Yahoo and Reuters want your images and videos – for free.


NYT reports in “Have Camera Phone? Yahoo and Reuters Want You to Work for Their News Service” how Yahoo and Reuters want your material for their news sites. Although the wording is a bit off: If you work for somebody you do get paid.

Starting tomorrow, the photos and videos submitted will be placed throughout and Yahoo News, the most popular news Web site in the United States, according to comScore MediaMetrix. Reuters said that it would also start to distribute some of the submissions next year to the thousands of print, online and broadcast media outlets that subscribe to its news service. Reuters said it hoped to develop a service devoted entirely to user-submitted photographs and video.

Of course there will be some editoral selection so that not everything will make its way online:

Starting tomorrow, users will be able to upload photos and videos to a section of Yahoo called You Witness News ( All of the submissions will appear on Flickr or a similar site for video. Editors at both Reuters and Yahoo will review the submissions and select some to place on pages with relevant news articles, just as professional photographs and video clips are woven into their news sites today.

If you until now read Google News, why not in future use Yahoo if you get the same information but with pictures and video? As usual the question pops up: If I work for you, will I get paid? The answer looks good at first glance:

Users will not be paid for images displayed on the Yahoo and Reuters sites. But people whose photos or videos are selected for distribution to Reuters clients will receive a payment. Mr. Ahearn said the company had not yet figured out how to structure those payments. The basic payment may be relatively small, but he said Reuters was likely to pay more to people offering exclusive rights to images of major events. For now, no money is changing hands between Yahoo and Reuters, but if Reuters is able to create a separate news service with the user-created material, it will split the revenue with Yahoo.

It seems as if the answer is yes – but if you look closely it only “enhances” the services of Yahoo and Reuters. If revenue is generated, it will be split with Yahoo. And although it may be reprinted somewhere, the future for news is online and not on paper.

Basically you are giving Reuters a huge amount of material to select from (without them having to pay anything for it) and if you are lucky, your work is taken. Then your work gets used (probably without usable credits) and if it gets reprinted AND it will be reported, first Reuters and Yahoo will receive money.

It may be interesting for an aspiring photographer to try and work this angle and get some recognition this way, but for the shere masses this is a a win win situation: The readers get photos / video for free and Yahoo and Reuters earn more money through it. Why? Because stories with multimedia are more interesting than just text.

A bad picture may be better than no picture at all and if there is no video material at all, any kind of video will do.

Readers will know that I am no friend of the old copyright system, I call it outdated and it needs work done. It was invented in the last millenium and could not have forseen the internet. Still, we have to talk about ways to share revenue in a fair way between all parties.

[Additional text in German: Yahoo / Reuters wollen ‘Leserbilder’ übernehmen]

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