It’s perfectly feasable in some aspects (although I wont be refluffing my quantum foam for a while, unless by 2014 I end up working at Starbucks
You could argue the Big Two photo-portals are beginning the process already, by not selling pictures – which with Royalty Free imagery are now increasingly worthless – but selling the access portal and editing ability for searchers to find the pictures they want out of an ocean of images, in a timely manner.
However, as the film says, while all these people "are creating and consuming news"…how are they paying the rent?
The idea that they can all be paid by the advertising read by everyone else, kinda reduces the whole thing to a mad pyramid scheme. I read your ad, so I pay you, you read my ad, so you pay me…but with what money? From what income?
I have a real bee in my bonnet about this, because the Creative Commons ‘copyleft’ thing in photography is being pushed to us from one side by software geeks who figure copyright is obsolete, and from another side by corporations who are grabbing our rights in a campaign to make copyright holding the exception rather than the norm, while giving us all this guff about ‘participatory journalism’.
Copyright isn’t obsolete, and in many cases, if used and enforced properly, there is no particular reason why it can’t be just as usable in the digital ‘mediascape’ as it’s always been.
An interesting sidebar is a blog entry I’ve just read. According to a consultancy report, the total earned worldwide from stock photography images is about 2 billion dollars (for all companies, all forms of picture
)…but it would be 6 billion dollars – if they didn’t sell Royalty Free images.
In other words, because Royalty Free images are perceived to be low value, that’s what people expect to pay for all images. So the prices of the Rights Managed images they hold have dropped, and they’ve low-balled themselves out of 4 billion dollars of potential sales.
Well, they can afford it – 2 billion, 6 billion, whatever, its all just numbers.
But its not numbers to the individual photographers who create Rights Managed imagery full-time and seek to leverage it for an income in a fair way via these portals, and to be acknowleged as authors.
They are the ones who go down the pan, while the hobbyists dump free images on the Web taken on their time off from their day jobs, and the big stock portals push virtually free images (which they own of course) out and about.
Thats the ‘Global mediascape’ we’re all supposed to be thrilled about, where everyone gets to participate.
Except Africa of course…and China…and anywhere else where the internet doesn’t reach or is censored.
Under this Global mediascape the film talks about, eventually machines compose news stories…but out of what? Out of words still originated by human authors.
Authors who like everyone, have to eat.
26 Oct 2005 10:10