RooM the Stock Agency Sends out Warning to Photographers


This is quite weird, if you have signed up with Room the Agency of late, you'd realize that they have added a new terms and condition clause which is totally unexpected.

Hi benard

You have been a RooM member for a while now and as a small collection of serious shooters we pride ourselves on our collective spirit. We have excellent exposure at Getty, with their 1 million clients, in over 100 countries:

Without every RooM member getting involved and supplying the right content, that sells, everyone suffers, because it affects our exposure on the Getty and iStock sites and therefore reduces our sales potential.

As one of the last few guys who have yet to upload content to RooM we have now put your account on temporary review.

This means that if you do not upload a minimum of 5 images, at least 1 of which must be a model released people image, before 10th April, that are all, or mostly all, accepted – review may take place after this date – your account will be deleted soon after.

Only the best, mostly people, shooters are invited to join RooM, you are one of the few that has a treasured account - this is your last chance to save it.

If your account is closed you will only be able open a new account by invite, as we are changing our sign up rules. With over $1 billion in annual sales, that’s half the World’s stock photography market, going through our channel, you might regret letting your account lapse into closure.

So please allow me to reply to Room the Agency in an open letter.

Dear Room Creative Team

Forgive me but you didn't leave a personalised signature so I have no idea if you are male, female or just a mail-bot programmed to send out email threats to photographers in your network.

From the tone of your email, I gather that you are quite exasperated by the lack of images in which you wish to sell online at the cheapest possible rate. Now the reason why I have not responded is this, I downloaded your Room the Agency iPhone app to see if I could submit photos on my iPod Touch, apparently I could but the value of such works don't seem to be much.

I have joined up as a lite-contributor thus I would only enjoy a 35 percent commission for every sale. Your Elite contributors enjoy up to 40 percent, which is just 5 percent more than what I am getting. Thank you but I think you can keep you 5 percent as I am sure it will contribute immensely to your pantry budget.

Secondly, I do not understand why you want a model released picture to be included in any of my submissions when your own rights managed pricing guideline is as ambiguous as the NSA's stand on personal privacy. You have implied that if I do not submit ONE model released picture, then you are going to close my account.

I have two issues with this. First being that a model would designate a person who is willing to sign a paper as a release and since I don't own a gun to make anyone sign a piece of paper I would have either pay them in cash or in kind if you so wish me to grant them sexual favors. You see, signing away your rights as a model would imply that the person is knowing indulging your passion for want of money. And even if you live in a third world country, a fat and aging prostitute would demand money from you even if you took a picture with her clothes on. 

The second thing about this issue is that all model released photos should be rights managed so to speak. With that, I am afraid that I have no idea what you are talking about when you say things like:-
Rights Managed (RM) PricingPrices are often higher than RF, but far fewer sales are made. Rights Managed (RM) pricing is based on how the image is used. There are many variables with RM pricing: editorial v advertising; length of usage; number of territories; and much more – the wider the use of an image the more it costs the client - but some usage, such as inside textbooks, is much cheaper than others and can be quite low.
We only sell the largest file size we have on file to clients and cost is strictly controlled by what they use it for.
If you can put it out in plain English, like maybe a 50% commission from the total deal, then I would probably be much happier with instead of twisting the words around like a serpent in heat.

For the record, regardless of how much you sign for or price the photos, there is a commission structure which you can share with photographers remains the same regardless of the number of licenses you sold to a buyer. What's more, your license type from RF to RM is rather rigid for the buyer and it tanks out at 500,000 copies, the irony is that you use an honor system and take no interest in making sure that the print run is not exceeded. So will you bill them more if you found out they fibbed a little by understating the print run? Do you have the means to police the issue? 

Lastly, based on the offering, and also with your own admission, there is no way to expect more sales from a photo that is Rights Managed. So even if I paid a model to pose for me, obtain the model release and send it to you, there is only a slim chance of making a few hundred dollars. How many hundreds I might make remains a mystery for me as your chart to photo buyers failed to illustrate how much they have to spend to buy a photo from you. 

I am sure you make millions from the 1 billion sale turnover you like to brag about. For photographers, they might be real lucky to earn some regular beer money for all their work. So let's have a beer when you have the time to drop by for a talk, I just hope you're buying.