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500px Prime Launches, A Cut Above The Rest

By Anthony Thurston on March 8th 2014

500px Prime, the stock licensing service developed by the popular photo network, has launched with quite a surprising compensation split. When the new stock licensing system was announced a while back, photographers from all walks of life pushed back at what was then announced as a 30% cut for photographers.




When the new system launched yesterday, it was with a 70% cut for photographers, rather than the initially announced 30%. This means that the photographer’s cut of the $250 licensing fee is $175, which sounds like a pretty good deal. That is, until you actually take a look at the license that you are giving purchasers of your image.

The $250 stock license gives purchasers of your image a lifetime license to use the image in any and all mediums. That $175 cut doesn’t sound so great now, does it? Sure, in some cases this seems completely fair, but for many situations, this is grossly undervalues the photographer’s work.


This leaves me personally pretty torn with 500x Prime. I love the ground breaking 70/30 split that photographers get with the service. But I am not happy with the overly simple and far reaching licensing structure that favors the license purchasers much more than the content creators. Even just adding a second license would solve this issue.

Create two licenses, a limited license and the unlimited lifetime license. Make the unlimited license a more expensive option, and keep the limited option at $250. Make the licensor spell out the intended use, and then make the license limited to that use. Multiple uses, multiple licenses required. This way photographers are compensated more fairly.

Is $175 enough compensation for a "royalty free, worldwide, unlimited use across all media" license?

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What are your thoughts on this new 500 Prime service? Are you going to put any of your images on the site, or are you going to steer clear? Share your thoughts in a comment below to join the discussion.

[via 500px]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Brandon Dewey

    I love 500px!

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