Here’s to the future of photography : yes the Ipad has launched and yes it seems that it is successful. The era of the tablet/ Ereader/touch computing, whatever you want to call it is upon us.
And yes, publishers from all over the world are jumping on the bandwagon and releasing their Ipad editions in droves. Most do not make more effort than just scanning their print edition into an electronic version. A repackaging of some sort. Others will add a bonus section here and there in order to make it appear like a new product. Others, finally, have put a lot of thinking into what can be done and try to innovate.
And all that is fine, except for one important item. None will pay for additional usage of your images. Somehow, they have all decided that using your images on an Ipad should not be considered for an extra license fee . No, they say, it’s an” exact replica” (ya, right) so go to hell with your license fees. Or, they pay peanuts, (because peanuts is what we eat, us little photo squirrel) , saying, “well it is an experiment..we are not sure we will continue”. Ya right ( again). Didn’t we hear that before, at the emergence of websites ?
Here’s the deal : one one side, you have multi-million dollar companies who sit in 80 stories high skyscrapers and on the other, a multitude of mom and pop size store crammed in a closet space in a shady back alley. The big guys come around and say; “we are going to launch a new product which our studies show will generate billions in new revenues for us and we would like you to give us a discount”.
C’mom, what do you say to such a juicy deal like that ?
The reaction ? well, for the first time in it’s history, photo agencies , who are fierce competitors, are talking to each other. They are even creating associations in order to stand united and strong against corporate bullying. Here, in the United States, EPAG ( Editorial Photo Agency Guild) was created and going strong. In Australia, a coordination is coming together, in Italy, a new association is born, the A.F.N.A. (Agenzie Fotografiche Nazionali Associate ). More will appear.
It is not the Spring of a new revolution and you will not see photo agencies walking the streets hand in hand waving the flag of freedom and liberty. It is just a reaction to what is perceived as unfair business practices. It is important for the future of photography, because E readers will become the most used platform to read magazines in the very near future And thus, the majority of images used in an editorial manner will reside on these platform. If photographs used on E Readers are not being compensated fairly then there is no future for editorial photography.
Zero, nada. None. Think about it: Website don’t pay enough and print will no longer be able to afford current prices.
So yes, as a platform, the Tablet/ Ereader/ touch computers show a lot of promise for photography. However, right now, it could be its doom.
( For those who like to know what to do, please contact your local organization or create your own. Do not fight the process but work with editors to find a fair and balanced agreement where images get rewarded their fair due. Engage in constructive dialogue. If anything, images used in Ipad should be compensated at the same level as if used in Print)