december 2007
24 p.

The photography market is split into a large number of segments, all with their own different manners of operating. This diversity goes along with a wide variety of statutes and methods of remuneration. Photographers can be paid royalties, wages, business returns or professional fees, as the case may be. The restructuring of the market under new leaders (Getty, Corbis, Jupiter, etc.) in the wake of the digital revolution has crippled the agencies and sapped the photographers’ negotiating power within the trade. It is accompanied by a rise in such new practices as the sale of copyright-free photos. These practices, while highly profitable to distributors in terms of transaction costs and purchasing prices, threaten photographers’ career security and attack the fundamental principles of artistic rights on both property and moral fronts. Income from fashion and advertising work, and the recent growth of a market in photo printing – all very selective – are not enough to offset the decline in photographers’ earnings. Moreover, the increasing permeability of markets, by reason of highly unequal welfare contributions, encourages tradeoffs between copyright payments and salaries, leaving photographers weaker in terms of social protection. Finally, income from collective management is still in its infancy, despite a promising outlook for future expansion.