To: All NUJ Photographers
From: The NUJ Photographers’ Council
Alamy Image Library – Changes to terms and conditions.
As many members will be aware, Alamy.com, one of the world’s largest stock image libraries, intends to impose revised terms and conditions on its contributors from 1st April 2015.
NUJ members who license their images through Alamy have expressed a number of concerns about the company’s new contract, and the issues have been widely discussed by members of the Editorial Photographers UK (EPUK) email discussion group.
The Photographers’ Council has sought legal advice on the validity and enforceability of Alamy’s new terms, and the NUJ is seeking an urgent meeting with the company to discuss our misgivings.
The main points of concern are that Alamy’s new terms would effectively prevent contributors from enforcing their intellectual property rights against infringers who have used images downloaded directly, or indirectly from the Alamy servers, without payment. Crucially, the new Alamy terms appear to prohibit a photographer from contacting an infringer, even after he or she may have terminated their agreement with Alamy, and removed their images.
Additionally, the new terms appear to give Alamy the right to licence a re-use of any image, even if a photographer terminates his or her contract with the company, if, in Alamy’s ‘reasonable opinion’ the new use is ‘the same or closely similar’ to the original use. Effectively, this suggests that under the new contract, once an image has been licensed through Alamy, its creator can never again claim full control over future usage.
A detailed critique of the new Alamy terms can be found on the EPUK website at http://www.epuk.org/…/an-open-letter-from-epuk-to-alamy…
Alamy’s response can be seen at http://www.epuk.org/…/alamy-responds-to-epuk-s-open-letter
NUJ member David Hoffman, a longstanding Alamy contributor, and one of EPUK’s moderators, has offered his own critique of Alamy’s response athttp://www.epuk.org/…/alamy-s-defence-misleading-and… .
What can members do, if they are unhappy with the new terms?
The simple answer, is to terminate their agreements with Alamy, by 31st March 2015, and delete all images from the Alamy servers.
This is a serious step to take, not least because Alamy has, in the past, been a good source of income for so many NUJ photographers.
One suggestion that members may wish to consider, is to terminate their existing Alamy contract by 31st March, to maintain control over their existing body of work, but then to rejoin Alamy, under the new terms, but withholding their best selling and most precious images, and placing these with another agency offering more favourable and equitable terms.
A helpful guide on how to preserve metadata and key wording for images that you are removing from Alamy can be found, again from the EPUK website, at http://www.epuk.org/the-curve/alamy-finding-the-exit
At the very least, members who are currently Alamy contributors should read and digest the information on the EPUK website, and be aware that if they are unhappy with the new terms, they should act before the 31st March deadline.
If the Photographers’ Council gets any more information before 31st March, updates will be posted on the Union Photographers and Videographers Facebook Group, and on the Council’s blog at https://photographerscouncil.wordpress.com