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Author Topic: Snapvillage not Corbis any more  (Read 3910 times)

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« on: November 07, 2007, 23:24 »
Many photogs have endured the Snapvillage "beta" debacle, the non-watermark and the lack of IPTC for a long time, just because it was a company owned by Corbis, and ultimately by Microsoft. As such, there would be potential in the site.

Not any more. Snapvillage moved to Ireland under a low tax scheme, and is now owned by a sortof offshore shell company that shelters hundreds of other companies. As an Irish company, Snapvillage can escape US taxes and copyright practices easily. In fact, it will be very difficult to sue Snapvillage as it is not a US company any more.

So where is Snapvillage's USP (unique selling proposition) now? It aint Corbis, it aint Microsoft, its just another newcomer in the tsunami of new mictrostock sites.

Got this from Paul Melcher's blog on
Some quotes:

Corbis the Corbis ( how else to describe them ?) have again taken the world by surprised. A few months after launching, they have posted a new contributor agreement, effective August 31, 2007, but only posted a month later, on September 27. Most of the contract is all about changing the legal name of Snapvillage, and adding some very threatening comments that is not particularly contributor-friendly. One would think that if you have a UGC company, you would have an agreement that doesnt scares the pants out of those Users. Corbis is afraid of no one, not even its own contributors who find themselves forced to fly to Ireland if they need to sue Snapvillage and pay all legal fees even if they win. Furthermore, the agreement makes no efforts to be readable by the common man. Quite the opposite. So much for being user friendly.

SnapVillage Ltd.
Attn: Matsack Trust Limited
70 Sir John Rogersons Quay
Dublin 2

The Matsack company websites clearly specifies : Our in-house company Matsack Trust Limited acts as Company Secretary for several hundred client companies, comprising public, private, unlimited companies

MmmNow everyone knows that Corbis will do anything to protect its very wealthy and only stockholder, Bill Gates, from any possible liabilities. Fair enough. This agreement does not even mention Corbis at all. But Ireland ? and a empty company ? Well, an article on the American Chamber of Commerce explains it all :

These [benefits] include Irelands open and transparent tax regime, a standard 12.5% corporation tax rate which applies to all companies. Equally important are the double taxation agreements with 44 countries and the favourable [sic] tax incentives given to intellectual property and to Research & Development investment.

A tax shelter. Apparently, Corbis idea of making a profit is to pay less taxes overall, and none in the USA at all.

« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2007, 23:34 »
It is not unusual for corporations to move registered subsidiaries offshore for tax and legal reasons, particularly if it is anticipated that the subsidiary's operations will take place in several countries and currencies.

And being owned by a Trust is also nothing new and certainly not suspicious.

And just to confirm that this is just a technical or tax efficient operation, the SV web site still has 'empowered by Corbis' slapped all over it......

« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 06:26 »
This states that it is indeed, still Corbis? (and the machine is getting bigger too)

« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2007, 07:11 »
For those of us not living in the United States of America, this doesn't really matter at all. It's not unique for a stock agency to move around a bit. Many of them are based two or more countries, for tax, commercial and operational reasons.


« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2007, 11:22 »
Lots of reputable US companies have large operations in Ireland, including Intel - only semiconductor plants outside of the US are Ireland and Israel. Microsoft has it's European headquarters here. Pfizer have 6 manufacturing sites. Dells European headquarters are here. It would a long list if I were to continue

A favorable tax regime certainly is an attraction but there are many others; an english speaking highly educated workforce, excellent transport connections, and intellectual property law in Ireland is extremely strong (thats why so many software companies are based here)

« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2007, 13:02 »
And the guinness isn't bad either :)

« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2007, 16:29 »
The dark blue eyes of Irish people are also amazing.  :D

And they are one of the most gentle people I ever met in my trips. And in both B&B I stayed (Dublin and Galway), I was surprised with the level of knowledge the owners had about Brazil, much beyond the football & beaches & Carnival that most people do.


« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2007, 17:32 »
 I do not care where they are based. I would like them to implement ftp. Right now the uploading to them is a stress. No ftp, and their regular procedure is not working for me today.

« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2007, 18:06 »
I've just uploaded some images without new problems (IPTC problem is still there, the image file problem happens occasionally).

The worst thing for me is having to copy&paste keywords into the images.  If they corrected that, I would upload a lot more.



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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 21:24 »
Adelaide - I use Microsoft's Photo Info and it works fine with SV.

« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2007, 14:21 »

You are absolutely right, it doesn't make a difference for you if the company is based in Seattle or Ireland. Since Corbis is owned solely by Bill Gates, their lawyers are busy making sure no one can get to him via a lawsuit to through Corbis or Snapvillage.

The Ireland deal is just the corporation's way of not paying taxes in the USA which are higher.

Finally, has both a fast and easy FTP upload and no known issues with IPTC. Give it a spin, you will not be disappointed.


Paul M


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