PicScout Joins LicenseStream In Push To License Images Anywhere

- - Stock, The Future

PicScout just announced a new product that will allow photographer to attach some sort of one click licensing to their images (here). This is the same as what LicenseStream has been offering for almost a year now and so there’s nothing revolutionary about it, but it will be very interesting to watch as more companies adopt this business model. There are many people who believe image licensing has a similar problem to what music had, in that people want to license images but there’s not an easy way to do that, so they steal them instead. It’s hard for me to believe this type of licensing amounts to much more than beer money, unless of course you’re handling the transactions and then those pennies add up to millions of dollars as Getty and Corbis discovered in the micro stock business. I do think that it’s good to teach people that images cost money and provide them with an easy way to license them, I don’t think this does much for professional photographers. For pros the more exclusive the image the better.

There Are 6 Comments On This Article.

  1. Like stock photo agencies, you have to wonder how many services like this can the industry support? It sure feels like we will see a proliferation of these kind of businesses until one of them emerges as the clear market leader, then the market will basically collapse to one or two services.

    And what happens to stock agencies if one of these services becomes truly successful? I can see room for differentiation, but it will make life even more difficult for stock agencies.

    It would seem to me the impact for professional photographers is it might lead to more options for how you can offer some images for broad consumption. Now you can offer images for stock on your own — but you (or your agent) need to manage the terms. If you go with a stock agency, you don’t have a lot of control over how your images are ultimately used. There might be a more fertile middle ground that is more exclusive than stock and yields at least a little more than beer money. I don’t think these services, by themselves, make that happen. But it might lead to some new opportunities.

  2. Again, it’s one of those situations where this will work if there is a “Used Car Lot” type of business model. “The service” offers a site where they feature images of freelance photographers for a fee and promote to certain industries. The industry clients hunt for the right photo and when found work directly with the photographer for pricing and “the service” handles the paperwork. No, wait, thats the definition of a stock agency, right?
    I dunno, the economy’s got me all screwed up!

  3. While this technology (and LicenseStream as you point out) is in its infancy it has great potential for professional licensing. I would take exception to your comment: “I don’t think this does much for professional photographers.”

    The embedded licensing and contact information may pick up minor “beer money” re-licenses from those who stumble across minor uses of legitimately licenses images on blogs, websites and other low paying uses; but the beauty of this new technology will be in the potential re-license of higher paying, separate use. I speak as a direct marketer of stock with no agency exposure (or first hand knowledge). For most photographers (not the few and dwindling big guns in big agencies) to make any money in stock (shall we say at least 5 figures per year ?), direct marketing is the ONLY hope IMHO.

    Direct marketing photographers need to “push” photos into the market, direct to potential buyers. I already do this regularly with reasonable success and expect more success as I embed direct license information into my own e-mails, newsletters, blogs, and guest blogs. If I do a post or newsletter announcement about a new shoot, it goes to an existing client base who, if they are interested in using the photos, have traditionally had to follow up with a request for high res or price negotiation. The new technology allows the photographer to make this transaction automatically, and for many years.

    Beyond this own simplified marketing to one’s own clients, it makes it much less scary to post photos to websites, send out photos to various guest blogs, aggregate sites, and random requests we get from unknown sources. I have precious little time to track copyright infringement and believe people do want to license images legally if it were easy. Sending out low res photo with the embedded licensing info is like sending out business cards, cards that may turn out to be ATM cards to our pockets . . . we must have hope

  4. What’s the difference between PicScout & Tineye? The image information will remain embedded unless a thief removes it, and Tineye can still find the image. No?

    I guess my question is, what’s the advantage, if any, of what PicScout is doing relative to Tineye?

  5. Let me introduce myself, I am Amy Love, VP of Marketing and Business Development for PicScout. After reading the blog post by Rob Haggart and reviewing the reader comments, I wanted to reach out and correct some misinterpretation about PicScout’s announcements today and explain how our offering is different.

    PicScout is a service platform and a technology that allows for the immediate identification and usability of images, and then, in one click, directly connects the image user to the licensor for purchase or use. PicScout’s role is to ensure that every image gets its credit and does not act as a middleman, not in any way.

    Through PicScout’s fingerprinting technology and the Image IRC platform, images in our index — totaling tens of millions of images — are denoted with the universal icon for information—the “i” symbol — wherever they appear. Users searching Google Images using the ImageExchange Add-on, for example, will now be able to see the icon with any indexed image. Pointing to the icon reveals metadata, including who owns the image and a connection to purchase the image or obtain more information on-the-fly. Owners include professional photographers, stock photo houses, creative agencies, etc. This ubiquitous model identifying images anywhere with ownership which facilitates purchase through the connection back to the licensor platform has not been done before.

    We believe:
    1. With the Image IRC, the potential to significantly increase industry revenue and profitability is far-reaching.

    2. The Image IRC creates a carrot and a stick relationship. ImageExchange provides the carrot to allow image buyers to “do the right thing” at the point of discovery. The stick is PicScout’s ImageTracker, which to date, has recaptured tens of millions of dollars for agencies and photographers. Combined, the PicScout offering aligns the image user with the licensor and ensures people are accountable.

    Regarding TinEye, they company says “it is a reverse image search engine to tell you where images appear” where as Image IRC and ImageExchange bring a service model to the stock agency, professional photographer and users of images, including creative pros, industries to identify with one click where an image can be licensed.

    We would like to continue the conversation. If you would like to reach us, please visit our web site, For more timely information, visit our blog,, as we will be making several more announcements in the coming weeks.

  6. What about all the pictures that thieves edit before they put them up? Everything from removing the Exif to editing the image in Photoshop. How does Picscout find those?

    TinEye does. And TinEye is free. And TinEye is instant.