Selling your rights for a little money

Yuck.

I just came across this website called noequivalent art, where they claim to be able to make you money as a photographer.

The way they do it… is not something I would ever do.

Here’s a direct quote from their faq, which explains how their website works:

“Prior to posting your image you need to

  • Own the image and hold all rights to it. (authorship, copyright, and privacy releases)
  • Be comfortable that you are in the possession of all the high resolution versions of the image. (Otherwise, the image might already not be unique)

When posting the image you need to

  • Have NoEquivalent be the exclusive marketer of the image. (You cannot sell a unique image through two channels. If somehow both sell, the image is not unique.)

Once the image is sold, you need to

  • Assign copyright, excluding claim of authorship, to the buyer. (Transferring the unique image)
  • Get rid of all high resolution copies of the image. (The buyer will now have the unique copy)
  • Promise not to author a similar work. (Completing your part in ensuring the sold image remains unique)

So basically, you are not only giving up your rights to that image itself, as well as any personal hi-res copies you may want to keep or show (say… for your portfolio!?), but you are also restricted from “authoring” similar images. [Actually you are allowed to keep low-res images for your portfolio… how kind of them!]

The promise of uniqueness that the site strives for seems to imply that you would likely be unable to use other images that you took of the same location or during the same photoshoot.  This may also be an issue if you tend to shoot similar objects/animals/locations.  Many photographers do take hundreds of photos on one shoot or one location and under this system, these photos would become unprofitable or worthless to the photographer.

These requirements are equivalent to telling a musician that not only is that song not yours anymore (since you signed over the rights) but you must destroy any demo recordings you own, destroy the lyrics in your possession, and by the way, you are not allowed to write any similar songs, or to play that song in the future.  Ever.

Oh, but you’ll get about $500 bucks for your trouble.

Oh wait.

“Each image sells for somewhere between $500 and $800 US, with the artist controlling the price within this range. At sale, the artist receives 40% of the image price.

So… you’ll actually get less.  A lot less.

Personally, I think these type of ventures are more damaging than rewarding, and are aimed at people who may not understand the liabilities.  And many other photographers (see comments on this photography blog) tend to agree.

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