From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Corbis Corporation
IndustryDigital image licensing and rights services
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington, USA
OwnersBill Gates[1]
WebsiteVeer Website
Corbis Website
Jump to: navigation, search
Corbis Corporation
IndustryDigital image licensing and rights services
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington, USA
OwnersBill Gates[1]
WebsiteVeer Website
Corbis Website

Corbis Corporation is a company based in Seattle, Washington that licenses the rights to photographs, footage and other visual media. It has a collection of more than 100 million images and 800,000 video clips.[2]

Lines of business[edit]

Image licensing and search[edit]

The company's collection includes contemporary creative, editorial, entertainment, and historical photography as well as art and illustrations. Among its acquisitions are the 11 million piece Bettmann Archive, acquired in 1995; the Sygma collection in France (1999); and the German stock image company Zefa (2005). Corbis also has the rights to digital reproduction for art from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the National Gallery in London.[3] Corbis adds hundreds of thousands of new images every year.

Corbis's collections include:

Corbis has a subsidiary, Veer, that focuses on licensing low-cost images that are crowd-sourced from photographers (microstock) around the world as well as fonts and creative merchandise.

Rights services[edit]

Corbis has a division called GreenLight that handles licensing of content, clearances, rights representation and talent negotiations. GreenLight also represents rightsholders directly, including the personality rights of Bruce Lee; Johnny Cash and June Carter; the Andy Warhol Foundation; Steve McQueen; Mae West; the Wright brothers; and Albert Einstein.[citation needed] GreenLight's rights and music clearances group will secure third-party rights to celebrity talent, music, TV and film clips, trademarks, footage, etc.

Footage licensing[edit]

Corbis has a subsidiary, Corbis Motion, that has a library of more than 800,000 video clips including contemporary collections of people and lifestyle, business, sports, travel destinations, nature, and an archival collection that covers news and events, arts and entertainment and sports. The Corbis Motion web site has advanced search, purchase, and real-time delivery options.



Corbis is privately owned by Bill Gates, who founded the company in 1989 under the name Interactive Home Systems. One major reason for starting the company was Gates's belief that people would someday decorate their homes with a revolving display of digital artwork using digital frames.[4] The company's name was changed to Continuum Productions in 1994 and to Corbis Corporation a year later. "Corbis" is Latin for "wicker basket", which at the time referred to the company's emerging view of itself as a receptacle or storehouse for visual media.

1990 to 2000[edit]

Corbis began with a goal much different from its strategy today. At its formation, Interactive Home Systems presented itself to the corporate world as an art-licensing company. Gates envisioned a system that could deliver the great art works of human history into consumers' homes, and he formed Interactive Home Systems as the company that eventually would beam the paintings of famous artists via technology that had yet to be developed. Interactive television was suggested as a way to deliver the content, but as the development of the ultimate conduit was under way, Corbis focused on digitizing content and acquiring rights to images. Corbis signed agreements with the National Gallery of London, the Library of Congress, the Sakamoto Archive, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Strategic Change in 1994 Leads to Bettmann Archive Acquisition in 1995


Corbis business-to-business image licensing business expanded with the growth of the Internet in the early part of the decade. The company also expanded geographically, making multiple acquisitions such as the Stock Market[13] and expanding into the footage licensing market with the acquisition of Sekani.



  1. ^ a b Lohr, Steve (18 Jul 2010). "In a Partnership of Unequals, a Start-Up Suffers". New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  2. ^ "Corbis History". Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  3. ^ Katie Hafner, A Photo Trove, a Mounting Challenge, The New York Times, April 10, 2007.
  4. ^ a b Hafner, Katie (10 April 2007). "A Photo Trove, a Mounting Challenge". New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  5. ^ Jesse Birnbaum; David Bjerklie; Patrick E. Cole (23 Oct 1995). "HISTORY: GATES SNAPS TOP PIX". Time. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  6. ^ Haynes, Gary. "UNDER IRON MOUNTAIN Corbis Stores "Very Important Photographs" At Zero Degrees Fahrenheit". National Press Photographer's Association. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Lohr, Steve (2 Apr 1996). "Gates Acquires Rights To Adams Photo Images". New York Times. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  8. ^ "Industry leaders join Corbis to meet growing demand for visual content". BNET. 1997. Retrieved 2014-06-15. 
  9. ^ Teather, David (8 Feb 2005). "The software billionaire's $170m sideline". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  10. ^ "Gates' Corbis Archive Acquires Digital Stock". The Seattle Times. 3 February 1998. 
  11. ^ "Outline Press Joins Corbis; Premier Celebrity Image Provider Joins Forces With Market Leader Corbis to Create World's Most Extensive Celebrity Portrait Business". Business Wire. 14 Jul 1998. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  12. ^ Balean, John (15 May 2009). "PAN Special Report: The Sygma Preservation and Access Facility". Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  13. ^ "Corbis Acquires The Stock Market Photo Agency". 22 Mar 2000. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  14. ^ "Hughes to Lead Newly Consolidated Markets and Products Group". 
  15. ^ "Corbis Opens New Film Preservation Center that Rescues and Preserves Access to America's Most Famous Images". 
  16. ^ "Corbis Acquires Zefa, Third-Largest Image Licensing Company in the World". 4 Jan 2005. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  17. ^ Ferrone, Chris (3 Oct 2006). "Corbis acquires Australian Picture Library". Retrieved 10 May 2011. [dead link]
  18. ^ "Corbis Announces New Leadership Team". [dead link]
  19. ^ "Corbis Acquires Veer". [dead link]
  20. ^ "Corbis Rebrands as "GreenLight" and signs Steve McQueen licensing deals". License! Global. 24 Jun 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2011. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Corbis Opens Sygma Preservation And Access Facility". DesignTAXI. 18 May 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Phelps, Brent (21 Jan 2009). "Corbis partners with Thought Equity Motion". Retrieved 10 May 2011. [dead link]
  23. ^ "Veer's New Website Equals Simpler Shopping, More Affordable Images & Fonts". 14 Jul 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  24. ^ Buley, Taylor (19 Jul 2010). "Start-Up Goes Public On Corbis Fraud, Starring Bill Gates". Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  25. ^ Ferrone, Chris, ""Corbis reports on 2005 Financial Performance"[dead link], About the Image, March 2006
  26. ^ Ando, Ritsuko, ""Corbis on Verge of Profitablity", Reuters Media Summit, November, 2007
  27. ^ "Corbis and Costco - See paragraph 4 about profitability", Weiss, Debra, December, 2010
  28. ^ David Walker, "[1] PDN, Jan 2011
  29. ^ La Lettre "[2] La Lettre, July 2011
  30. ^ Seattle Times "[3] Seattle Times, July 2011
  31. ^ Aug 23, 2011 - 6:00PM (2011-08-23). "The AP And Corbis Combine Image Libraries In Distribution Deal — paidContent". Retrieved 2012-08-17. [dead link]
  32. ^ New York Times "* January 2012 : New York Times, January 2012
  33. ^ John Cook, Bill Gates-owned Corbis faces $12.75M in damages in fraud case, GeekWire, May 16, 2012.
  34. ^ Natalie Apostolou, Gates' Corbis busted again for fraud, The Register, May 16, 2012.
  35. ^
  36. ^ Appellate Court Ruling, Jan 2013.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°36′12″N 122°20′00″W / 47.603365°N 122.333354°W / 47.603365; -122.333354