12 Feb 2016 Pixsy – A Modern Take on Image Tracking

After taking a look at the various companies providing image tracking services last week, a few other companies reached out to talk about their services too. One that was particularly interesting was a young company called Pixsy.

While quite similar to others in the intention of their service, their product has a different approach to revenue recovery, puts a lot more focus in user functionality, and is completely free.

Track Images, Recover Revenue

Pixsy is an image tracking and copyright infringement management service. Their goal is to identify illegal usage and recover lost revenue for customers. There are no fees for the photographer as they take 50% of the revenue they recover.

To do this, they analyse each submitted case to define the gravity of the violation, prioritising clearly commercial intent as it means higher potential for revenue recovery. The possibility of good faith from the infringer’s part is also a relevant factor in their analysis.

With the photographer customer’s consent, they negotiate a license fee with the infringer based on prices determined with a standard quoting system. This is a “friendlier – yet assertive” method, offering infringers a chance to buy a legal license for the existing usage, acknowledging that many cases are the result of ignorance and lack of education on copyright laws rather than ill will.

If this process doesn’t work or is not possible, they have a network of law firms to take legal action on the case. Right now they’re working with over a dozen law firms in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. They say they’re constantly expanding to cover more regions, and Scandinavia is the next on the list.

Pixsy_submit_caseThe service is not open to everyone. You need to register and wait to be “invited”.  If they’re wise, they’re doing this to carefully select their customers based on how professional and prolific they are, which is key to success given their service is dependent upon finding misuse for revenue.

Photographer customers manage the images that are tracked and the found uses via the Pixsy website.  There, they can identify which uses they believe are unauthorised, and submit them to Pixsy who will then analyse the viability in pursuing them.

The company is founded by photographer Daniel Foster, business management professional and CEO Anders Fleck, and developer and CTO Torsten Rüter. They decided Berlin, with its international startup network, was the best place to base the company.

The service launched in beta in late 2014, and is currently on its “second beta”.  They plan to launch the official version later this year.

Cool Features, Smart Service

Pixsy has a very advanced user interface, giving their customers greater control to adjust the service to their needs. They included social-platform inspired features, such as a complete profile with a personal avatar. But beyond the ‘nice’ features, they have some very interesting functions.

First of all, they make it much easier to enter the images to be tracked. They enable images to be imported from various social and sharing sites like Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr, and 500px, as well as synced via Dropbox.

You can create a ‘trusted sites’ list and have results from those sites ignored but saved in a separate folder.  The case submission process is very simple. They also allow you to submit cases not found with their tracking system.

The service also has a Premium plan available, with added functions such as a DMCA takedown request tool.

They’re also working a frequently requested feature to ignore or submit cases in bulk, planned for release in a few months.

Their website is also responsive for better experience when used from a mobile device, and they have an active blog where they mix photography topics and more valuable copyright-related articles.

The same inescapable caveat applies for microstockers.  There’s no way to know which uses are licensed when you have no idea who purchased your images. Some of the other reasons I explored for microstockers to track their image usage may not gel with Pixsy’s success-fee-only business model.

Pixsy_takedown_DMCAEarly Progress

Their current image recognition technology has certain flaws. For example, at times their system doesn’t differentiate website design from images, and lists all visual elements from a scanned webpage. There’s also other issues around matches, but the team is working to improve their algorithms to overcome all these.

Despite these minor flaws, Pixsy is being well received in the industry for their smart business model and modern approach.

Co-founder Daniel Foster published this guest post on PetaPixel, a testimonial of his personal experience dealing with a copyright infringer and subtly introducing Pixsy services.

A year after launch, they’ve a growing team of 14 members and are continuously adding law firms to their network. They report having a considerable quantity of businesses on their client list, and well defined plans for product and business development.

Hosting and tracking images for a large number of clients has its costs. If they’ve been able to sustain those costs this long, it must mean the model is working.

Check out Pixsy and, if you get an invite, let me know how it goes.

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