Just when you thought it was safe to go outside and shoot again, a new threat has appeared. Under what seems like a very benign press release lies another attempt from Getty to turn the photography world into it’s own private playground.

This is the press release :

“Getty Images, Inc., has signed a multi-year agreement with McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT) to license its award-winning editorial imagery from their network of McClatchy and Tribune papers. From today, the strategic relationship will provide customers around the world with access to imagery captured by one of the most-respected news conglomerates, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, and enables Getty Images to offer the most comprehensive editorial imagery for U.S. and world news, entertainment, sports, business and lifestyle.

Seems like another one of these distribution agreements that Getty already has with a thousand plus companies and it is. Until you know what was the motivation behind this deal :

McClatchy and Tribune papers own 30 daily newspapers in 29 U.S. markets.. These local newspapers like to cover local news. Among the local news are, of course, local sports teams. At first, Getty images, owner of mutli deals with sport leagues like the NBA ( BasketBall), MLB ( Baseball), USGA ( Golf ), USTA ( Tennis) , NHL (Ice Hockey), and so on, tried to get  “local” photographers out of the games. After all, in Getty’s perspective, they are the official photographers for these sports and thus should be exclusive.

Especially since McClatchy  newspaper then licensed those images via MCT to other newspapers and via agencies to the whole world.

That didn’t work. You cannot prevent local newspapers to cover local sports . Just imagine if the Chicago Tribune would not be allowed to cover a Bulls game ? or a White Sox game ? The whole foundation of US democracy would have been in shamble.

So what did Getty do? They went to McClatchy and said, let us do your distribution of images. Why ? so we can grab your sports images and add them to our own coverage, or sit on them, thus making us practically exclusive on all these sports game. Except for AP and Reuters who have yet to understand against who they are fighting.

Sports photography is big business and shows no sign of slowing down. Getty images is on the path to controlling every image that you will see coming out of a US sports competition, and everything around it. ( remember, Tiger Woods first public appearance ?)

This is not about fair competition anymore, where the best image wins, this is becoming a real monopoly. Heard that, Justice department ?



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