Digital Railroad (DRR.net) Bites the Dust

Ouch. Further attrition hits the photo news today as Digital Railroad announces it is shutting its doors. Speculation that this was going to occur has been widely reported within the industry, but today this notice appeared at www.DRR.net:

October 28, 2008

To our valued Members and Partners:

We deeply regret 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 close all operations.

Digital Railroad has attracted a loyal set of customers and partners, and we regret this unfortunate outcome. Without sufficient long-term financial support, the business had become unsustainable.

Thank you for allowing us to serve the photographic community these past few years.

All questions pertaining to claims should be addressed to:

Digital Railroad, Inc
c/o Diablo Management Group
1452 N. Vasco Road, #301
Livermore, CA 94551

Very sad news indeed. I had some good friends over there that have driven that bus for a while – time to call them up and buy them a stiff drink. Of course this comes on the heels of Photoshelter’s pull back from the licensing marketplace last month. This double whammy is sad news – two outfits that were doing a good job gunning for photographers, now down the tube.

While there is no “twist” to this story in the classic sense, keep in mind that the sky is not falling. Yes, the economy is tough. But for artists, this is a reminder that over time capitalism rolls up and aggregates the creation and distribution of commodities. Solution: work to create images that are not (yet?) commodified. Find your own voice and shout it out loud.

Those that want more nuts and bolts or have accounts with DRR.net (update: want to get my true feelings on this whole matter…) should read on after the jump…

The SAA recommends that any photographers that stored archives on DRR.net take the following steps:

-Ensure that all of your files and data are backed up.

-Download all details of licenses made with outstanding royalties due.

-Download a list of all registered users who have accessed your Archive.

-Check that any monthly or annual fees do not continue to be billed to your credit card.

They’ve also said: “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 photographers.”

I hope that DRR will do a respectable job of tidying up their obligations to photographers.

Update: signs point to DRR doing a horrendous job tidying up. I’m so disappointed. 24 hours for photographers to get their images down? Hellllloooo? Server trouble, bandwidth, missing payments? Make a freaking announcment or two, would ya? It’s no wonder that the company that acquired them for the parsing our of their assets is called Diablo Management… The devil is at it again.

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