It is illegal to use most of the photos on the internet without gaining the proper rights of usage—at least, that’s the legal requirement in some countries.
The internet connects people and services unlike anything else and whenever one needs to find a photo, there’s a near infinite library of them on the internet. There are free images available across the web, but a growing volume of high-quality images require a payment. A bit more than a decade ago, people could snap up an image on the internet and use it willy-nilly without considering to pay a dime for it. All that changed when companies like Shutterstock surfaced near the turn of this millennium.
These newly surfaced online image agencies gave photographers a guarantee of income for the images they provide as companies like Shutterstock would draw in an audience, make partnerships with media companies, and litigate against (obvious) users who used images without the rights. At the onset of this shift, the companies were a boon to photographers as they demanded low fees yet provided an invaluable service. And all this was economically reasonable as photographers did what they do best—take photos—while businessmen made sure the photos fetched their true value.
Of course, all this soon changed. Greed started to seep into the market and the online image agencies began to demand a ridiculous share of photographers’ income.
The average fee incurred for selling images on the major online agencies hovers around 75%; while the photographers do the labor, the middlemen absorb most of the profit.
The worst part of this isn’t actually the 75% fee but the fact that the incurred charges are unpredictable and can increase further. Photography isn’t a cost-less endeavor as equipment, props, and possible travel costs need to be budgeted. An unpredictable agency fee charged by the industry’s dominating players is making photography a risky profession.
Smart Solutions with Smart Contracts
When an industry becomes plagued with problems caused by an oligarchic control of a few companies, new entrepreneurs often present alternatives, and this time around, the alternative leverages blockchain technology to offer innovative, effective solutions.
Wemark is a new image marketplace that challenges the industry leaders by using blockchain technology to create a protocol that, above all, offers a secure ecosystem for photographers. When a photographer sells an image on Wemark, the conditions of the sale, particularly the marketplace fee, is recorded in an immutable record on the blockchain and cannot be altered. Thus, photographers can put up a photograph on Wemark and be confident that all the future revenues it earns will face the fee agreed upon at the time of the photo’s listing.
While the Wemark protocol offers photographers a reliable means to budget the costs of the images they take, the usage of blockchain, naturally offers other benefits. As much of the marketplace interactions become automated, through smart contracts, Wemark is able to sustain lower costs and it passes this benefit onto the photographers by charging a marketplace fee of just 15%.
Wemark is setting a new image marketplace standard in terms of giving a greater regard to the toil of photographers. A trustless agreement ensures that photographers can count on a predictable fee structure while also having to pay the lowest fees in the industry.
Wemark Essential Links
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