Corbis Joins Microstock with Snap Village

While late to the party, Bill Gates’ owned photo stock agency, Corbis, is launching its  new microstock agency site Snap Village today.

microstockAs discussed in extensive detail on Metue earlier this month,  microstock is growing phenomena in the stock photo industry that takes advantage of user-generated content to create a pool of inexpensive images available for royalty-free license.  As a photographer, microstock services allow me to post my images and allow their use on websites, in product literature and elsewhere (even earning me, the amateur photographer, revenue).  As a web developer, through microstock, I can license images (non-exclusively) for display on Metue, or other sites.

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Blogging, Advertising and Conflicts of Interest: Disclosure Policies

disclosure keyboardSci Fi channel got slapped in 2004 when it publicized a supposed rift with film director M. Night Shyamalan over an un-authorized biography when in reality no biography existed, nor did the rift. Both were fictionally created by marketers.

In December 2006, Sony got itself in similar hot water when it created a fake fan website to support its PSP game platform.

Marketers have learned there is a fine line to walk between maintaining the trust of their customers and promoting their products with newly emerging online techniques.   In the Internet publishing world, an online world where everyone has a voice, where anyone can be an author, or a journalist, a videographer or otherwise, credibility is sometimes assumed before its earned but its ongoing maintenance is essential. 

Over the past few days the value systems of the developing blogosphere and Web 2.0 world have been thrown again in the spotlight as Internet Ad publisher Federated Media and some of its higher profile publishing clients from Tech Crunch to GigaOm  have been drawn into a heated  debate over related issues. (Though, this time, unlike with Sony or Sci Fi channel, its been the appearance of impropriety, and not any actual wrong doing, that’s raised discussion Click to Read More

Amazon: archiving rare books

The commercial race to digitize the World’s libraries has, for the most part, been a two horse race with Microsoft and Google battling to sign up the worlds libraries and gain the rights to archive and index their rare, obscure or out of print titles.

da vinciYesterday, in what seems like a natural fit, online retailer Amazon (which started famously as an online book store) joined the race.   In partnership with high-speed scanning company Kirtas Technologies (the same company that has helped Microsoft), Amazon will begin to archive rare titles from public and university libraries special collections.   

Unlike Google and Microsoft, which are largely focusing on making the literary content available freely, Amazon will use the archives it creates to offer reproductions for sale.

The project will be administered through Amazon’s print-on-demand publishing service BookSurge which specializes in printing and selling out of print titles. Amazon bought BookSurge in 2005.

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Getty adds music to images

Getty Images is expanding its focus from images to other forms of licensed content, today adding Music. The Seattle photo agency announced it was acquiring Pump Audio, a specialist licensing agency for independent musicians, for $42m.

pump audio

Pump Audio was founded in 2001 as a form of agent for independent musicians. The New York based company allows musicians to upload tracks which are then made searchable for potential licensing. If an Ad Exec, for example, is looking for a soundtrack to run behind a new Television commercial, the Pump platform, allows the Ad Exec to find and work with Independent musicians who otherwise may not have been on their radar. Pump maintains a catalog of more than 100,000 songs many of which might have been recorded explicitly for advertising. Pump licenses all the music in its archive for a flat fee. Last year, Pump reported approximately 80,000 placements. Click to Read More

Kodak: Reinventing digital cameras?

Kodak, a company built on a foundation of innovations for photography and film, has struggled somewhat as the world’s transitioned toward a more digital environment.  Some product lines have thrived while others have been restructured.  The company has made large bets on technology, particularly efforts to push into ink-jet printing and now, a possible new breakthrough for digital photography.

kodakLate last week  Kodak unveiled a technology it claims will improve the images of digital camera’s by a factor of 2x to 4x without requiring an increase in the size of the camera’s image sensor.  If the technology is as promised, is cost effective to produce, and becomes widely adopted, Kodak could be in a position to generate substantial licensing revenue.  The breakthrough could,  even potentially, be big enough to redirect the course of the entire digital camera marketplace.

To understand the technology at stake requires a basic understanding of how digital cameras work.  So in basic terms: digital camera’s use a grid like array of sensors to simulate film and capture an image.  The grid (which is a semi-conductor technology)  is composed of thousands of small light sensitive sensors (called Pixels). Each Pixel recognizes a dot of light (like grain in film) as bright or dark.  The computer-brain of the camera then converts that information into its memory.   Repeating the pattern of dark and light dots of lights like a mosaic recreates the picture.   The more pixels on the grid, the more information the camera can record; and the more information stored, the better the picture.  (The same is true in film, larger format negatives captures more detailed pictures by storing more information in the form of more data about the pattern of light). 

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More libraries sign up to digitize their books

Microsoft and Google have been racing to digitize the books of the world.  Over the past year, the battle of dueling press releases has seesawed back and forth as each has announced new agreements to digitize and index vast libraries.

The nature of the two companies efforts are different, with Microsoft scanning copyrighted material only if rights–holders opt in to the service and Google’s project scanning everything it can gain access to but only providing limited summaries and background for copyright materials the rights holders haven’t authorized full disclosure of.

The latest two announcements have belonged to GoogleClick to Read More

Photo Licensing for All: Microstock Photo Services

Have a camera? Consider yourself a decent photographer? … Want to earn a buck from your efforts; see your pictures on a web page or in print?  Increasingly all that and more are possible thanks to a concept called Micro-Stock Photo Agencies which are gaining popularity almost as fast as their archives of footage are gaining new pictures. 

photoThe premise is simple: anyone with a camera can take a picture and upload it onto some Micro-stock Agency’s site.  There, the images will be displayed for any members to see, and if they like, license for a nominal fee.  If I need a graphic for Metue, for example, and don’t have the time to create it myself, I can go to a site like iStockPhoto.  There, if something catches my eye, for a few dollars I can license the picture (subject to some limitations) for use on my site alongside my content.  In theory, an entire website could be populated for licensed footage for sums that might only break my piggy bank, but not my real budget.

The idea of this open-access, micro-stock agency is relatively new but their older sibling, traditional Stock Photo Agencies, are not new at all.  Big agencies have for years managed the portfolios of untold amateur and professional photographers.  In fact, Stock Agencies   are generally the most consistent revenue stream for many professional photographers. They act as cataloger, distributor and licensing agent for orphaned photos (e.g. images not shot for a specific assignment). 

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