iStockPhoto legally guarantees all files in collection

Last week Calgary-headquartered microstock photo site iStockphoto became the first micropayment royalty-free image, video and audio provider to legally guarantee all files in its collection – at no cost to the customer. The free insurance, which is provided automatically on all content purchased through the site, offers to pay up to $10K to cover legal fees and damages should a dispute arise.

Jonathan Bailey of Plagiarism Today notes that though other stock photo agencies offer similar guarantees in their contracts, iStockphoto has become the first micropayment service to offer such a guarantee. Bailey brings up another interesting twist – iStockphoto is owned by the well-known stock photo agency Getty Images who has a long-standing history of sending out legal threats and demanding at least a thousand dollars per infringement for use of their photos.

According to a company spokesperson, iStockPhoto is on target to realize $200 million in revenue in 2009,  has a worldwide community and client base of over 5 million, and currently pays out on average $1.2 million in artist royalties every week.