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Camera-phone toting commuters and tourists can now consider themselves the equal of Capa, Cartier-Bresson and Bailey, with a newly-launched online photo agency pledging to turn your pixels into pounds.

Scoopt aims to take advantage of the huge proliferation of digital cameras and camera phones, to broker professional syndication deals between 'right-place-right-time' amateur photographers and newspaper picture desks.

It might seem horrendously opportunistic, given recent events in London, but the site was actually registered back in April, so things have obviously been in the pipeline for a while. The service originally "soft launched" on 4 July, but for rather obvious reasons, kept a fairly low profile immediately after this.

Still, the site's founder does note the importance of amateur photography in the unfolding coverage of the attacks on London:

"The shocking events in London on 7th and 21st July brought citizen journalism into sudden, sharp focus, demonstrating once and for all that images taken by members of the public can be startling and evocative," says Kyle McRae. "Citizen journalism is here to stay and set to change the nature of news."

Apart from dubbing it Citizen Journalism, which for some reason has made all of us wage-slaves at el Reg feel a little less special, we think we know what he means.

The service works as follows: Scoopt members own the copyright to their photographs, and will be paid 50 per cent of each and every licensing and syndication deal. Scoopt asks members to agree to a three month exclusive license of the picture, to allow them to negotiate the best possible deal.

It says this approach is in direct contrast to signing over universal copyright in exchange for a one-off flat fee, which is what usually happens when a member of the public tries to sell directly to a picture desk.

The company also has a strong internal editorial policy governing what it will and will not handle (covered briefly in the Ts&Cs, and in more detail in guides provided to members only). It also says it insists on full, legally binding, disclosure from the photographer about each submitted picture. ®

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