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How does a young photographer get paid for his or her work?

To produce quality photographs a good camera and lens is required, not every picture can be taken with a phone. A 600mm Nikkor lens that is often used for photographing wildlife costs over $10,000.

American tech’s dominance of the internet and disregard of Copyright has damaged the earning potential of young artists and photographers. Copyright laws were put in place around the world to support the creative industry, as often these people do not work in an established environment and have no regular income. Their creativity is self generated, often they produce websites to sell their talent. Search engines have crawled these websites and placed their images in their search engine results that can be used by anyone without recognising nor paying the creative for their work.

These tech giants earn huge sums from clicks to sell advertising so having beautiful images available to the public free of charge enhances their earning capacity. Nearly every computer user has an email address and a credit card associated with their name. It would be possible for the tech giants to pay the creative directly when their image is either clicked on or downloaded, but so far they have chosen not to do this, and the creatives are suffering. At the very least they could notify the copyright holder that their picture has been downloaded and by who.

Getty Images is the largest photo library in the world. In 2016 Getty filed a lawsuit against Google for demonetising Getty’s intellectual property whilst at the same time profiting from it. The lawsuit was dropped. Google can trace photographs just as it can trace documents. It is alleged that it provided Getty with the names and addresses of people that had downloaded Getty photographs. Getty then sent “cease and desist” letters to the users with bills sometimes ranging into thousands of dollars. It is alleged that this generated billions of dollars from around the world for Getty, who chose not to give any of this revenue to the photographers that created this revenue stream.

Adobe produces software like Photoshop and Lightroom, they also sell photographs. They encourage young creatives to use their cloud storage facility. When producing a photograph for web usage using Adobe Lightroom, the default setting is set to remove all Copyright information in the metadata of the photograph. The same happens with Facebook and Instagram, all the metadata that contains the Copyright information is removed for any picture that is placed on these social media sites.

These American Corporations primary reason for existence is to increase shareholder value and they have chosen not to support the creatives that make their websites so attractive.

Zambia-stockphotos has been created to help Zambian photographers get a reward for their work. The photographs are for sale at reasonable and sustainable prices. Getty will pay its contributors as low as 15%, that is, if they sell a photograph for $100 they will keep $85 and pay the contributor $15 – great for Getty not so good for the photographer. We are paying 70% to the creative and retaining 30% for administration. The site is under construction and will be open to all photographers around April 2023.