According to PetaPixel, some iStock Photo photographers were notified recently that they were paid too much in September and October of 2013. Not surprisingly, Getty wants their money back. Apparently this was discovered in December, 2013 by the iStock Photo accounting department, prompting them to notify a reported 9,000 of the 25,000 contributors, seeking reimbursement.
Below is a sample "Recoupment" email sent anonymously to PetaPixel:
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 $896.88. 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 $149.48. 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
While the amount will differ from person to person depending on the number of licenses sold during the months in question, iStock is offering to recoup the cash over the course of six months in order to cause less of an inconvenience.
Understandably, photographers are upset at iStock and it's owner, Getty, prompting some to leave the agency altogether. Assuming the email reported at PetaPixel is fairly representative of the amount owed by all 9,000 photographers who were notified, this could mean iStock overlooked a $9,000,000 accounting blunder and is looking to get it back from the photographers.
What do you think of the way that iStock Photo / Getty is handling this financial mistake? Should photographers be responsible?