Corbis makes an offer you can’t refuse

November 27, 2007

shenk.jpgCopyright infringement isn’t half as bad as it sounds when you’re able to make a few bucks off it.

For stock photo agency Corbis, it’s not a bad deal at all, especially as the Internet promises all sorts of new ways for people to abuse copyright law.

“Our legal department is a revenue generator for Corbis,” Chief Executive Gary Shenk told the Reuters Media Summit on Tuesday.

“We don’t have a lot of lawsuits. We just find infringement and then we turn them into customers.”

And nuts to breaking news too! Shenk said:

We’re not a breaking news company so we don’t have any breaking news coverage. We get all of our breaking news image from suppliers from Reuters and the EPA. … What we found was that we were selling hardly any breaking news imagery at the time the news was broken. People are looking to us for archive and so that’s been the focus of our editorial business.

But life isn’t all about turning pirates into customers and chilling out in the photo library: Corbis has cut more than 300 jobs in the recent past as it streamlines its sales organization and pursues what Shenk called “efficiency cuts.” And while things may be over for now, you never know, Shenk said.

As the CEO, you always want to say you’re done… I don’t think anyone who’s CEO of a public company or any company in our industry can say there are going to be no more layoffs.

(Photo: Reuters)

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