Get your decorative art at Costco

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I find this disturbing. The two 800lb gorillas, Corbis and Costco have teamed up sell stock photos as prints. So my question is how will this effect the photo art market? Is the fine art market and home decor market the same or not? Does this make handmade analog prints more precious? :confused:

    http://pdnpulse.com/2010/12/corbis-inks-print-on-demand-consumer-deal.html
     
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    $1.49 for an 8x10? What a deal! It doesn't make sense for me to be a photographer anymore, when I can stop at Costco on the way home and pick up a stunning 8x10 for $1.49 along with 20 pounds of frozen pot stickers. Just imagine the lucky photographers--twenty people buy your image and a check for the princely sum of $1.00 arrives in your mailbox. :smile:
     
  3. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    What kills me is the person saying on the press release that the customers "...have the copyright permission to use the images as they like, and that the images are all properly licensed for their use – even for resale." Which then was clarified to mean that they could use the print that they buy as they like and could sell the print that they buy, but no other uses were allowed for. Oops.

    I guess the guy meant that you could hang it in your bathroom or in your living room.

    I am not sure what real difference this makes as far as selling fine art photos. That has been a challenge all along and there have always been cheap photos and posters available, maybe there is just more variety now. I do think that the fine art market and home decor market are distinct. There are people attracted to the uniqueness and exclusivity of a piece of fine art that are not going to be happy with a stock photo printed out at the Costco photo lab.
     
  4. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    I guess their contributors don't think so: "One concern is that the inexpensive Costco prints could undercut Corbis contributors who sell fine art prints on their own, Fagan says."

    Which would suggest that the contributors think that their fine-art print customers would not notice or care about the difference between a nice print and a cheap costco print. Or at least not enough to pay the premium for a nice print. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but if the Costco prints are "good enough" to undercut that market, then one might have to wonder what the customer is paying a premium for. It also suggests that the contributors don't really think their customers are all that discerning.
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Member

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    Fair point, I had not really noticed that line and naturally assumed that the folks participating had opted in of their own volition.

    One might also wonder why Corbis would do this to their contributors or why their contributors would be willing to participate. I am curious just what their agreements are with Corbis, do they really not have the right to say that 10¢ or whatever per photo is not enough or can they not opt out of a program like this? I would not sell the rights to a photo for that kind of price, nor would I agree to give a stock agency such latitude in a contract that they could start marketing to the same folks that I am marketing to. Seems really odd.

    I am more persuaded by the argument that the language from the Costco person in the press release will be encouraging infringement and that when you are selling copyrighted stuff like this to the general public, you should assume that they will not understand the nature of copyright.
     
  6. lns

    lns Member

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    The fine art market is roaring back. That really has nothing to do with this Costco offering, nor with any print anyone on this site might be trying to sell.

    It's an old story that the general stock photo market has collapsed. Perhaps Corbis is trying to monetize a hard-to-sell asset by reaching out to a new market, the consumer.

    As for the buyers, I am sure they know the difference between art and decor. And since when have stock photos been considered art? Seven years ago, when we were about to put our first house on the market, I hung up in a bathroom two cheap but tasteful black and white "photos" that were sold framed from Target. They cost less than $20 each, matted and framed. I think the "photo" part was actually just offset printed. I had real silver gelatin prints elsewhere, but the Target product was fine for its purpose, which was just temporary decor.

    -Laura
     
  7. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    Because Costco will make their work available to many thousands of people who otherwise would never see it?