Getty claims it overpaid 9,000 iStock photographers, asks for repayment

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An error in its payment system caused Getty Images to overpay thousands of photographers who sold images on its iStock subsidiary, and now the agency wants photographers to pay them back.

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Initially thought to affect 25,000 people, Getty says the error affected payments to some 9,000 iStock members during the period of September through October 2013.

These photographers are now being asked to re-pay the difference, which Getty says it will collect in instalments over the next six months.

PetaPixel says it was contacted by an anonymous photographer who has been affected by the situation and was told he needed to-repay more than $900.

He provided PetaPixel with the email he received:

Partner Program Recoupment Notification


We discovered that there were some irregularities with September 2013 and October 2013 Partner Program royalties payments. There were a number of contributor accounts that were overpaid royalties over these two months. Unfortunately your account was one of the affected accounts.

We have calculated the over payment amount to be $956.66. Rather than take this amount out of your royalty balance in one adjustment we have decided to schedule the removal of these funds over a 6 month period. Starting before the end of February 2014 we will begin removing $159.44. Once per month for the next six months we will recoup the balance of the over payment. You will receive a monthly notification as immediately after the funds are removed.

Over Payment Total=$956.66
Monthly Recoup Amount=$159.44

An update posted to Getty’s website on 24 February states: “Rather than perform one single recoupment we have established a 6-month recoupment schedule. The email we are sending will contain the total amount that will be recouped, as well as the monthly recoupment amount. We will not be providing an individual file breakdown.”

Sentiment on most discussion boards leans toward it being fair for Getty to ask for the money back; however, many believe the agency should provide a breakdown of the sales which were overpaid.

What do you think: is Getty right to reclaim the money? Could the situation have been handled differently? Or have you been affected by Getty’s payment error? Come join the discussion on our Facebook page and let us know!


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