Getty shutting Scoopt citizen journalism photo site to focus on core business

Getty Images is giving up on Scoopt, the citizen photojournalism agency it bought from Glasgow-based founder Kyle MacRae in 2007. The picture wire will stop taking uploads this Friday and close the site entirely on March 6. Scoopt invites users to upload pictures and gives 40% of royalties if it can sell images on to photo desks at papers and other agencies. It’s not clear how many photos Getty had managed to scoop from paparrazzo wannabes since the acquisition. MacRae told contributors via Twitter: “Sorry it didn’t work out. The idea was for it to scale under Getty (NYSE: GYI). Shame that didn’t happen.”

The buzz about “citizen journalism” may have died down since its height in 2005, but it’s not as if the potential has gone away – every week, mere platforms like Twitter, initiatives like iReport and newsdesks like that at BBC News get newsworthy images and stories across their bow. But perhaps those armed with cameras on our streets are sharing their photos directly with outlets like these, rather than formal “citizen journalism” projects.

So Getty is closing this chapter: “We remain convinced that there is a demand for this kind of material as part of an editorial product, but for the moment are choosing to focus our energies within Getty Images on our core products in news, sport and entertainment.” All photo rights will revert to creators but Getty will offer to buy rights to a few of the best images. Email to members follows (via Stock Photo blog)…

Dear Scoopt members,

I am sorry to inform you, as a member of Scoopt, that we have decided to close the business. We will not be taking in any more imagery after February 6, 2009 and will close the upload application. We will also cease licensing any imagery through Scoopt on that date.

Our experience with Scoopt has taught us some very valuable lessons. We remain convinced that there is a demand for this kind of material as part of an editorial product, but for the moment are choosing to focus our energies within Getty Images on our core products in news, sport and entertainment.

It has been a pleasure working with Scoopt, your pictures have provided a fascinating snapshot of the circumstances in which you find yourselves and have added valuable viewpoints to the news service we provide our customers on a daily basis.

A holding page will remain until March 6, 2009 but from February 6 we will not be accepting any new imagery and so the upload path will be closed, and the galleries shut down, at which point all rights over the photos revert to you, the copyright holders.

All Scoopt content that also appears on Getty Images will initially be reviewed and any Scoopt member that has photos deemed to have longer term value on Getty Images will be offered a separate contract. To be clear, on February 6, 2009 all Scoopt content will be taken down from the Getty Images website and only be reposted, once the relevant contractual relationship with individual photographers is in place.

If your material is selected for continued inclusion on Getty Images, you will be contacted directly. We will be posting some FAQ’s on the website to try to answer any questions you may have, so please do refer to this section.

Please note that we will be retaining your contact details in order to service any outstanding payments that are due and in case there should be need for a further communication update. If you would like your details removed from the database, please respond to with the words Remove Details in the subject line, and citing your Scoopt member ID.

Please use the email for all correspondence regarding the closure of Scoopt. Thank you for all your enthusiasm and support which have made Scoopt such an exciting place to work.

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