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Earlier last month, we learned that Getty agreed to licence some 5,000 stock photos to Google, and paid the image creators a one-time fee of $12. In response, members of the Microstockgroup forums planned to deactivate their photos and images on iStockphoto (a counterpart of Getty Images).
Stock photographer Sean Locke – who has contributed more than 12,000 photos to iStockphoto and sold nearly 1 million licenses – decided to help out photographers who wanted to leave iStockphoto (although he says he was not directly related with the deactivation day) with an updated version of his popular Greasemonkey script that includes a deactivation button.
Locke criticized the Getty/Google deal early on, and also started looking into a new stock agency service (which is currently in private beta). And so just yesterday, PetaPixel reported that Locke had shared news on his blog: he was given notice by Getty that they were terminating his account at iStockphoto in 30 days.
As one of iStockphoto’s top contributors, Locke was shocked. “As best I can tell, this started about a month ago, with the Getty Images/Google Drive licensing scheme,” he wrote. And then:
“This past Tuesday, I received a rude and very threatening email from a Getty Images Manager. It questioned what my objectives at iStockphoto were – to ‘distract key resources away from improving the business’ and ‘undermine customer faith’ or did I want to to ‘create a constructive dialogue’ on improving things. If my intentions were the former, then I should ‘terminate our relationship’. If the latter, we should have a call to have “a more efficient and constructive discourse.'”
Locke requested a phone call to discuss the matter with iStockphoto, who informed him that they were going to terminate their relationship and close Locke’s account in 30 days.
So what’s next? Locke says that he’ll be migrating his stock photos to several other stock content sites, and that he feels “a bit free right now.” He also encourages other stock photographers to work on their “plan B”.