Corbis

Corbis

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Corbis'
Start a new discussion about 'Corbis'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
Corbis Corporation is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 company, based in Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington
Seattle is the county seat of King County, Washington. With 608,660 residents as of the 2010 Census, Seattle is the largest city in the Northwestern United States. The Seattle metropolitan area of about 3.4 million inhabitants is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the country...

, that licenses the rights to photograph
Photograph
A photograph is an image created by light falling on a light-sensitive surface, usually photographic film or an electronic imager such as a CCD or a CMOS chip. Most photographs are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus the scene's visible wavelengths of light into a reproduction of...

s, footage
Footage
In filmmaking and video production, footage is the raw, unedited material as it had been originally filmed by movie camera or recorded by a video camera which usually must be edited to create a motion picture, video clip, television show or similar completed work...

 and other visual media. It has a collection of more than 100 million images and 500,000 video clips.

Image licensing and search


The company's collection includes contemporary creative, editorial, entertainment, and historical photography as well as art and illustrations. Among its acquisitions are the 11 million piece Bettmann Archive
Bettmann Archive
The Bettmann Archive is a collection of 19 million photographs and images, some going back to the United States Civil War and including some of the best known U.S. historic images. The Archive also includes many images from Europe and elsewhere....

, acquired in 1995; the Sygma collection in France (1999); and the German stock image
Stock image
Stock image can mean the following:* A stock image in publishing is an image that is commercially available .* A stock image in finance is a stock valuation coefficient based on the "stock profile" , as it is really or as investors perceive it...

 company Zefa (2005). Corbis also has the rights to digital reproduction for art from the Hermitage Museum
Hermitage Museum
The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

 in St. Petersburg, Russia
Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburg is a city and a federal subject of Russia located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea...

, the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It is located at the west end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. The Museum was established in 1876 in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition of the same year...

 and the National Gallery in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. Corbis adds hundreds of thousands of new images every year.

Corbis's collections include:
  • Contemporary creative imagery from the zefa, etsa, Corbis's wholly owned collections and others.
  • Celebrity photos from the Outline and Corbis Entertainment collections.
  • Historical and editorial images from photojournalists, museums, and cultural institutions including Andy Warhol
    Andy Warhol
    Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

     Foundation, Ansel Adams
    Ansel Adams
    Ansel Easton Adams was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park....

    , Douglas Kirkland
    Douglas Kirkland
    Douglas Kirkland is a prominent photographer based in the United States. At age twenty-four, Kirkland was hired as a staff photographer for Look magazine and became famous for his 1961 photos of Marilyn Monroe taken for Look's 25th anniversary issue...

    , James White
    James White
    -In the military:* James White , American pioneer who founded Knoxville, Tennessee* James White , World War I Royal Naval Air Service fighter ace-In politics:...

    , The Smithsonian Institution
    Smithsonian Institution
    The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

    , The National Gallery, London, The State Hermitage Museum
    Hermitage Museum
    The State Hermitage is a museum of art and culture in Saint Petersburg, Russia. One of the largest and oldest museums of the world, it was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and has been opened to the public since 1852. Its collections, of which only a small part is on permanent display,...

    , Christie's
    Christie's
    Christie's is an art business and a fine arts auction house.- History :The official company literature states that founder James Christie conducted the first sale in London, England, on 5 December 1766, and the earliest auction catalogue the company retains is from December 1766...

     Images, and the Bettmann, Hulton-Deutsch, Sygma and Brett Weston collections.


Corbis has a subsidiary, Veer, that focuses on licensing low-cost images that are crowd-sourced from photographers around the world as well as fonts and creative merchandise.

Rights services


Corbis has a division called GreenLight that handles licensing of content, clearances, rights representation and talent negotiations. GreenLight also represents rightsholders directly, including the personality rights
Personality rights
"Personality rights" is a common or casual reference to the proper term of art "Right of Publicity". The Right of Publicity can be defined simply as the right of an individual to control the commercial use of his or her name, image, likeness or other unequivocal aspects of one's identity...

 of Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was a Chinese American, Hong Kong actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts movement...

; Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

 and June Carter
June Carter Cash
Valerie June Carter Cash was an American singer, dancer, songwriter, actress, comedienne and author who was a member of the Carter Family and the second wife of singer Johnny Cash...

; the Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...

 Foundation; Steve McQueen
Steve McQueen
Terrence Steven "Steve" McQueen was an American movie actor. He was nicknamed "The King of Cool." His "anti-hero" persona, which he developed at the height of the Vietnam counterculture, made him one of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and 1970s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination...

; Mae West
Mae West
Mae West was an American actress, playwright, screenwriter and sex symbol whose entertainment career spanned seven decades....

; the Wright brothers
Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

; and Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

. GreenLight's rights and music clearances group will secure third-party rights to celebrity talent, music, TV and film clips, trademarks, footage, etc.

Footage licensing


Corbis has a subsidiary, Corbis Motion, that has a library of more than 500,000 video clips including contemporary collections of people and lifestyle, business, sports, travel destinations, nature, and an archival collection that covers news and events, arts and entertainment and sports. The Corbis Motion web site has advanced search, purchase, and real-time delivery options.

Founding


Corbis is privately owned by Bill Gates
Bill Gates
William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen...

, who founded the company in 1989 under the name Interactive Home Systems (a name currently held by an unrelated, slightly older company based in Concord, Massachusetts). One major reason for starting the company was Gates's belief that people would someday decorate their homes with a revolving display of digital artwork using digital frames. The company's name was changed to Continuum Productions in 1994 and to Corbis Corporation a year later. "Corbis" is Latin for "wicker basket", which at the time referred to the company's emerging view of itself as a receptacle or storehouse for visual media.

1990 to 2000


Corbis began with a goal much different from its strategy today. At its formation, Interactive Home Systems presented itself to the corporate world as an art-licensing company. Gates envisioned a system that could deliver the great art works of human history into consumers' homes, and he formed Interactive Home Systems as the company that eventually would beam the paintings of famous artists via technology that had yet to be developed. Interactive television was suggested as a way to deliver the content, but as the development of the ultimate conduit was under way, Corbis focused on digitizing content and acquiring rights to images. Corbis signed agreements with the National Gallery of London, the Library of Congress, the Sakamoto Archive, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Strategic Change in 1994 Leads to Bettmann Archive Acquisition in 1995
  • In 1994, a new management team was put in place, as the pursuit of developing technology became a secondary concern. Of primary importance was cataloging, indexing, and acquiring further image collections. The change in priorities reflected a shift from the company's roots as an art-licensing concern toward a new corporate objective: assembling the most comprehensive digital photographic archive in the world. Along with the altered business focus came a new name. Interactive Home Systems was changed as the company's corporate banner, replaced by Continuum Productions, which was dropped in favor of Corbis Corporation, adopted in 1995.

  • In October 1995, the company purchased the huge Bettmann Archive
    Bettmann Archive
    The Bettmann Archive is a collection of 19 million photographs and images, some going back to the United States Civil War and including some of the best known U.S. historic images. The Archive also includes many images from Europe and elsewhere....

     collection which included the pre-1983 photo library of United Press International
    United Press International
    United Press International is a once-major international news agency, whose newswires, photo, news film and audio services provided news material to thousands of newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations for most of the twentieth century...

     and its predecessor photo agencies, Acme and INP, the photo arm of the International News Service
    International News Service
    International News Service was a U.S.-based news agency founded by newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst in 1909.Established two years after the Scripps family founded the United Press Association, INS scrapped among the newswires...

    . Prior to acquiring the Bettmann Archive, Corbis represented roughly 500,000 images, a total that increased exponentially when the Bettmann drawings, artworks, news photographs, and other illustrations were added to the company's portfolio. In all the Bettmann Archive contained 16 million images. The archive is today stored 220 feet underground in a refrigerated cave in the Iron Mountain storage facility , and the company also maintains a similar archive outside of Paris, France, preserving more than 30 million images from the Sygma Collection.

  • In 1996 the company acquired the exclusive rights to approximately 40,000 images photographed by renowned wilderness photographer Ansel Adams
    Ansel Adams
    Ansel Easton Adams was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially in Yosemite National Park....

    .

  • In 1997, Corbis named company veterans, Steve David and Tony Rojas, co-CEOs. Corbis also hired two industry leaders - David Rheins to run Corbis' Productions, and Leslie Hughes to lead the company's B2B image licensing division, Corbis' Images. These hires marked the company's shift to a more market focused entity.

  • Corbis Productions published several award winning CD-ROM titles such as A Passion for Art: Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Dr. Barnes, compiled from the Barnes Foundation collection, and Leonardo DaVinci, which showcased the Codex Leicester.

  • Corbis Images benefited from significant acquisitions completed that underscored the company's commitment to electronic commerce and ignited impressive revenue growth for many years to come.

  • In 1998, Leslie Hughes was named President of Corbis Images. The company expanded internationally and through product development and further acquisitions. The company acquired Digital Stock Corp., a leading supplier of royalty-free images to further expand its offering. In 1998, another division was added to Corbis Images when the company acquired Outline Press Syndicate, Inc., the leading supplier of celebrity portrait photography. Renamed Corbis Outline, the company syndicated studio portraits and candid photographs of actors, musicians, athletes, politicians, business leaders, scientists, and other celebrities and provided the images for sale to a broad range of national magazines.

  • In June 1999, the company acquired Sygma, the largest news photography agency in the world. Organized as a division of Corbis Images, the France-based company, renamed Corbis Sygma, added an astounding 40 million additional images to the company's collection, expanding Corbis's portfolio beyond 65 million images. The archive is today stored in a preservation and access facility outside Paris.

2000–2010


Corbis business-to-business image licensing business expanded with the growth of the Internet in the early part of the decade. The company also expanded geographically, making multiple acquisitions such as the Stock Market and expanding into the footage licensing market with the acquisition of Sekani.
  • In 2000, after the company's dramatic growth in the professional licensing business, Corbis named Leslie Hughes, President of the newly consolidated Markets and Products Group (CMPG). The new group represented the consolidation of three formally separate business units., profesional licensing, and business communicator (Small office).

  • In 2001 Corbis built a state-of-the-art preservation facility in western Pennsylvania to house the renowned Bettmann Archive. Corbis committed to preserving the collection for generations to come, and to allow continued access to this extraordinary collection.

  • In late 2002, Leslie Hughes stepped down as President of Corbis' Markets and Products Group. Steve Davis was named as sole CEO, and Tony Rojas was appointed the company's President.

  • In 2005, the company expanded further into Europe with the acquisition of zefa , and into Australia in 2006, with the acquisition of Australian Picture Library.

  • In April 2007, the company announced it was naming new leadership. Steve Davis stepped down as CEO, and Gary Shenk was named as the new CEO as of July 1. Shenk oversaw aggressive cost-cutting efforts to improve the company’s financial performance and address the rise of low-cost competitors. The company experienced several waves of layoffs for the next several years, shed non-profitable lines of business and reduced its number of offices globally.

  • In November 2007, Corbis announced that it would be purchasing Veer and would continue to operate it as a separate brand.

  • In early June 2007, Corbis announced that it was creating a microstock website, SnapVillage. The company said it intended to use its microstock site as a farm club to find photographers who could also sell their photographs on the main Corbis Web site. In late June, the company launched SnapVillage, with about 10,000 images initially viewable. SnapVillage was closed due to low sales in early 2009 and rolled into Veer.

  • Corbis rebranded its Rights Services Division, previously a Division of Corbis Images, as "GreenLight" in 2008.

  • In July 2008 Corbis sold eMotion LLC, its media management division, to Open Text Corporation
    Open Text Corporation
    OpenText Corporation Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. As Canada's largest software company, it produces and distributes computer software applications designed to enable Enterprise content management solutions for large corporations across all industries....

    .

  • In May 2009, Corbis opened the Sygma Preservation and Access Facility outside Paris, France, housing tens of millions of photographic elements from the past half century in Europe. The company in 2009 also re-launched its Corbis Motion website with hundreds of thousands of new video clips, after signing a new partnership with Thought Equity Motion.

  • In 2010, Corbis increased its focus on serving web and mobile customers, with the introduction of low-resolution file sizes images that were more affordable for Web and Mobile use. Corbis also relaunched its Veer.com website with a greater focus on affordable images and fonts to compete more effectively against low cost competitors.

  • In 2010, Corbis was found to have committed fraud against Infoflows Corporation.

  • In this decade, Corbis has discussed its financial direction in moving towards profitability multiple times without success.

2011–present

  • In January 2011, Shirley Jones sued Corbis alleging the company violated her publicity rights, and seeking class-action status for other celebrities.
  • July 2011 - Five Photographers take Corbis to court for misuse of corporate assets in closing Corbis sygma.
  • July 2011 - Corbis acquires Splash Media, a Los Angeles based firm that deals in celebrity photography.
  • August 2011 - Corbis and the Associated Press
    Associated Press
    The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

     announce a distribution deal to try to reach each other's customers for current and archival photographs. Corbis' collection includes the library of onetime AP-rival UPI, acquired in the purchase of Bettman.

Further reading


External links