Stock Photography Rumors – Destroying Film And Contracts

- - Stock

A rumor has been floating around that images held by Corbis-Sygma will be destroyed unless the owners can be found. The British Journal of Photography spoke with Stéphane Gorrias, the lawyer charged with Corbis-Sygma’s liquidation–Corbis abandoned Sygma after a they were fined 2 million dollars for losing 750 images belonging to French photographer Dominique Aubert (under French law, a photographer retains his rights on all of his images, including when he works for a press agency)–and she told them there are currently no plans to destroy any images. Regardless if you shot for them and have not had your images returned contact her here:
Maître Stéphane Gorrias SCP BTSG
1 place Boieldieu
75002 Paris — France
Read the full story (here).

The rumor about destroying the images may be completely true regardless of the statement made to BJP, because who’s going to pay for their continued storage in the state of the art archival repository in Garnay, France? Not a company that wishes to avoid further lawsuits.

In other news “Getty Images will be launching an updated contributor agreement” that is a complete mystery but sounds super ominous, because they are saying “you will need to sign the new agreement in order to continue to submit images because it will contain important changes that will support our forward-looking objectives.”

I assume those “forward-looking objectives” include some kind of sliding commission scale similar to what they implemented over at istockphoto that had the micro-stock community up in arms.

I have a question from a reader if anyone would like to help them out:

Has anyone ever left Getty and gotten all of their pictures back?

There Are 9 Comments On This Article.

  1. This is just the language that Getty uses every time a new contract comes out. I don’t think it is any different language than the last one or the new contract in, (when was it?) 2000?

  2. Years ago, when Getty moved from analog to digital delivery, they were quite thorough in returning images. They even returned duplicate from all of their office worldwide. Leaving me with 30 -50 dupes of ever image I had on file with them at the time. Surprisingly, nothing was missing.

    • @Chris,
      what about for return of scans? Did you have any experience with that?I’m wondering because for a few years i sent in the negs to scan and I have the negs back but would like to know if they will send me the file or i would have to get it re-scanned.

      • @erin, I never sent them negs for scanning. I wouldn’t think there would be any reason for them to send digital files back to you unless you paid for the scans.

  3. I have had the same experience as Chris. I have always gotten my negatives back. Now that everything is all digital, this seems to be a non-issue unless you still have film at Getty; but this should not be the case.

    I do hope that Getty Images does not change royalty rates.

  4. I just re-read the i-stock photo article Rob linked to. I skimmed it really. But if there is some incentive in the new Getty contract that pays contributors that are active a larger percentage, that would be in interesting idea. I have been waiting to see what agencies would do with so many talented photographers getting out of stock and sitting on the sidelines.

  5. Thanks Rob for clarifying this story online for the photographic community.

    Of course the stock photographers of the future will not have to worry about getting their negatives back. My concern, expressed in social media the past few days, is to uphold the cultural value of those negatives.

    Sticky legal issues may be keeping Corbis from stepping forward and doing the right thing. However I only wish their corporate hearts and pocketbooks were as devoted to The Photograph and Photographers as their legal and public relations departments seem to be. Maybe those folks could devote some hard hitting office hours to that issue, instead of merely defending the brand. It’s not that big a step after all.


  6. One of the questions I would have about leaving Getty now is what happens to their premium access photos.
    In the past they have sold images on the basis of ‘for the lifetime of the contract’. Usually for a pittance.
    So the buyer can use the photo as long as their contract with Getty continues.

    If I terminate my contract I am assuming that all these licenses then end?
    Similarly they have also sold RM images as pseudo RF ‘in perpetuity’, which brings up an interesting legal status since all these sales are reported after the event.

    It would be interesting to get views on this, particularly if a new contract is forthcoming which I again assume will only apply to new images and if I dont agree with it, I can continue on the old contract with no change or just cancel.
    With their pay to play Photographers Choice contract (photographer pays 50 dollars to lodge an image) it again is indistinct legal ground. In the EU at least when you pay for a service you are entitled to a certain standard of service and duty of care over the contract. A new contract will mean new conditions etc.

    Interesting times