The fiasco of Modern Postcard has come and gone. They rectified their mistake with an apology and cancellation of their partnership with iStockphoto. A grand move, in my eyes, since a distributor like Getty only wants to dominate the marketplace and own all of its content, taking the photographer completely out of the equation.
I received some angry emails from other photographers when I suggested sending a thank you to Modern Postcard for their change in plans, giving iStockphoto the boot. Their rationale was they were burned once, why give them a second chance?
This from Getty photographers who are willing to accept continual cuts in the percentages gained from license fees, who keep agreeing to lower and lower rates (now a one-year, $49 web use license for 500K-sized files from ANY of its images regardless of brand or pricing model).
I think you’ve got to look at the big picture. A photographer can keep fighting against the pressure to lower fees, to accept lower license fee percentages, to accept greater rights uses for less, or they can jump on the bandwagon of giving away their work for low fee because “if I don’t do it someone else will”. Granted, we all have to eat and it’s a pisser that we have to put up with this at all. The big distributors, like Getty, are not helping one single bit by insisting on rights-grabbing contracts and pressuring photographers to provide content for nearly nothing, all in the rush to make more money for themselves. Hopefully, this mentality will come crashing down one day soon and a great sorting out will occur, a leveling of the playing field, a return of ownership of the content to photographers rather than the giant sucking void that exists now.
I’m angry at the photographers who thought that Modern Postcard should go down for this mistake, but who continue to feed Getty because they feel it’s the only game in town. The monopoly has them by the balls and they’re afraid. Modern Postcard is an easy target because there are other printers they can go to. There are other stock photo outlets out there as well. And many have quit Getty and are doing rather well distributing their own work. It’s not really a monopoly unless you give in to it.
I’ve never used Modern Postcard, but I likely will in the near future because they truly seem to be photographer friendly, especially by their actions of ending what was probably a lucrative partnership after receiving many customer complaints.
I’ve never contributed to Getty and never plan to because photographers can complain to Getty until they are blue in the face and Getty will just point to the door with their jackbooted foot cocked for launch.
So why put up with that?