Fotolibra as responded to the Bapla reaction that was posted late last week. The reaction was posted in the Fotolibra blog. The origninal post “Bapla Shock horror” has now attracted over 45 reactions. While most are in favour of Fotolibra some reactions point to the debate getting out of control.
In the latest Fotolibra blogppost they say: “So it’s a fait accompli. Our participation, advice, help, whatever will clearly not be required. We don’t know who these commercial partners are, or what experience they have in setting up, maintaining and growing a subscription-based roster of photographers.” It also turns out the the post on the Bapla site was not written by Simon Cliffe but Paul Brown. Fotolibra has since been in touch with him and” agreed to disagree”
See the original reporting here:
Fotolibra, a company that positions itself as the open access market place for buying and selling image rights has a problem with the latest plans of the British Association of Picture Agencies (BAPLA). At the 34th members meeting that took place this week executive Director of the Bapla, Simon Cliffe, outlined his plans for a BAPLA Academy. Which in BAPLA’s words is:
“…a new public membership aiming to attract a group of people keen on photography, who can access and unlock skills from within the BAPLA membership to help them improve as photographers (through pod-casts, seminars, newsletters, events and portfolio reviews etc. Most definitely not the licensing of images). They will also have access to their own Academy website, where through monthly competitions judged by BAPLA members, they can display their images on a special gallery on the home page. Results of the competitions will be made available to BAPLA picture libraries so they can see the best work which they can assess for potential contributors.”
Fotolibra has taken this as a replication of their own businessmodel and is claiming that BAPLA is going in direct competition with their own members. They have posted this in their blog titled: “Bapla shock horror” of which this is a short excerpt:
More precisely, they have created something called the BAPLA Academy. The idea is that photographers pay an annual fee and get to upload their images to the BAPLA web site where they can be viewed and made available for “non-commercial sales” (a wonderful oxymoron on a par with business ethics, or military intelligence).
The BAPLA Academy will be directly competing for the subscriptions of the same photographers who supply fotoLibra with its top images. The same graduates, keen amateurs, semi-pros, wedding and studio photographers we work hard to attract, encourage and foster.
It’s not about print and mousemat sales versus rights sales, it’s about diverting a body of good, keen and potentially great photographers to ally with BAPLA rather than fotoLibra. That’s not BAPLA’s remit.”
The blog quickly received 25 reactions mostly in support of Fotolibra. Simon Cliffe was one of the commenters and said:
“The great thing about blogs is that you get an opportunity to respond, which is what I’m doing now. Reading the remarks to this entry, I want to make it perfectly clear, that we WILL NOT be ‘representing’ these members. We will NOT be ‘licensing’ their images beyond giving them a platform to sell their images as prints or t-shirts or mugs etc. We are NOT planning to go in direct competition with fotoLibra. And we have not ‘ripped off’ any ideas. We are approaching this project with many objectives that are right for the imaging industry, none of which include the above. Last night, Gwyn and I agreed to meet up and discuss this in much more detail in a week or so which is great.”
Bapla has since also issued a statement on their website titled: “BAPLA’s response to the Fotolibra blog”. An excerpt of the statement is included earlier in this post. It concludes:
“At an industry level, BAPLA has to look beyond the day to day businesses of our members and plan for the future. In the current economic and new digital environment this means our thinking needs to be creative and different. This means change, and change is never popular, but with the right foundations from the past, the right changes are necessary. The BAPLA board is made up of industry professionals with a huge amount of experience from all areas of both picture libraries and the industry itself. With the greatest of respect, the considered opinions and ideas of this group of people who have been elected to lead the industry forward, should not be dismissed lightly. Before the blog was posted, we invited fotoLibra to discussions to fill them in on all the facts, as we were sure that once they comprehended what the BAPLA Academy actually was, they would see it as an excellent business opportunity, not a threat. That invitation still stands.”
To be continued…