You heard it right, not five figure, five decimal points. Getty recently announced a rounding error on contributor statements where photographers who should have gotten a fraction of a penny in royalties got zero instead. So, to solve this problem going forward all the payouts will include tenths, hundredths and thousandths of a cent. Here’s the email you may have received:

$0 transactions on your January 2013 Connect statement

Many of you noticed $0 royalty transactions on your first Connect statement (January 2013) where we should have shown the micro-royalties (fractions of a cent).  This was a processing error where some royalties earned under $0.00500 which were inadvertently rounded to $0.  Going forward you can expect to see the royalty amount (out to five decimal points) for each image earned, even if it is under one penny.  All fractional-cent royalties are then summed on the statement and rounded up or down to the nearest cent for payment.

We have calculated any additional micro-royalties due to you for those zero transactions (which were fractions of a cent).  If you are due an adjustment, we will add this adjustment amount to your payment on April 25th, however no royalty statement for this adjustment will be available.  If applicable, you may see a description for that additional amount in your payment remittance advice as “Jan2013 Connect zero adj”.

NOTE: Sorry, this is not an April Fools joke, but it reads like one so you may be fooled.

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  1. As if Getty’s royalty percentage splits weren’t depressing enough already…(70/30 and 80/20 – in their favor, of course). Could their licensing model possibly get any more miserly? Or ridiculous? *sigh*

  2. Reads like a bully kicking sand in the face of photographers. Again.

  3. Don’t moan about it simply take your work elsewhere.

  4. If this isn’t an April Fool’s joke it hurts my soul a bit.

  5. Or you can take your work to and get a 50-50 split, 100% extended licenses and profits are shared with photographers at the end of the year.

  6. “With this nickel, I start my own hotel.”

  7. Stock is tough business and the majors will do anything to maintain their profits. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be part of the borg. There’s never been a better time to be an independent stock seller. Buyers are jaded with the offerings from the majors and sifting through tens of millions of images on each site adds to the frustration and workload of buyers.

    So take a page out of the playbook of the indie musician and do it yourself. Sure, there’s more work but you maintain 100% control and 100% of the profits.

    I’ve been selling stock on my own for a long time and I’ve also had images with two of the majors. I can tell you that from an *independent* photographer’s standpoint there’s no better way than the indie/self-selling route. I know who is buying my work and this has allowed me to develop some great business relationships that have resulted in regular and repeat stock sales and commissioned work too.

    There are plenty of turnkey hosting solutions that can facilitate an independent artist selling their work in no time. I use PhotoDeck and it’s brilliant. Photo Shelter is another great option. Both of these companies are photographer-centric which is a stark contrast to the rapacious major agencies that see you as nothing more than a source of dollars and cents. Or in this case fractions of a cent.

  8. Why anyone would volunteer to put photos into this service is beyond me. Perhaps a minority draw big paydays?

  9. Stephen Kennedy is a smart and practical man (see above). He’s exchanged the quantity and reach of a major stock house for the quality and business growing experience of selling his own stock images. Growing his own business, instead of Getty’s. Right on.

  10. good one

  11. just re-licensed a shot direct with a company for 1 year; image originally with Getty.. quit them 3 years back

  12. […] and behavior, they often undermine others in their fields, too. How did we get to the point where Getty images just announced five-decimal place (i.e., thousandths of a cent) “micro-royalties&… for stock license sales, today? It’s the result of an endless supply of photographers willing […]

  13. Well said Stephen Kennedy, I know other photographers selling their own stock images. It really comes down to building your own business and brand, and any marketing you do to trying to sell your own stock images could easily turn into assignment jobs. Wonder how much Getty sold those images for that they were only going to pay the photographer $0.005 for! Its interesting though that photographers have the power to put Getty out of business but yet some feel dependent on them. Getty knows they can take advantage of that and pay less and less percentage.

  14. Not that I like Getty (I’ve been supporting myself by licensing my images direct for years), but to their credit, it should be noted that “Connect” is a pay-per-impression program, and those $0.005 are maybe the result of a few impressions. Get to a 1,000 impressions (pretty much the base unit for web advertising), and then the royalty compares to micro.

    Speaking of micro, someone mentioned Stocksy in this thread with respect to splits. The fact is that Getty used to provide a split closer to 50/50 for everybody. Premium contributors still get better than 20. What tarted the slide in royalty splits was micro. Of course everybody knows the role of Stocksy & Istock’s founder Livingstone in popularizing micro. Getty only reduced royalties because Istock paved the way. There are plenty of places that provide a better split than 50/50, and will not sell your image for unlimited use on the web for $10.

  15. Yes, to be fair, it’s pay per view not a license sale and will only add $ to the bottom line, however miniscule it seems as it starts to roll out.

    Everyone is pimping Stocksy because of the “cooperative” bit, but 50% of a $100 RF sale still doesn’t match 20% of my larger Getty RF sales each month. And Getty can still get high value RM sales with 30%+.

    Interesting to see how Stocksy and Offset develop.

  16. […] and behavior, they often undermine others in their fields, too. How did we get to the point where Getty Images just announced five-decimal place (i.e., thousandths of a cent) “micro-royalties” for stock license sales, today? It’s the result of an endless supply of photographers willing to […]

  17. Two years ago we had a client who is an extremely well known shooter walk in our office with a Getty check in the amount of $1.87 reflecting a license issued by Getty for two of our client’s images for use by one of the top selling news magazines in the world. He terminated with Getty as a result.

    The above piece echos what I have been saying for years about the reality of doing business with stock agencies. I am utterly un-surprised by the above article.

  18. Not even funny. Their split is terrible as it is. Playing with the big guy has a high price unfortunately.

  19. Getty was reportedly a famous miser so it shouldn’t be any great surprise that a company bearing his name should follow in his footsteps.

  20. I’ve licensed my own work ever since I left Outline (that’s waaaaay back in the day, for you kids out there) when they changed from a 27/75 split to 35/65…..and again, for the youngsters, I’m talking about the guy who actually did all the work getting the lions share! Even with them ‘only’ taking 35%, I knew that I would come out ahead and time has proven me right a thousand times over!

    Now is truly the time for photographers to tell their syndication/stock agencies to become a lot more equitable…or to simply tell them to go fcuk themselves!

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