Are You Selling Extended License Rights for Subscription-Level Royalties?

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Something few microstockers realize is that there’s a huge gap in the license rights that different microstock agencies offer.

Where some microstock agencies require an expensive Extended License for certain rights, others include those rights in their standard license.

What’s worse is that those rights are also provided as part of subscriptions (all microstock agencies apply their standard license for subscription sales).

So a customer who may have bought an extended license, generating $20 – $100 in royalties for the contributor, instead buys on subscription where the contributor gets just 25 – 37 cents.

Veer: Victim of Contributor Ignorance?

This all could have come out when Veer introduced their subscriptions late last year.

There was an uproar when they announced their plans, and contributors opted-out in droves.

The primary complaint was the royalty rates, but also highly criticized was the decision to include Unlimited Print Run rights for subscription sales.

Veer eventually removed those rights in order to convince contributors to opt back in, but they were justifiably confused. They weren’t proposing anything that wasn’t already being done at Fotolia and 123RF, as you can see in this Extended License rights table.

For some reason none of this came to light. Admittedly this is the sort of thing a microstock blogger could have pointed out.

Extended Licenses at 25-cent Royalty

So while the Veer subscription is now in line with the rest of the industry, Fotolia and 123RF continue to include in their subscriptions the same rights which require an Extended License purchase at other agencies.

Extended Licenses for 25 cents at Fotolia, up to 40 cents at the highest level (nobody is currently at that level).

And Extended Licenses for 36 cents at 123RF.

BigStock doesn’t have subscriptions, but includes Unlimited Print Run rights in the standard license, when the image is “not the primary focus of the design”. Minimum royalty is 50 cents.

What are You Going to Do About It?

We microstockers, as a community, are known to be extremely tolerant of agency antics when the agency has strong selling power.

And BigStock, 123RF and certainly Fotolia have that.

So the vast majority of us will do nothing.

And that’s ok.

This is just something to keep in mind when reviewing your subscription royalties at Fotolia and 123RF, particularly during slow EL months.

Posted June 4th, 2012 by


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