Fee for services

Alan Harvey aharvey at AMNH.ORG
Wed Apr 19 09:06:24 CDT 1995

        With respect to the question of whether museums should charge
for-profit and non-profit entities differently for the same information,
you might be interested in knowing that stock photo agencies, which are in
many ways analagous for-profit businesses, do just this.  (The distinction
is actually between editorial use, e.g., textbooks, and advertizing, which
is slightly different, but I'd argue directly analagous).  Also, agencies
give non-profit entities an extra discount.
        This isn't done out of the kindness of their corporate hearts;
rather,it represents a realization that for-profits/advertizers are willing
and able to pay lots more money than are non-profits/editorials.  In both
cases the agency gets fair market value for its images; it's just that the
two markets have quite different scales.  Indeed, advertizers are usually
glad to pay the higher rates, because 1) the potential return on the
investment is great, and 2) they still save money compared to the
alternative of hiring someone to actually create new images.  And yes,
stock photo agencies do encounter gray areas, as well as obvious
advertizers trying to pass themselves off as editorials.  But these
problems are relatively rare, and are handled with a pragmatic mix of
policy and case-specific flexibility.
        While I'm rather skeptical of turning the operation of museums over
to business folks, I do think it's worth checking out for-profit companies
that deal with the same kinds of issues.


Alan Harvey


Alan W. Harvey (aharvey at amnh.org)
Assistant Curator of Invertebrates
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024
(212) 769-5638

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