Monday, May 23, 2011

PicScout Acquired by Getty Images

Getty Images has made an interesting acquisition in buying the PicScout image recognition service a few weeks ago, and frankly, it's a smart move. Getty Images, with millions of images, and a dwindling per image revenue stream, must find alternative revenue streams, and focusing on infringements is wise.

In 2007, when Getty was publicly traded, and had to do things like conference calls with investors, Getty CEO Jonathan Klein said "the way we see the world today quite simply, is that our core stock photography business has stopped growing, in fact, it's declining. Our number 1 priority is to stabilize that business...we're trying to stablize the core stock business, at the same time, trying continuing to grow the other businesses." (PBN - GYI's JDK: "our core stock photography business has stopped growing, in fact, it's declining.", 9/20/07). So, the new business seems to be pursuing infringements?

Also back in September of 2007, the Stock Artists Alliance released a white paper - “Infringements of Stock Images and Lost Revenues.”, that they did with....wait for it....Pic Scout, revealed some interesting figures. We wrote (God Save the Alliance, 9/07), "SAA’s study found that 9 out of 10 images they found were infringements upon RM images. That’s a lot of infringements! What’s worse, because of the low-dollar-per-image issue, it seems that tracking infringements of RF isn’t cost effective, giving infringers essentially a “license” to infringe." We also cited from the report back in 2007 "According to Selling Stock’s recent count, there are just over 1 million RM images on If we apply the 1:15 annual infringement rate observed in our study, we arrive at an estimate of approximately 67,000 infringements in a one –year period."

PicScout certainly is the industry leader when it comes to image recognition. They also are the provider of image recognition services to the PLUS Coalition's PLUS Registry, which positions not just PicScout, but also Getty Images, to lead the industry in the long term.

Frankly, all photographers would benefit from Getty being on top of their rights management, and the pursuit of infringers. The more infringers are pursued, the more they will think twice infringing, whether it's a Getty image, or that of a freelancer.

(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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Harrisburg Photographer said...

I love Picscout, so I've been torn about this.

LesM said...

When I discovered that Picscout, a subsidiary of Getty Images, had established a direct link to my personal photographic website and was directing users to it, I wondered what was their purpose.

After a long exchange of emails, during which I recorded a number of visits to my website from Getty Images, the closest I could get to an explanation came from the "Product Manager for the Getty Images/Picscout ImageExchange" software.

He said that "It is possible that our ImageExchange tool created a referral to your site, but this is difficult to definitively determine."

First and foremost, their software DID establish a link to my site - I can vouch for that - they've left their footprints behind!

And then think about this - he's the product manager for the software that makes photos from other websites available to Getty Images to market! And he doesn't know what the software does, nor what it did, nor what the effect of that might be on a "victim" of their software"? They might think I'm stupid, but I'm not that stupid!

I responded ".... My question remains, how and why? The
images on my site were all clearly marked as copyrighted, and had never been
made available to PicScout. Then why establish a link to my site and refer
what I can only imagine to be potential PicScout customers to my site?"

I never received a response to this question.

Would you buy a used car from these people?

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