Yesterday, iStockphoto made an important announcement for designers and photographers. In an attempt to build trust with their customers who purchase royalty-free content, iStockphoto implemented a guarantee that all image, video and audio files purchased on the site will be guaranteed, such that iStock will cover all files for legal costs and damages up to $10,000.
However, purchasers who demand additional peace of mind may purchase greater coverage under the guarantee on a file-by-file basis at a price of 100 iStock credits. The credits vary in price/value depending on the bulk amount in which customers pre-purchase those credits. For example, a package of 12 credits will run $18 or $1.50 per credit; however, a package of 2000 credits will run $1900 or $0.95 per credit. As a result, this “insurance” can run anywhere between $95 and $150 out-of-pocket per file.
While that seems like a bit much to pay per file, companies running a national or global campaign probably wouldn’t mind a little more peace of mind. Just ask Virgin Mobile. Designers working on or quoting these major campaigns should probably think about which ones to build this into their budgets or quotes. When you think about the scale, it sounds like a pretty good deal on insurance.
What does it mean for photographers? iStock has a history of being sticklers on trademark and copyright elements in submitted photos, as well as obtaining appropriate model releases. iStock does a good job of covering its butt (and photographers’ butts too) when evaluating submitted files. If a file is questionable as to whether there is a copyrightable or trademark element within, the safe thing to do is reject it. While iStock uses a fine tooth comb in reviewing files, iStock is not your momma or your lawyer. When submitting files to iStock, the artist makes some heavy representations and warranties as to his or her authority to submit the files for commercial use.
If iStock gets called on the carpet for a file, you can bet your $1.06 commission that iStock will be dragging the photographer along with them. Just a little reminder to conduct your own, personal inspection of files for potentially troubling elements before clicking submit.
With the scary part out there now, I think this move by iStock can increase the marketability and visibility of stock photography as a valuable resource for bigger customers.
More reading on this topic from John Harrington and Thomas Hawk.
Also see the news release below. [click to continue…]