Corbis sells out to VCG for a song....


It is official, Corbis has sold out to Visual China Group, the same group that bought out 500px over a year ago.

Corbis sold for less than it was imagined, with rumors flying saying it was below US$100 million and with a library of 50 million images, that sounds like a deal that can only made in China.

Getty has an agreement to sell Corbis images outside of China so that won't affect world wide sales for photographers.

Photographers weren't too happy as they were not informed of the sale and some have even started to pull their images out from the library. But to say that Chinese are going to abuse the issue is misstating the facts.

Decline of Revenue for Stock Images 

With lax to no regulation by stock image agencies over the use on the Internet, the decline was to be expected. For the record, world wide copyright enforcement for stolen images is extremely low and DCMA takedowns cannot be enforced with servers hosted outside of the US.

Even with personal images, the law is on the side of the offender for US cases. You cannot claim a copyright if you didn't file for copyright protection in the US. This is a costly affair and with your images worth only a tad more than the royalty image, getting a lawyer to sue the offender just doesn't make sense.

To make matters worst, even if rights managed photos are exploited, stolen or misused, stock image agencies still fail to perform any type of regulation to ensure rights are not abused.

This means that a offender can buy a lower quality photo for web use and still blow it up to wall size for use on rooms and walls.

Photographers who own these photos do not know the buyers and this is kept confidential. If a rights use issue does crop up, offenders normally get a slap on the wrist rather than pay any penalty since laws are opaque when it comes to copyright from country to country.

Worst time for Stock Photographers

It is hard to imaging who would want to carve a career in stock photography when royalty free and crowd sourced photos are disrupting the markets.

Camera gears are getting more expensive, and to be kitted out with the latest equipment for professional photography would be a very difficult business proposition.

This is not to say that you can't make money from ad hoc photography services be in commercial photography or weddings. It is how much you can make that determines your future in the business.

Stock photography cannot be treated as a mainstream  income but for beer money. So enjoy the photography while keeping in mind the weekend booze could be more memorable if you earned a little more.