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Watershed moment in “Free” Culture? Getty to Imagepick

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Mike Butcher from TechCrunch UK yesterday reported that Imagepick launches royalty-free image bank. ImagePick. So what? Well check it out:

Founded and funded by ex-Getty Images CFO Lawrence Gould and former Getty Images director of e-commerce, Tom Donnelly, ImagePick is a new startup which allows you to buy and own the rights to royalty free images so you can use them as much as you like for your marketing, websites, you name it. And the idea is not to provide royalty free pictures which are basically crap, as is the case normally. ImagePick has a team of editors who look at images prior to their being added to the database. It’s already got providers of royalty free images signed up, including Corbis, Jupiterimages, Blend, Rubberball and Westend61.

Apart from a “senior moment” where Mike seems to forget the vast stash of great royalty free pictures with appropriate creativecommons attribution licenses on flickr, his analysis makes sense. What strikes me most is the heritage of these guys. To quit Getty and build a business on content that is royalty-free, allowing Buy Once, Run Anywhere, with a one-time hit revenue model makes perfect sense for the growing multichannel multimedia age. Rights tracking is a nightmare, as many content holders have found to our cost.

I know quite a lot of people that consider themselves semi-pro photographers, but I never really understand their reticence to post their stuff on flickr- do you want to be discovered or not? A little trust can lead to a fair bit of business. Ask Cory Doctorow, science fiction author and free culture maven.

Perhaps ImagePick is the answer, if you can get past their quality control editors.

For my purposes I think Flickr will do just fine.


  1. I stand corrected – yes CC pix on Flickr do have a lot to offer. I guess Imagepick is aimed at corporates/media who have not a jot of an idea about CC.

  2. hey mike cheers for your excellent work on techcrunch uk… you’re right. but what would be VERY cool would be an imagepick flickr partnership – no reason it couldnt happen. one thing imagepick lacks is the user generated selection process that flickr excels at. its a bit like yahoo vs google… except in this case Yahoo hasn’t worked out how to turn flickr into a money maker by making money for its users through stock.

  3. ImagePick is interesting, but then so is iStockPhoto. Some of images there are bad, but they are getting better around editorial review before posting. The interesting thing to me is why would they enter a crowded market with established players with such exorbitant pricing? Low res images cost $100 on ImagePick, iStockPhoto costs about $4.

    So there must be some brilliance I am missing?

  4. its a good point mark. what struck me was the *people* taking the plunge here…

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