Getty made a huge mistake in blocking Flickr to create its own stock outlet. All they were concerned about was not allowing Flickr to become the biggest commercial stock agency overnight. So they could keep there dominance on distribution.
But just imagine, if you will, if Flickr had moved ahead. Everyone and anyone could have easily licensed their images. By doing so, it would have been a huge boost to the industry since all would have been knowledgeable on the value of images.
No more ” can I have this image for free in exchange to a credit line”.
It would have also made a huge blow to the Creative Commons and made everyone suddenly concerned about orphan works, not just the professionals. Imagine : more than 100 million people from all walks of life suddenly becoming license literate. As more would have sold images directly, they would have understood first hand the value of an image, copyright issues, pricing, and different rights.
But Getty only thought about their declining market share and its own miserable profitability. They were afraid to see FlickStock take over Istophoto as the primary source of stock imagery worldwide. They were also afraid to loose the title, and the function of primary distribution channel.
Getty didn’t think, for a second, about helping the industry and the marketplace. It was very short sighted of them and will eventually backslash. What the corporate giant seems to forget is that it swims in the same waters that it pollutes. They are not immune to the poison they throw in.
They so desperately want a percentage of every image licensed anywhere that they will destroy any good idea if they do not have a hand in it. So they sponsor events or create funds and grants. They pay to be seen as the good guys, while they murder photographers and photography in their back alley.
FlickrStock would have been a breath of fresh air and the natural progression of the microstock industry. But with little or not commission taken, it would have taken the wind out of this industry that survives by artificially keeping the prices low. It would have educated millions of peoples on the value of photography and the need to protect copyright. It would taught bloggers not to reproduce with no rights and others not to ask for free pictures in exchange for a credit line.
It is certainly not too late. Maybe Yahoo will be smart enough to sell Flickr to someone with a brain. And that someone might see value, and certainly huge revenues, in making Flickr the open photography marketplace that is begging to be created.