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October 29, 2008
1,300 individual photographers and 65 agencies are victims of a sudden shutdown of access to their own digital photographs by service provider Digital Railroad. Apparently without warning, Digital Railroad suspended service — thereby preventing members from completing any and all sales, licensing and business transacations. Even worse, most photographers and agencies cannot access, download or back-up their own photo archives!
According to a report on PDN Online:
Among [the victims] are editorial agencies like the UPI Newspictures archive, Redux Stock, Noor and VII Photo. Not all of the clients rely on Digital Railroad exclusively, but some do.
Stephen Mayes, managing director of VII Photo, says the VII archive may go offline while the agency negotiates a deal with a new partner.
“None of the contingencies we have are going to be fast enough to cover that gap,” Mayes says. “So we’re going to have an annoying dark period.”
This is an incredible financial blow to all photographers who have relied completely on Digital Railroad as their marketplace portal to promote and sell work. Many such independent professionals have used Digital Railroad as a sole source for storing and archiving all of their digital photos while they upload on-the-go from remote locations on assignment. These photographers may not have back-ups of their own hard-earned work.
The lack of ethics by Digital Railroad and their liquidation company is mind boggling.