** apologies for cross posting **
Reproduction charging models & rights policy for digital images in American
art museums. A Mellon Foundation report by Simon Tanner, Director KDCS.
This study explores the cost and policy models adapted by US arts museums
in arriving at pricing structures for delivering imaging and rights
services. It examines the new market realities and opportunities cultural
institutions face due to the transition to digital collections.
One hundred US art museums were surveyed and in-depth interviews were
carried out with 20 museums.
The final report is now publicly available at:
Amongst the most significant results of the study are:
* Museums do not carry out image creation or rights and reproduction
activity because of its profitability.
* The primary driving factors for providing these services are:
- to serve the public and educational use
- to promote the museum and its collections
- to serve publishers and commercial picture use
* 5% of those interviewed do less than 500 transactions a year.
* 56% of those interviewed received less than $50,000 a year from rights
* 99% of those surveyed charge less for educational use than commercial use.
* The largest revenue earners were those museums where money was assigned
directly back to the service department to offset or recouped against costs.
* The disconnect between the imaging and rights services and the museum's
core audience means they do not receive the credit they deserve for
enabling the wide dissemination, retailing and publication of the collection.
* The lack of business planning and clear cost accounting for the actual
cost of service provision is undermining museum efforts.
* Most museums are setting pricing on the perceived market rate rather than
with reference to the cost of actual service provision.
* There is a demonstrable commitment gap towards the rights function in
The recommendations from this study include:
* Museums use this report as a means to review their priorities in
providing imaging and rights services. It would ensure that the whole
museum has a clear understanding of the purpose of these services and the
way they link to the museum's mission.
* The rights service function should be centralized. Doing this will
increase revenue and reduce the litigation exposure for the museum.
* The rights function is recommended to be given a full-time position that
is considered as a professional activity in its own right and not an
adjunct to any other function.
* Wherever possible revenue should be assigned back to the department that
was responsible for making the revenue possible for the museum.
* Museums should consider establishing prices with reference to the actual
cost of service provision using this reports suggested pricing model.
Director, King's Digital Consultancy Services
King's College London
Kay House, 7 Arundel Street, London WC2R 3DX
tel: +44 (0)7793 403542
email: [log in to unmask]