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Important information about PantherMedia's SmarterPix

Dear photographers,

this is not a promotional newsletter. You are receiving this message because you have registered as a photographer on and the information contained herein relates to our contractual relationship and the function of your account.

After months of preparation, we have now launched our new platform in a beta version to a small group of beta testers.

What is

Smarterpix is basically a platform for free photos. Additional functions and content can be accessed via a premium membership (introductory fee of 9.90 euros / month). The licenses, even those available as part of the Premium Membership, are limited in scope compared to the PantherMedia licenses (print run, limited commercial usage rights, etc.).

Some background on

Free photo platforms (e.g. unsplash, pixabay, pexels) have grown dramatically in recent years and have gained significant importance. The latter is also demonstrated by the fact that Getty Images recently acquired unsplash. In addition to private individuals, commercial customer groups such as self-employed individuals, graphic designers, freelancers and smaller companies are increasingly using these platforms. The license requirements for these customer groups are less than those offered by stock photo agencies. In addition, the willingness to pay for licenses is very low among these customer groups, despite the already very low entry prices at stock photo agencies. And even when there is a preparedness to pay for a license, the price expectations are very low. The disadvantage for the users of such platforms, however, is the legally insecure environment and the risks associated therewith.

For these reasons PantherMedia has decided to address these new customer groups and to offer existing customers with lower license requirements an alternative instead of losing them entirely. The aims of are to "upsell" to PantherMedia from for projects with higher licensing requirements and the development of new sources of income through membership fees, advertising income, sponsorship income, API fees and others.

Smarterpix photos and royalties

The free photos currently come from a separate collection of photos (not from PM photographers). The images accessible via the paid for premium membership consist of PantherMedia images as well as images from a partner. In particular, and importantly, this means: Your photos are not offered free of charge. They can, however, be downloaded as part of a paid premium membership at the license terms. These downloads are currently remunerated with a 50% commission based on the relative share in the overall downloads. For details, please see section 5 in the Commission Structure.

What's next?

We will begin promoting the platform after the integration of further functions and the completion of initial tests. The royalties from premium downloads will be distributed to photographers at regular intervals. We’ll start with quarterly and switch to a monthly payment as soon as the downloads exceed a certain level.

We have now also opened the upload for free photos to interested photographers. Why offer free photos you might ask? Well, first of all, we also give the photographers of free photos a share of income (advertising, sponsorship, API fees, etc.). Secondly, the copyright notice is mandatory for the use of the free photos. In this way, links are generated and the author's name is also communicated. So, in the future we will be able to support the self-marketing of photographers with this. If free photos are used without naming the author, that constitutes a beach of the terms of the license which we can legally prosecute. The author will of course participate in any possible penalties. Uploading free photos is optional. So, if you would like to provide free photos, please contact us. We will set up a separate account for you to upload free photos.

We firmly believe that the licensing of photos will continue to be a fixed and integral part of the stock photography industry, but the development of additional sources of income for platform operators and photographers is of crucial importance in order to continue to be successful and relevant in the market in the long term as well as to fully exploit the potential. With, PantherMedia is opening a new chapter and connecting with new potential and opportunity through what we believe to be a clever mix of paid and free photos from the platform for free photos that can be legally trusted:

Best wishes,

Robert Walters & Tomas Speight

Panther Media GmbH
Rüdesheimer Str. 11
80686 Munich