Photographers support the Copyright Hub

Just before Christmas 2012, the Copyright Licensing Steering Group undertook a survey of professional photographers to gather data on the markets in which they trade, the likely effects of the Hub on these markets and their trading patterns, and photographers’ overall attitude to the Hub, especially in relation to proposals to weaken copyright and photographers’ control over their work, and their ability to earn from licensing it.

In order to get an accurate picture of professionals’ attitudes to the Hub the survey was limited to photographers who are members of professional representative organisations including the Association of Photographers, Pro-Imaging and Editorial Photographers UK.

  • In a highly significant result, overall 65% were either positive or very positive about the Hub.
  • Taking into account the pros and cons, 69% see the Hub as beneficial to them but this figure drops to 4% who would still definitely register with it if there is a fee for registering works.

In terms of positives the results showed that

  • 73% believes it can help reduce the number of orphaned images
  • 70% believed the Hub could help reduce infringement of their copyright
  • 64% thinks it will make it easier/cheaper for potential licensees to find them to transact business.
  • 62% thinks it would make it easier to retain control of their works
  • 57% thinks it could lead to new and alternative routes to existing and new markets

Photographers operate in multiple markets – social and weddings, fine art, editorial, public relations, corporate, advertising, stock and cross-subsidy – and the value derived from these markets differs. In the majority of cases the respondents obtained annual net income of <£5,000 from each market. In terms of the Hub’s potential to impact positively on their business in each market, the following was evident among those who expect an increase in income as a result of participating in the Hub:

  • Editorial (use in news, magazines, books, etc.) – 34%
  • Stock – 28%
  • Advertising – 25%
  • Fine Art – 21%
  • Corporate – 20%
  • Public relations – 14%
  • Social & weddings – 7%
  • Cross-subsidy – 4%

Photographers exploit their rights mainly directly or by client sales though smaller numbers sell through intermediaries. In terms of how they get paid this varies according to the market. For example for social and weddings and fine art, physical sales are the most important whereas in editorial, public relations, corporate and advertising it is digital sales that are the most important.

  • In the majority of cases respondents anticipated annual cost savings through the Hub of <£5,000.
  • If registration is required for the Hub and if this is made easy and quick, 44% of respondents say they would probably register and another 32% say they definitely would. The latter would increase to 42% if the registration process was automated and part of the normal production workflow.
  • There was a difference in the support for registering oneself and registering one’s individual works. 44% of respondents would register themselves on the Hub but if it had to be individual works then 40% say they probably would not register.
  • In terms of registration costs, 27% would pay £25 to register themselves and another 27% would pay £50. If registration were based on individual works 60% would pay just £0.01. Opinion was divided over whether the costs should be one-off or ongoing.

Negatives or concerns were as follows:

  • 80% concerned about the number of works they have to register
  • 76% concerned about increases in workload as a result of registration
  • 75% concerned about registering works not available for licensing to prevent them becoming orphans
  • 70% concerned about potential difficulties over registration
  • 68% concerned about the cost of registration on the Hub.

Around 9% of the potential pool of photographers surveyed responded to the detailed survey.