A Casualty In Our Digital Midst

One thing that we have been seeing lately is a shake-out of digital photographic services. Not that the rest of the global economy is in fine shape either, but truly, the strong survive. We met with some of them at PhotoPlus Expo and we’ll bring that report to later this week.

Another stock/archive/selling service for photographers has folded their tents rather fast: Digital Railroad. Keeping our overhead low, seems to be the key today. These folks were way out in the public, as their clients (you!) would want them to be. Guess the business plan couldn’t survive the downturn.
If there is a lesson here it’s this: Just remember to ALWAYS have your work backed up, and ready to move. It’s cheap insurance to buy a hard drive to just archive your files and put it away.

Please read the following from SAA:
Photographers with Digital Railroad Archives need to take immediate action.
SAA is following up on behalf of photographers.

“Oct. 30, 2008. Digital Railroad operations are now shut down, and awareness is building among photographers and archive owners that the site could go offline at any time. Yesterday, the DRR system was so overloaded that outbound image transfer was disabled and then reinstated several times, adding to the frustration of photographers rushing to download image files, data and sales reports.

Today, Photoshelter issued a statement that they’d confirmed from Diablo Mangement, the company handling the liquidation process, their “intent to shut down the DRR site as early as 11:59PM, PST, on Friday October 31. After this point, it is very likely that all the images located on the Digital Railroad servers could be permanently inaccessible.”

SAA’s legal chair David Sanger has also been in communications with Diablo Management, as well as Western Technology, the bank which foreclosed on DRR and is the only secured creditor. SAA is appealing to both companies to take whatever steps are necessary to afford photographers a reasonable and reliable window for transfer of their files. We have also inquired about the possibility of access to the facility to make copies of the photographer images so that they could be subsequently redistributed back to their owners.

SAA will also continue to pursue the issues of pre-paid service fees and licensing fees due. Many photographers pre-paid over $500 for a year of service, in some cases as recently as last month.
We are also exploring what options there are for photographers in tracking down and getting paid for licenses. Licenses fall in to several categories.

A. Licenses invoiced by DRR and already paid by photo buyer.
B. Licenses invoiced by DRR and not yet paid by photo buyer.
C. Licenses not yet invoiced by DRR

It’s critical to get a copy of any pending DRR sales reports, including cut and paste of the sales detail pop-up window for every sale. This is essential because this provides all of the license and usage details. As soon as we have a recommended approach and some suggested language for photographers to use to follow up directly, we’ll post details. Also remember that until an invoice is paid, the photo buyer doesn’t actually have a copyright license to use your image.

Please pass this message along to any colleagues who have DRR archives.
We will also post updates to the SAA web site at http://www.stockartistsalliance.org/drr.”

SAA has asked for as much info to get out on this as fast as possible.The bolds are ours.

We wanted to get this out to those directly involved, and for your information.
Your work needs to be protected, and you are the best person to do it.


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