IA’s position on Stock Houses

Many Illustrators Australia members are regularly targeted by Stock Houses offering to on-sell rights to their work.

Illustrators Australia recognises the valuable potential income that can be derived from retaining copyright over one’s work and exploiting those rights to full advantage. However,  participation in selling images through Stock Houses is an individual decision that cannot be endorsed by IA as we feel that it does the longevity of our industry more harm than good. Issues of concern that we have with Stock Houses in general include :

  • Stock Imagery floods the market, decreasing the likelihood of new commissions
  • Stock imagery takes devalues Illustration’s role as a valid art form and communication tool that is built through working with a client and turns it into a hack commodity.
  • If the work offered is “exclusive”, it implies that the image has not been used before, therefore artists are working on spec producing new work with no guarantee of ever being paid (if it does not sell)
  • Stock House commissions of 50%+ are substantially more than the 25 – 33% commission industry standard that is usually paid to agents
  • Artists have no control over who buys their images offered as “royalty free”, or where they will be used.
  • Sometimes the Stock House will name itself in credits, rather than the artist

IA suggests illustrators keep these points in mind when deciding whether or not to sign their work over to a Stock House.

Pricing Imagery for re-use on an individual basis should be treated in a similar fashion to pricing new work, depending on the size of the client and the scope of usage.