might sell.  If some do really well at Bilderking I could pull them off of FT and arrange to sell them myself online or perhaps make a deal with Bilderking for a better cut of the sales price.

fred

KB

« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2008, 12:45 »
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This is a slippery slope, IMO.

It may not happen at Fotolia, but eventually the next obvious step is a company deciding that someone can do the same thing with a subscription.

So instead of getting $2 for a $100+ sale, we'll end up getting $0.35.

But I'm sure we'll make it up in volume.  ;D

« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2008, 13:00 »
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Since images from FT are licensed to the customer and not Bilderking I would think the same rules apply and normal FT licensing would require another license for each customer.
That's what I thought at first, but then the colleague who purchased a print of one of his own photos showed that the buyer's data appears as Bilderking, therefore Bilderking had the rights over the purchased photo.

Maybe this is not what they intended, but this is how it is working, which is legally what matters.

That's why this is a license infringement - it works as Bilderking is buying for print-on-demand sales, which would require an EL.  Anything different should be stated clearly elsewhere.

Regards,
Adelaide

« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2008, 04:46 »
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Well, I'm not a lawyer but I think it is more that practicality than the legality that matters here anyway.  Bilderking would clearly be in violation of the licensing if they were to sell more than one print of a particular image without another standard license.  It would be very easy to detect this violation and I can't imagine they would want to risk the whole arrangement with FT for a few bucks.  In any case, the risk of Bilderking ripping us off would seem to me to be much smaller than some individual selling prints - from a sub image even -  offline.

fred

« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2008, 14:53 »
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Good discussion!
Ok, legally I might be slight off, I didn't exactly get the point that in fact the end customer does not buy the license, so it looks at least a bit strange.

But to that point:

What you're missing is that to buy images from FT directly, the customer has to open an account and buy a package of credits or a subscription - multiple sales come from that. This deal allows the customer to buy one image at the regular price as if they bought credits. Back when DT allowed guest sales, they paid twice the price for buying a one off.

And there's still the issue regarding what happens if Bilderking gets a second order for the same picture - will they buy a second license or just use the image they have. And can the customer get the image in electronic form from them too?

I see that first point actuall as an advantage (for contributors as well), as the middle-man (BilderKing) allows customers to buy that otherwise would not, so it could increase sales.
Of course one could argue that they should pay a higher price then (or otherwise commit to multiple sales by buying a credit package). That goes within the same direction as the license question.
So yes, I probably missed some points.

To the second point: As I said, in the German forum one of the owners of BilderKing posted and claimed, that every print would lead to a new license sale. The claim is no proof, but I would assume it was easy to check (if someone wanted to), just buy the same image twice and see if two licenses are bought from BilderKing. I currently have no reason not to believe them.

That leaves the open question whether they (legally) use the right license.
I'm not sure after following the discussion here, but personally I wouldn't mind selling to them a regular license.

Regards,
Dirk


 

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