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The Power of Authentic Images | Interview With Swiss Photo Agency Ex-Press

Stock photos can be found in hoards on various portals all across the Internet. Since they are intended to appeal to as large an audience as possible and serve a variety of purposes, it’s important for these stock photos to be versatile. It is precisely for this reason that a Swiss photo agency by the name of Ex-Press AG has made it their mission to bring a new look and feel to stock photography that sets their offerings apart from traditional stock photo agencies.

Ex-Press AG was formed in 2006 and is based out of Zurich, Switzerland. Ex-Press represents about 20 Swiss photographers and acts as an intermediary between these photographers’ photos and the customers that customers that want to purchase them.

Ex-Press’ main focus is to provide its clients with a portfolio of unique interview and portrait images of renowned personalities from business, politics and society. In addition, the company also offers collections of photographs showcasing everyday life in Switzerland. For these photos, the agency relies entirely on each photographer’s signature style and insists on natural, unscripted photos. This results in lively, moving images that inspire the viewer with their authentic power.

Ex-Press | Hände halten jungen Traubenstrauch

For the past few months, Ex-Press AG has relied on Copytrack’s copyright enforcement services to manage illegal image use and post-licensing, as well as to protect their extensive catalogue of stock images. We recently reached out to Ex-Press AG for an interview about their experiences regarding picture theft and how Copytrack has helped them manage this issue:

What are some the main things that set Ex-Press AG apart from other photo agencies?

"Ex-Press focuses on journalistic and documentary photography from Switzerland and maintains a portfolio of selected photographers. When selling images, we prefer to cater to our customers’ needs rather than following a specific business model. Our main focus is to provide high quality photographs and our prices assure a fair rate for our photographers. Our agency aims to act as a centralized contact and service provider for all areas of photography. Whether you need commissioned images, visual concepts, conservation and digitalisation of analogue image carriers or image mediation, we have the right specialists, knowledge, and partners to help you get what you need. In addition, we enjoy sharing our many years of experience and photography know-how in the form of training courses for our customers and photographers."

How did Ex-Press become aware of Copytrack? What experiences have you had with regard to photo theft?

"The first time we heard about Copytrack was in a trade magazine and we decided to give the service a try with some test pictures. Illegal use of our images had already been a problem for several years for us by that point. In the past, we would take action against the infringers ourselves. The problem with this, however, was that the ratio of time required for processing infringements to the income it would typically generate had been proven to be unprofitable. "

We Firmly Believe That Photographers Must Be Fairly Remunerated For Their Work

What have your first impression of our service been? Were you surprised to find out just how much your pictures were being used and who they were being used by?

"The success rate at which Copytrack's search engine has found hits has been very high. Individual case processing takes some time, but overall the number of cases won has been impressive. We are no longer surprised by picture theft, we've experienced so much now that we've started to become desensitized to it."

What did you find particularly helpful about Copytrack's service? Were there any notable cases that you can remember?

"The simple and low-threshold handling and registration for the service offer have made it much easier for us to start working with Copytrack. While we would prefer to not mention any particular cases, we can say that we have been amazed to find just how carelessly major outlets such as public authorities, universities, and even journalists use our pictures without licensing them. The casual nature in which this is done can be quite shocking at times."

Which types of pictures do you think are most often stolen in Switzerland?

Herbstliche Landschaft in der Schweiz

"Our agency mainly experiences instances of infringement over pictures with a specific theme or topic. At this point in time we still have yet to see any significant differences between the types of license infringements in Switzerland compared to those in other countries."

After your first experiences with Copytrack, do you think the re-licensing of illegally used images has the potential to become another important source of income for image agencies?

"The additional royalties generated by copyright infringement most certainly are a valued additional source of income and can offer companies a bit of stability through turbulent market conditions. It should also go without mention that consistent law enforcement, for us, goes much deeper than just income. It also acts as an important method for ensuring that image thieves are not able to put our business at stake by gaining advantages over paying customers.

We firmly believe that photographers must be fairly remunerated for their work - they are the capital and future of Ex-Press and their interests must be defended."

Written by Dr. Daniela Mohr

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About Copytrack

COPYTRACK was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt. Our service is aimed at photographers, publishers, picture agencies and e-commerce providers. We enable free detection of stolen images on the Internet, as well as, international legal enforcement.

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