Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Photrade lets you sell your photos online but retains perpetual and royalty-free license to your images

I have updated this post with additional details about how Photrade has revised their license agreement.  I also put additional comments in a new post.

I'm still playing around with Twitter and one of the accounts that I follow is photojojo.  The photojojo site is pretty cool and has some decent photography tips.  A little while ago, Photojojo tweeted a free invite code to the beta of www.photrade.com.

Hmm, a site where I could sell my images.  There a few ways of earning money on their site.  From their FAQ page:

There are 3 different ways to earn ad revenue:
1) From banner ads on your Photrade galleries. Earn every time someone sees your galleries.
2) From Photrades unique Patent-Pending Picture-in-Picture advertising (during our Beta test this ad space is donated to charity and/or used for test ads), where the ads are directly IN the photo when it gets shared. Earn Ad revenue every time someone sees your photo on ANY website (ie. in your blog or on your myspace).
3) From ads on a splash screen where users land when they click on your photos from another site. Earn ad revenue every time someone clicks on your photo when it iss hosted on another site.

You can sell your images and add a markup.  There is a base price for images and you can set a mark up value and collect the difference between the base price and the markup.  Plus you can sell licenses as stock images.   The idea of generating ad revenue by using your own artwork in blog postings looks intriguing.  If someone hotlinks your image, they would be hotlinking your advertising.

Sounds cool, but I declined to complete the membership form.  To complete the sign up process, you have to agree to the terms of the Photrade License Agreement.  Never agree to a license agreement without reading it.  That is really important when your own intellectual property is involved.  Most of the license is common boiler plate code, but I stopped when I hit section (F).  The following is section F in it's entirety:

(F) Company does not claim ownership in Your Content. At all times, You retain all rights in Your Content. However, each time You upload Your Content, You irrevocably grant to Company, its parent, subsidiaries, affiliates, and advertising or other partners a non-exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free license in and to Your Content and intellectual property rights therein. Such license shall include, without limitation, the right in perpetuity, without any credit or compensation to You, to use, reuse, modify, alter, display, backup, archive, publish, sub-license, perform, reproduce, disclose, transmit, broadcast, post, sell, translate, create derivative works of, distribute and use for advertising, marketing, publicity and promotional purposes, all or any portion of Your Content, and Your name, voice, likeness and other identifying information, in any form, media, software or technology of any kind now known or developed in the future for any purposes whatsoever including, without limitation, developing, manufacturing and marketing products or services using Your Content. Intellectual property rights shall include all patents, trademarks, service marks, trade names, trade identities, copyrights, trade secrets, rights of publicity, logos, domain names, know-how, source code and object code, mask-work rights, inventions, moral rights, author's rights, goodwill and other intellectual property and proprietary rights whatsoever. You hereby waive any moral rights You may have in and to any of Your Content, even if such material is altered or changed in a manner not agreeable to You.

I marked in bold the part where I lost interest in signing up.  Basically, anything you upload becomes freely available to Photrade and they can do anything they want with it.  If you upload a spectacular snapshot of a sunset from your vacation, Photrade can sell it and they don't have to share any of the revenues with you.   That's the same sort of nonsense that Adobe tried to pull when they release Photoshop Express.  That didn't go over too well and Adobe revised their terms of service to make it clear they wouldn't sell the images.

Photrade's license looks pretty evil.  Their intentions may be pure (and I am assuming that they are), but that license allows them to anything to your images and your personal information forever.  And that's a mighty long time time, according to Prince.  I would consider signing up if they revamp that license to make it more like Adobe's.  It would be nice if you could license your images with a Creative Commons license like Flickr does.  The concept looks good, but that scary fine print make it a non-starter for me.

[Updated on June 11th, 2008]

As noted in the comments, Photrade has revised their license.  The new section F is more more reasonable:

(F) Company does not claim ownership of Your Content. At all times, You retain all ownership rights in Your Content. However, we do need certain rights from you, with respect to Your Content, in order to operate the Website and in order to enable you to do all the things this Website affords you the ability to do. Therefore, by uploading or transmitting Your Content to Website, you grant Company a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce and modify Your Content solely for the purposes of operating the Website and enabling your use of the Website. To the extent that you choose to make Your Content available for sale or licensing to Users, you additionally grant Company the rights to distribute, publicly perform and publicly display Your Content (in whole or in part) for the sole purposes of operating the Website and enabling your use of the Website and to sublicense Your Content to other Users.

Basically, this gives Photrade a license to your images in order to present them on their site and enable the usage of the image.  This gives Photrade the legal protection that they need to run their site while still protecting the users.

I'm impressed, they made this change in just a few hours.  That's not an easy task to pull off when you are changing the contents and coverage of a legal document.

5 comments:

  1. Krista Neher6/10/2008 5:02 PM

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for checking out Photrade. I appreciate your concern with our terms of service. Per your note, the current terms of service imply that we could do a number of things with your images that we would never do.

    Our lawyers wanted this language in the agreement so that we could have the rights to display member photos on our website.

    We are working with our lawyers to revise our terms of service so that this is clearer.

    We'll let you know once we have them updated, and hopefully you can give our site another look.

    Thanks,
    Krista Neher
    VP Marketing, Photrade.com

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  2. Thanks Chris, I'm glad someone pointed this out. Photrade looks like something I would be very interested in but there is no way I would agree to a license agreement like that. Thanks also to krista for responding. Come up with something that isn't so potentially bad for the photographer and I'm there.

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  3. Krista Neher6/10/2008 8:47 PM

    Chris

    We worked with our lawyers this afternoon and have modified our terms of service; I believe that they will meet your needs.

    Thanks for pointing this out. Your feedback helps us to continue to improve the site. Please let me know if you have any other comments or feedback about the site.

    We are open to listening and try to be quick to respond :)

    Keith - I hope you'll check us out!

    - Krista
    VP Marketing
    Photrade.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Krista,

    Thanks for fast feedback and even faster revision of your terms of service. I revised this blog post and added a new one to show that you have already revised the TOS.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow Chris, way to go for spotting that!

    And thanks Krista for making the changes!

    ReplyDelete

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