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iStockphoto founder Bruce Livingstone has launched a new digital licensing cooperative called Stocksy. Under its brand new business model / compensation plan, photographers will receive a 50% royalty on each transaction and 100% on extended licenses; what’s more, 90% of all pro?ts will be divided among members at year’s end. Photographers who are accepted into the cooperative also receive equity and have a real say in how the business is operated. “We wanted to create a marketplace for photographers that was not only democratic, but fair and sustainable,” Livingstone says. “There’s no reason these artists shouldn’t be able to earn a living from what they produce.”
Stocksy Press Release
STOCKSY TRANSFORMS STOCK PHOTO LICENSING WITH CO-OP STRUCTURE, FAIR COMPENSATION FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Newest Venture From iStockphoto Founder Offers Creators Higher Royalties, Unprecedented Control, Ownership in Sustainable Marketplace
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA (March 25, 2013) — Stocksy, a digital licensing co-op launching March 25, 2013, is a new concept in the world of stock photography: An online marketplace owned collectively by its photographer-members and dedicated to paying them the maximum fees possible for their work.
Founded by Bruce Livingstone, who invented microstock with iStockphoto — which he sold to Getty Images in 2006 —Stocksy was built out of his experience shaping the ground ?oor of the sector. Stocksy is a cooperative designed to respect the work of the artist and whose very system of shared ownership and pro?t sharing allows for real, sustainable careers for all participants in the marketplace.
Under its revolutionary model, photographers will receive a 50% royalty on each transaction and 100% on extended licenses; what’s more, 90% of all pro?ts will be divided among members at year’s end. Photographers who are accepted into the co-op also receive equity and have a real say in how the business is operated.
“We wanted to create a marketplace for photographers that was not only democratic, but fair and sustainable,” Livingstone says. “There’s no reason these artists shouldn’t be able to earn a living from what they produce. We believe that through this equitable, participatory structure and a straightforward, transparent compensation system—combined with the knowledge of the marketplace we bring to the table—Stocksy will quickly amass the ?nest pool of photographic content on the Web.”
The Canadian-born Livingstone followed several divergent paths – including theology studies at the University of Calgary and drumming in punk-rock band The Bittermen – before starting iStockphoto in 2000. Initially it was a free service, but growing traf?c required him to begin charging small, incremental fees to cover bandwidth costs; thus was microstock licensing born. When Getty acquired iStockphoto, it also acquired him. But Livingstone saw that the democratization that iStockPhoto brought to the marketplace didn’t go far enough. More innovation was required to bring fairness into the equation.
The conception of Stocksy brings Livingstone full circle to the dawning days of iStockphoto— but this time, substantive royalties and member ownership are built into its design. “Photographers have never had this level of participation and control in the stock world,” he says. “We believe Stocksy represents an opportunity to change the industry permanently—and for the better.”