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Author Topic: Are creators compensated when enterprise customers get FREE comp use?  (Read 6339 times)

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« Reply #25 on: March 01, 2014, 21:34 »
I guess the real question is should comps be considered a use? You technically are using them to sell something to a client and make money. Is it really any different than making a Powerpoint presentation. At the end of the day, I'm sure nothing will change because they are used to getting comps for free, but it seems like they probably should be charged.
I tend to agree. This 'comp' issue seems like a gray area.

If I am a big company, I get a free license to use a 'comp' to create a design which I pitch and may sell to a customer for use in a publication.

But if I want to get an image to use in a 'pre-made book cover' (i.e. a design which I offer to customers who may or may not buy it and use it in a publication) I have to pay for the license. And most agencies require that I buy an extended license such as one required for use in a web template, whether or not I ever sell my design to a customer who uses it in a publication. (At least this is the current policy of most or all stock agencies regarding pre-made book cover designs - I'm not sure exactly what SS's policy is, but I expect that they would require me to buy a license, probably an EL.)

This seems inconsistent. Should one kind of 'comp' license be given away for free and the other require an EL?


« Reply #26 on: March 03, 2014, 06:57 »
I guess the real question is should comps be considered a use? You technically are using them to sell something to a client and make money. Is it really any different than making a Powerpoint presentation. At the end of the day, I'm sure nothing will change because they are used to getting comps for free, but it seems like they probably should be charged.

It's not even "technical" - these people are making money off of our photos even if they end up not being in the final product.  They're used for ideas, as sales tools, maybe even as models to be copied. They allow a project to be approved and work to begin.   And the agencies make money too, ina sense, because they tell customers that this wonderful free comp service comes as part of a subscription.

We only get paid for a "sale",  and the agency defines what constitues a "sale", and for any other uses, we get nothing.

It's just another way agencies have learned to profit from our work without paying royalties.

In the olden days, before stock, agencies would have an illustrator (called a comp artist) draw up the ideas, and then the art director would look over photographer/illustrator portfolios and present the portfolios to the client for approval. (This still happens today, to a lesser extent.) Every so often there'd be a portfolio review at the agency, and all the art directors would head to the conference room to look over the portfolios, which were large books or boxes with mounted photos in them. Back then you had to have a rep to get your work seen, and it was tough to get a rep.

This free comp thing is simply the digital version of that. Only now, many thousands of photographers and illustrators who would never have stood a chance back then can have their work seen and presented to major clients. Reps and comp artists have suffered as a result, but many photographers and illustrators have benefitted from it.

« Reply #27 on: March 03, 2014, 11:47 »
If SS wants to play in the market that traditionally has been sewn up by Getty, they need to offer the services these large customers are used to. Part of the deal is the free use of comps in return for higher prices for licenses when images are used. My guess is that as the newbie in that market, SS can't barge in and tell companies they have to do business a new way - those who were comfortable changing how they do things would already be SS customers.

Clearly there is a bit less money for the images in the losing designs than if all images had to be purchased; I think if they were creative, SS could come up with some sort of deal where there was a portion of the agencies payments that covered uses of comps and they paid us at subs rates (even if the purchase wasn't strictly a subscription). If SS were more interested in generating contributor goodwill, I'm guessing they could easily afford to do this out of their own pockets, but I think they feel their top of the table monthly earnings status means they don't need to do that.

Giving away use of the comps is a little extra SS can use to sweeten a deal - it's effectively a giveaway that doesn't cost them a penny because they're not obliged to compensate us. Sort of like all those offers to give us "exposure" in return for a free use :) As I mentioned a few dozen posts back, I'm not thrilled but I can live with it because I like the SOD income.


« Reply #28 on: March 03, 2014, 20:17 »

It seems like Shutterstock actually does more that companies like Getty have done historically to control comp image usage. From what Scott has said, it sounds like comps are only made available to select large accounts. Not all that long ago (and maybe still today) all you had to do to get free unwatermarked comp images at Getty was sign up for a website account. As recently as 2006 I was doing this, needing nothing more than an email address to create a Getty account and immediately start downloading comps.

I have no problem with it. unwatermarked comps are part of the business. Sure I'd prefer to be compensated for every use, but that's just not how some of these large old-school companies do business. And there has never been a time in the stock image business when we had 100% control and compensation for every license and use. It just doesn't work that way, and stock artists have always had to be willing to let go of some rights and controls over what constitutes a use that should be paid for.

These companies have money to spend, lots of it in many cases, and if making free comps available to them is how we get them to spend that money with us (microstock), then I'm all for it.

Besides, what's the alternative? If these companies want unwatermarked images for comps, they're going to get them. It means they either get them elsewhere, or they remove the watermarks for comps. And I know that's another sore subject for a lot of folks, but let's face it, it happens. I've done it. I worked on the other side of this thing for many years and I've had to put iStock and Shutterstock images into designs in which the clients did not want to see watermarks.

If a client really doesn't want to see watermarks, the agency will find ways to make that happen. Shutterstock is smart to make it possible for some of their customers to be able to do this without a lot of hassle.

« Reply #29 on: March 03, 2014, 21:20 »
Yeah guys.  I'm sure SS couldn't possibly afford to slip me 25 cents for these sorts of uses.  What was I thinking.

I suppose when Mr. Designer goes to the customer for the presentation, he doesn't have to pay the cab driver unless he actually makes the sale.

« Last Edit: March 03, 2014, 21:23 by stockastic »


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