I received a couple of emails in this matter ("Pure Speculation: Is Getty Images Going To Acquire Network Photographers Ltd.?") which is still confusing.
According to unnamed sources, the software company Snowdrop Systems agreed to make Network Photographers a website in return for a controlling interest in Network Photographers Ltd. and in the agency archive. They also agreed to settle some of Network Photographers debts. Network Photographers hasn't existed as a production entity for quite some time now.
All the founder members and shareholders then left. Some Network photographers (all shareholders in the company) moved to the Getty "Exclusive" portal. This may or may not be connected to an overall sale to Getty. The software company, realising it was left holding a non-productive company, then chose to cut their losses, fired all the desk staff before Christmas 2005, and have been scouting around for a buyer ever since.
It is said that non-shareholder photographers were asked to join the agency after the Snowdrop takeover, but were not told about the takeover. These photographers are now faced with having to transfer their archives out of Network photographers and take them somewhere else. A source indicated that "This behaviour is a LONG way from the original co-operative ethos of the agency."
Snowdrop Systems told they will inform those photographers which are not shareholders of Network Photographers about the status of their contracts and the plans for the archive soon.
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