The License Market

It is an undeniable fact that an extremely large chunk of all image consumption happens on social media platforms. Anyone in denial of this ‘fact’ need only to take a look at the jaw-dropping numbers. Let’s just look at our favourite social media platform Facebook for a second; at least 1.86 billion active users, at least 350 million photos uploaded daily and a data bank of -wait for it- 250 billion photos on their server.

Lose your license through posting?

So, what exactly happens on Facebook when we upload an image? Is our work licensed or copyrighted at the time of upload? Sadly no.  When you upload an image, Facebook is granted the rights to it and hence copies can be created on various Facebook servers for retrieval at a later date. These pictures are publicly accessible and Facebook can go ahead and grant sub-licenses to its other different ventures. However, this license/right that Facebook has can be terminated when the uploader deletes their image, except if someone has shared that photo, and we all know very well, once something is on the world-wide web, it is impossible to remove it completely.

All in all, just the daily generation of media on such social media platforms crosses, with ease, the total sum of all stock photo agency collections.

So really, the million-dollar question is, how to tap this market? How can we, in this market where everyone is a potential customer, license our material? Will Facebook allow licenses to be uploaded along with photos? Does anyone have that kind of time to license each image before they post it online?

Future of the market

Just a heads up, these are all questions to which we don’t have the answers. We wish we did, but we don’t. We are trying to encourage a thought process, a push towards out-of-the-box ideas to solve these pressing questions.

Let’s take a quick look at some options out there currently.

A particular option is those companies that offer online graphic tools as a service and an automatic, or secondary step being image licensing. So, what you are buying upfront is a service/tool for content enhancement and personalization, with the added benefit of licensing. Shutterstock is also playing around in the area with its new platform allowing users to ‘try before you buy’ and toy around with licensed images to see if it works well for them.

Similarly, Facebooks advertising platform and its integration with Shutterstock allows buyers to use images from Shutterstock during the process of building their advertisments without having to leave the page or process mid-way.

Could this integration be the catalyst to Facebook extending this option to all other users and enable other stock photo agencies to do the same? This could revolutionise the photo licensing world on social media and be potentially be the key to the survival of the stock photo industry at the same time. Only time will tell. LAPIXA is the best contact for all obvious copyright infringements in the context of social media (and, of course, outside of social media). We find your pictures and take care of an appropriate recognition of your works. Find our more at our homepage.

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