Digital Railroad: Latest Updates
Diablo Management Group -- Digital Railroad Contacts
DRR Information Page
Nov. 21, 2008
Final Plan for Digital Railroad Shutdown:
Some license fees will reach photographers
After meetings with the senior secured creditor this past week, and continued communication with SAA, Diablo
Management has announced final decisions made to complete the shutdown
of Digital Railroad over the next month in an
FAQ posted to the Diablo web site.
The only positive news for photographers is the potential to receive a share of some license revenues. In summary:
DRR will continue to invoice customers and collect fees until Dec. 19. Photographers will receive 70 percent of the proceeds of license revenues collected between Nov. 14 and Dec. 19. From the Diablo FAQ: "all monies collected after November 14, 2008, will be distributed as follows: 70% to the owners of the copyrighted material and 30% to the senior secured creditor. This program will terminate on December 19, 2008."
All files on the DRR servers have now been erased in a manner which they assure is "unrecoverable."
Nov. 11, 2008
No buyer for DRR
Images to be scrubbed
Fate of outstanding license fees uncertain
NPPA has posted the latest news here.
SAA continues to press Diablo to follow through on their promise to pay photographers for pending licenses made thru the DRR Marketplace:
"With regard to images in Marketplace that have been downloaded and/or used, and for which the publisher has not already made payment, we will work, with the assistance of photographer associations to have the publishers pay the photographers directly."
We've asked them to provide details of all outstanding invoices and contact info for the photographers and clients. A meeting is scheuled this week with the secured creditor, during which they will hopefully decide to "do the right thing" and honor this pledge.
Nov. 7, 2008
Bad News on Possible DRR Rescue Plan
SAA has a call in to Diablo about what happens now.
Nov. 4, 2008
Update on Status of DRR Payments
SAA continues our commitment to intervene on behalf of photographers who had Digital Railroad archives and to post updates to the community. We are in ongoing communications with Diablo Management, the crisis management company handling the situation.
On Oct. 28, Digital Railroad operations shut down. On Oct. 31, Diablo issued a memo announcing receipt of a Letter to Intent to purchase some of Digital Railroad's assets. As of Nov. 3, Diablo is now issuing an email in response to inquiries, which provides some answers about the fate of archive fees paid and license fees due. Read the email here
Following is our latest information on the issues facing photographers with DRR archives.
1. Access to image files and metadata.
As of today, DRR's servers are still online, but they could be turned off at any time. An Oct. 31 Diablo memo stated that image files will be preserved, though inaccessible, and "after the completion of an asset purchase agreement, the acquiring company will contact owners of the images to determine their disposition."
2. Status of DRR archive fees and Marketplace licensing fees
Diablo's Nov. 3 update confirms that "all monies that have been received are the property of the senior secured creditor. The cash received will not be adequate to satisfy the claim of this creditor. Therefore DRR lacks the cash necessary to pay any additional claim related to hosting services, payments to photographers, or other payables."
3. Status of payments due for pending Marketplace licenses.
Diablo has told SAA and stated in their Nov. 3 email that they intend to pay photographers for licensing fees still outstanding: "With regard to images in Marketplace that have been downloaded and /or used, and for which the publisher has not already made payment, we will work, with the assistance of photographer associations, to get the photographers paid."
In addition, the memo states that a status report on financial matters will be sent to all creditors in approximately thirty days, and requests that photographers "submit a statement for unpaid amounts that may be due to you from DRR by December 1, 2008 to: Digital Railroad, Inc, c/o Diablo Management Group, 1452 N. Vasco Road, #301, Livermore, CA 94551."
SAA will continue to stay engaged in this issue, seeking clarification and pressing for a fair resolution for artists.
Oct. 31, 2008
Letter of Intent to Purchase Digital Railroad Assets
SAA has just received a memo from Diablo Management, announcing their receipt of a Letter to Intent from an unnamed buyer to purchase Digital Railroad, "specifically its hardware and application software used to store and retrieve images."
It assures that image files would be preserved, though inaccessible, and "after the completion of an asset purchase agreement, the acquiring company will contact owners of the images to determine their disposition." It also "expresses the desire to continue providing services to DRR members and customers with as little disruption as possible."
SAA is following up to obtain more details about this deal, and about the fate of archive fees paid and license fees due.
Access to photographer archives is still slated to go offline tonite, so we continue to urge archive owners to download all sales data and back up image files.
Oct. 30, 2008
Photographers with DRR Archives need to act now.
SAA is following up on behalf of photographers
Digital Railroad operations are now shut down, and awareness is building among photographers and archive owners that the site could go offline at any time. Yesterday, the DRR system was so overloaded that outbound image transfer was disabled and then reinstated several times, adding to the frustration of photographers rushing to download image files, data and sales reports.
Today, Photoshelter issued a statement that they'd confirmed from Diablo Mangement, the company handling the liquidation process, their "intent to shut down the DRR site as early as 11:59PM, PST, on Friday October 31. After this point, it is very likely that all the images located on the Digital Railroad servers could be permanently inaccessible."
SAA's legal chair David Sanger has also been in communications with Diablo Management, as well as Western Technology, the bank which foreclosed on DRR and is the only secured creditor. SAA is appealing to both companies to take whatever steps are necessary to afford photographers a reasonable and reliable window for transfer of their files. We have also inquired about the possibility of access to the facility to make copies of the photographer images so that they could be subsequently redistributed back to their owners.
SAA will also continue to pursue the issues of pre-paid service fees and licensing fees due. Many photographers pre-paid over $500 for a year of service, in some cases as recently as last month.
We are also exploring what options there are for photographers in tracking down and getting paid for licenses. Licenses fall in to several categories.
A. Licenses invoiced by DRR and already paid by photo buyer.
B. Licenses invoiced by DRR and not yet paid by photo buyer.
C. Licenses not yet invoiced by DRR
It's critical to get a copy of any pending DRR sales reports, including cut and paste of the sales detail pop-up window for every sale. This is essential because this provides all of the license and usage details. As soon as we have a recommended approach and some suggested language for photographers to use to follow up directly, we'll post details. Also remember that until an invoice is paid, the photo buyer doesn't actually have a copyright license to use your image.
SAA executive director
Oct, 28, 2008
Digital Railroad Shutting Soon
Today, an announcement was posted to the Digital Railroad web site that operations have shut down and the site may only be accessible for another 24 hours. Visitors to DRR.net are now greeted with this notice:
We're sorry to inform you that Digital Railroad (DRR) has shut down. On October 15th we reported that the company had reduced its staff and was aggressively pursuing additional financing and/or a strategic partner. Unfortunately, those efforts were unsuccessful. Therefore Digital Railroad has been forced to suspend all operations. This archive may only be accessible for the next 24 hours.
SAA recommends that any photographer with a DRR archive act without delay to:
SAA is greatly concerned about the status of outstanding royalties due to photographers from DRR's Marketplace stock portal, as well as the manner in which this closure has been handled, giving loyal customers no reasonable advance warning or support.
We will continue to monitor
the situation and try to assist in any way we can on behalf of
SAA executive director