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Author Topic: iStock ELs not paying properly?  (Read 34675 times)

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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2010, 19:40 »
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So I was posting a reply when Lobo locked the thread about this.

My post was saying that it's beyond belief that a large site has so few checks on code that handles money that a royalty rate change could just get onto the site by "accident".

I think iStock needs to stay what they're doing to improve the review process of code changes like this - it could very easily have gone undetected given the pathetic state of the contributor reporting tools on our sales.

This a big site doing a lot of business. I want to have confidence that my money is being handled securely and calculations of royalties are made at the stated rates.

I think IS owes an explanation of what they're doing to change the procedures they currently use so this never happens again. It's disgraceful that they just say "oops - sorry!" and lock the thread.


PaulieWalnuts

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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2010, 19:48 »
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Actually I'm surprised they're recognizing this and offering to correct it. I was expecting an "oh well, it got rolled out early and we're not changing anything" type of response.

« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2010, 19:54 »
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I'm putting my money on they won't fix it and hope no one else notices. Because HEY! Pink_cotton_candy is now a forum moderator and the iStocky nominations start today. Woo-yay!

Man, they suck so bad.

« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2010, 20:35 »
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...
My post was saying that it's beyond belief that a large site has so few checks on code that handles money that a royalty rate change could just get onto the site by "accident".
...

You are absolutely right, it is beyond belief.

Only two possible explanations occur to me right now - either they're the most incompetent people ever to run a multi-million dollar e-commerce site, or else they are absolutely desperate to make some kind of number for end-of-quarter or end-of-fiscal-year.

I've seen and heard of lots of corporate skullduggery when the management knobs are desperate to make their numbers.  For example in manufacturing it is (or was) some kind of rule that you don't declare revenue until the product has been delivered to the customer's door.  Two scams I heard of were, (a) when you can't ship the product fast enough to the customers, make a rectangle of tape around a corner of your warehouse and declare it to be "customer property" and pile up all the crap there which the management weasels are desperate to declare as "revenue" for the current quarter; and (b) ship stuff to customers that they never ordered, just drive up to their shop, unload and take off.  The inevitable product returns can be kept off the books for many quarters if necessary.

But I suppose it's more difficult to scam when you're doing e-commerce - either the credit card/paypal transactions happened, or they didn't.  If (hypothetically) a bunch of management weasels were desperate to put lipstick on an e-commerce pig then I suppose that making "mistakes" with the software would be about the only way, either overcharging customers or underpaying suppliers.

I don't have to tell you, when these scams occur they do not end well for the company management or shareholders.  When the chickens come home to roost a wrecked share price is the least of their problems ... civil lawsuits are very common and criminal investigations are not unknown.

« Reply #29 on: November 01, 2010, 20:56 »
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I seriously have no respect for any of the old timers that work there anymore. They have lost their ethics and their way, so much so that it's bordering on criminal. Surely at least Lobo could find another job in customer service somewhere. He's so good at it.  :D
« Last Edit: November 01, 2010, 21:05 by caspixel »

« Reply #30 on: November 01, 2010, 21:04 »
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Okay, I just had to laugh about this one. Can those retards* do nothing right?

From the iStocky's thread:

Just a quick question...when I went to the Stockys page, I noticed that the categories given on the homepage differ from those given on the "Enter Now" page. Just curious if this is a misprint. Or it could be that there is a slight name variation and I'm not getting it.

*no disrepect to the mentally disabled, but I have to call a spade a spade here

« Reply #31 on: November 02, 2010, 09:47 »
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Unfortunately, there's no way to find 'em.


Any scope for another of your fancy Greasemonkey scripts perhaps?

 ;)


This week I'll add a button to show last EL downloads next to the other columns I added before.  It will at least help spot if one sold if you check at the right time.


The new script for the EL button is now available:
http://bit.ly/auEdDb

« Reply #32 on: November 02, 2010, 09:58 »
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The new script for the EL button is now available:
http://bit.ly/auEdDb


This is awesome, Sean. Let's see, you created that script in what, a day or two? Yet IS cannot? Enough said.

I missed the greasemonkey thing the first time around. Will go download and install it all now.

« Reply #33 on: November 02, 2010, 10:02 »
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Or not getting paid AT ALL!

From here: http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=270252&page=1#post5124232

I happened across one of my images being used in a major magazine and it was credited to istockphoto, so I know the image came from here. But when I checked my stats (this happened a few months ago) I had not been paid for an EL for that photo. I contacted CR, and IS made it right...the payment was credited to my account. But the fact remains, if I had not seen my image being used and checked, I would never have gotten paid for that EL. How many more are there like this?

Kelly must be desperate to meet that revenue target. How disgusting.

« Reply #34 on: November 02, 2010, 10:03 »
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To be fair, she didn't get paid for the EL, because the buyer didn't license it correctly initially or after the fact.  Nothing you can do with RF until it is noticed.

« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2010, 10:09 »
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Oh, where did she say that? I didn't see it.

« Reply #36 on: November 02, 2010, 10:12 »
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To be fair, she didn't get paid for the EL, because the buyer didn't license it correctly initially or after the fact.  Nothing you can do with RF until it is noticed.
I don't understand why, if IS was able to track down the sale and determine who bought it and that yes, it should have been purchased as an EL, why doesn't IS know before the contributor discovers the mistake? Does IS not have data of what their clients purchase? Especially LARGE clients? Just doesn't seem right.

« Reply #37 on: November 02, 2010, 10:15 »
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What?  How is IS supposed to know a contributor has used it outside the terms of the regular license until they find out about it?

« Reply #38 on: November 02, 2010, 10:15 »
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Oh, where did she say that? I didn't see it.

That's just my reading of the post.

« Reply #39 on: November 02, 2010, 10:18 »
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Oh, where did she say that? I didn't see it.

That's just my reading of the post.

I don't see anywhere where she says the buyer bought the EL after the fact. They may have, or not. It doesn't look like CR was forthcoming with that information either.

traveler1116

« Reply #40 on: November 02, 2010, 10:20 »
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Actually I'm surprised they're recognizing this and offering to correct it. I was expecting an "oh well, it got rolled out early and we're not changing anything" type of response.

That's what I expected too.  This is the first good surprise from IS since the announcement.  But any word on when we can expect to get paid for the ELs or how long the "error" was going on for?

« Reply #41 on: November 02, 2010, 10:27 »
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What?  How is IS supposed to know a contributor has used it outside the terms of the regular license until they find out about it?

If a large magazine uses an agency to purchase their photos, ANY photo appearing in that magazine will need to be an EL, just because the monthly print run of that magazine is in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. Are you saying IS wouldn't keep tabs on that? They would be losing money too if they didn't! Or maybe one of those special deals was struck just so IS could keep the account? Are you saying that a magazine or agency wouldn't know that they needed to purchase an EL? I will buy that line regarding regular internet users, but come on.

caspixel,
Here is what my email from CE said:

Quote
Hi Cathleen,
 
I am happy to say this has been resolved quickly.
 
The client has repurchased the image with the Extended License Unlimited Print/Reproductions.
 
You should be able to see this information in your account.

« Reply #42 on: November 02, 2010, 10:33 »
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Just because a buyer is a large magazine does not mean all their downloads will end up in the magazine.  They could use it in internal communication, a tv ad for the magazine, etc.  With millions of buyers, I can't imagine IS would have subscriptions to every magazine, and monthly go through to correlate images to things licensed.

« Reply #43 on: November 02, 2010, 10:45 »
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Just because a buyer is a large magazine does not mean all their downloads will end up in the magazine.  They could use it in internal communication, a tv ad for the magazine, etc.  With millions of buyers, I can't imagine IS would have subscriptions to every magazine, and monthly go through to correlate images to things licensed.

You are correct, good point. BUT...I'm not talking about someone sitting down and going through every magazine and correlating images. I'm talking about data that is retrieved from the website when a sale is made. Are you saying that if I make a purchase of an image, and some huge agency makes a purchase, that IS doesn't have any way to capture data as to who made what purchase?  If IS knows that xyz bought an image and it's my image and I should get the commission, I'm pretty sure they know who xyz is.

But this whole debate is moot. Neither one of us will know the whole story. I don't expect you to say too many bad things about IS...you are a huge contributor and make a ton of money from them...I don't have that much to lose by shooting off my mouth.  :)

« Reply #44 on: November 02, 2010, 10:48 »
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You are correct, good point. BUT...I'm not talking about someone sitting down and going through every magazine and correlating images. I'm talking about data that is retrieved from the website when a sale is made. Are you saying that if I make a purchase of an image, and some huge agency makes a purchase, that IS doesn't have any way to capture data as to who made what purchase?  If IS knows that xyz bought an image and it's my image and I should get the commission, I'm pretty sure they know who xyz is.

I think you're missing something, or crossing wires here.

Story: Magazine licensed image with regular license.  You received regular royalty.  You later find in magazine.  Usage requires EL.  You tell IS.  IS locates sale in history and notes magazine didn't purchase EL.  They contact magazine to request money for EL.

I'm not getting why you think IS doesn't know who licensed what image.  Of course they do.  You can go to your download history and see all your downloads as proof that it is recorded.  All they don't know is whether a license is used properly (ie, without an EL where one is required).

traveler1116

« Reply #45 on: November 02, 2010, 10:57 »
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CClapper, these things happened with SS lots before when I was with them.  Every now and again I would get a bunch of ELs from images that were used incorrectly and that SS got the responsible party to pay for, it doesn't sound like IS is trying to screw you this time.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #46 on: November 02, 2010, 13:05 »
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Are you saying that a magazine or agency wouldn't know that they needed to purchase an EL? I will buy that line regarding regular internet users, but come on.
Twice last year when Time magazine used iStock photos on their front cover, an EL wasn't paid until all the woo-ways about the cover brought up the fact that they hadn't paid ELs either time. iStock chased them up both times.
I'll buy a possible mistake the first time, but the second time?
AND: has an iStock photo been used on the front cover since they discovered (twice) they had to buy ELs?

« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2010, 13:49 »
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What also needs to be said here is that some bright spark set the requirement for an extended license for print at a whopping 500,000 copies. I know the population in the States is much bigger than in Great Britain so it stands to reason the print runs are going to be bigger over there too, but even so...

How many magazines, paperback covers, album covers, annual reports, cereal boxes, advertisements, etc. are being printed in runs that don't reach 500,000 and thus don't require an extended license?

If iStock wants to mess about with some numbers, it should do itself a favour -- and at the same time do us all a favour -- and knock a zero off the end of that figure. (Isn't the guy who runs the show over there supposed to have a background in marketing?)
« Last Edit: November 02, 2010, 14:09 by MarkFGD »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #48 on: November 02, 2010, 14:02 »
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What also needs to be said here is that some bright spark set the requirement for an extended license for print at a whopping 500,000 copies. I know the population in the States is much bigger than in Great Britain so it stands to reason the print runs are going to be bigger over there too, but even so...

How many magazines, paperback covers, album covers, annual reports, cereal boxes, advertisements, etc. are being printed in runs that don't reach 500,0000 and thus don't require an extended license?

If iStock wants to mess about with some numbers, it should do itself a favour -- and at the same time do us all a favour -- and knock a zero off the end of that figure. (Isn't the guy who runs the show over there supposed to have a background in marketing?)
+1

« Reply #49 on: November 02, 2010, 14:06 »
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You can get an audit at Getty.
"4.7 Audit Rights. You may employ a certified accountant or licensed financial advisor to audit payments made to you during the previous 36 months, at your expense unless the audit reveals that Getty Images has underpaid you by more than 7.5%, in which case Getty Images will reimburse you for the actual and reasonable auditors fees. Getty Images will honor one audit request per calendar year, upon 60 days notice. If an underpayment is discovered in an audit, Getty Images will pay Contributor interest based on the average one month LIBOR rate for the period under audit on the amount due from the date payment was due, correct the books and records, and will pay any amounts due (subject to any applicable Royalty Deductions) within 30 days after the amount due is finally determined. In the event that an audit reveals any overpayment to Contributor, Contributor agrees that Getty Images may deduct the overpayment from Contributors earnings."


If you think a bit about this clause - and I did as I was contemplating adding a suggestion in the IS forums that we have an audit clause in our contracts - it isn't as easy or cheap as we'd like it to be to take a look at the books.

1. You only get an audit once a year and with 2 months advance notice. Lots of time for things to get tidied away.

2. I assume the audit would take place in Calgary, meaning the accountant or advisor would have to be there or we'd pay to fly them there. Imagine how expensive that could be if there were foot dragging in giving the auditor what they needed.

3. Would the person have to be licensed in Canada?

4. There appears to be nothing about how you resolve things should IS and the auditor disagree about what the correct royalties should be. I assume in such cases it ends up going to court if the contributor cares to go that route. More expense.

5. There's a pretty high threshhold of recovery amount before you get paid something for the cost of the audit if there are problems found (reasonable charges - i.e. would they quibble about travel expenses to HQ?).

All of this says that even if we asked for a Getty-style audit clause, it'd only be the highest earners who'd have a prayer of this making any financial sense.

I'd be interested in other people's opinions, but it seems to be that audits wouldn't help most of us given the costs involved. Which brings me back to pushing for getting detailed downloadable sales data so we can monitor what they're doing more closely. Given how many of us there are, odds are good - if we have the data - that we would catch a problem if one occurred.


 

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