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Author Topic: Agenices views on stock photos of people on erotica books  (Read 11168 times)

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« on: February 04, 2014, 13:49 »
+12
I don't know if you have noticed, but the e-book industry have exploded the last year or so. Selfpublished authors are growing in numbers and the "erotica" genre is huge. Just on Amazon there are over 150 000 titles in that genre and that is just  one of the venues where the books are sold. Many of these self published authors are using micro stock photos on their covers. I have come across some pretty disturbing examples on how images of mine are being used on covers lately. And it is not just the "romance with an erotic twist" either, it is pretty hardcore stuff. Titles like "big c*cks in every h*ole" type of thing, and it is not only images of models in lingerie for example, some are just portraits of fully dressed normal girls where the author have put in hardcore titles. To me this is a clear violation of the license terms where it usually says that images cannot be used in pornographic or defamatory uses.

After been contacting a few authors about this I got the feeling that some of them where convinced that this would be an ok usage. I got curious and
sent an e-mail to all micro stock agencies asking about their view about this. I did not say that I was a contributor. I wanted to hear what they would say to an image buyer. I just asked if it would be ok to use a stock photo from their agency on an erotica book.

Shutterstock, Fotolia, Dreamstime, Envato, Canstockphoto and 123rf all replied that this was not an allowed usage according to their license terms.

Depositphotos, however said that it was totally ok with them, that they did not consider erotica books to be pornography.

So you might want to reconsider putting RF people images for sale on Depositphotos.


Edit: After being in contact with Depositphotos again, we have received a different response. After reviewing some examples of covers that we sent them, the management/CEO has informed us that this is not an approved use according to their license terms. Photos from Depositphotos can not be used on erotica.
I am glad that all micro stock agencies share this view, they just need to be better informing the buyers about this now.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2014, 06:08 by lars »


Goofy

« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2014, 13:55 »
+9
one more reason to do less people shots and more still life shots...

« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2014, 14:20 »
+1
That is why i have trouble getting shoots with young kids. I tell the parents about the restricted use rights but mention that nobody can really control how they might be used.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2014, 15:02 »
+1
@OP - did you try asking iS? There was someone on here last year who claimed iS had told them this sort of use was OK, but we only had their word for that and it would certainly seem to be against their T&C, particularly if the context of the photo was not 'erotic'.

« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2014, 15:20 »
+2
No, sorry, didn't ask Istock since I don't contribute to them.

Got a reply from Alamy too now, and they are ok with that use just like Depositphotos. Did not expect that. I thought they were one of the "good guys" :-/

Im glad all the other agencies were very clear about that they did not allow the use though.at least something.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2014, 15:32 »
0
Got a reply from Alamy too now, and they are ok with that use just like Depositphotos. Did not expect that. I thought they were one of the "good guys" :-/

I'd heard that Alamy's uses were looser than most Micros (and I have read that Getty is looser too) but I'd never looked as I don't have models.

However, I just found this on Alamy's page explaining releases:
Times when you need to be extra careful when a standard release may not be enough
Releases generally don't allow uses that could be deemed to be controversial, sensitive or defamatory. You should avoid the following uses and seek legal advice:
    Defamation of character or business embellishment, distortion or fictionalization of a person's character or corporation's image.
    Sensationalized use a use intended to distort the truth of an image or video clip.
    Sensitive use a 3rd party may have signed a release but may not consent to their likeness or property being used for a sensitive issue subject.
http://www.alamy.com//customer/help/releases.asp

Anyway, I must be blind, as I can't even find an Alamy model release to check the wording. I'd expect to find a link from this page, but I'm not seeing it:
http://www.alamy.com/contributor/help/image-releases.asp



« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2014, 15:53 »
+1
Alamy doesn't agree that erotica is pornography and recommend uploading as RM and set "sensitive use" as restriction for future uploads if there is a concern.



« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2014, 16:24 »
+12
The agencies should actually make a special category, with special releases for this kind of usage.

« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2014, 16:35 »
+2
Yes, pretty much all the standard releases have a wording that reads that images cannot be used in pornography or defamatory uses. That is what the model have signed. Try to explain to that model afterwards that the book with the undertitle "taboo sex", "rape fantasies" or "gangbang fantasies" on which she  on the cover of, displayed for the whole world on amazon.com, is not considered "pornographic" by the image agency. This is huge problems waiting to happen and it is not that agency who will be the punching bag. At least not initially  :-\

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2014, 16:52 »
0
Alamy doesn't agree that erotica is pornography  ...
Still, it "could be deemed to be controversial, sensitive or defamatory", in their words.

« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2014, 23:12 »
-1
Written erotic fiction isn't the same as a visual porn magazine or website, which is why many agencies don't see erotica as porn.

On author forums and websites, I've seen agency responses reported as basically, "don't make it look like the model on the cover is anything but an illustrative image." I guess it would help authors if they put a disclaimer to that effect. However, most people have common sense and know the model on the book cover isn't actually being taken by dinosaurs for sexytimes:

http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/10/qa-the-women-who-write-dinosaur-erotica.html

http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/10-real-book-covers-from-dinosaur-on-human-sex-novels/

These books were all over the American news a few months ago. Notice how these are just swimsuit shots. I did warn in a thread months ago that authors are now choosing less raunchy photos so their books will show up in basic search results. (Raunchy book covers will only show up in a specific kindle search.) So, yeah a model posing for a business or glam shot might show up on dino porn. Photographers need to perhaps hire models who understand this.

And photographers, please don't assume a picture on Amazon is automatically in violation of a license agreement, and then go straight to Amazon claiming copyright violation. I've seen many reports of this on author forums, and frankly, I don't think the practice is ethical.

In the cases I've seen, Amazon assumes the copyright claim means the picture was stolen (this is the unethical part because the photographer is claiming something that isn't true), and takes it down. The author then has to prove the picture was indeed licensed, losing income and book rank in the process. Once Amazon gets proof that a license was purchased, it puts the book back. The most a photographer can gain from this is that maybe the author will change the cover anyway (which I have seen).

If you see an image use you don't like, do the honest thing, and find out which agency the image was bought from, and then report it to that agency.  As we've seen in this thread, different agencies have different ideas about what is allowed. Don't assume.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 21:11 by Ava Glass »

« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2014, 23:34 »
0

After been contacting a few authors about this I got the feeling that some of them where convinced that this would be an ok usage. I got curious and
sent an e-mail to all micro stock agencies asking about their view about this. I did not say that I was a contributor. I wanted to hear what they would say to an image buyer. I just asked if it would be ok to use a stock photo from their agency on an erotica book.

Shutterstock, Fotolia, dreamstime, envato and 123rf all replied that this was not an allowed usage according to their license terms.

Depositphotos, however said that it was totally ok with them, that they did not consider erotica books to be pornography.

So you might want to reconsider putting RF people images for sale on Depositphotos.

Can I ask how you exactly phrased the question? I've learned this is important when asking agencies questions. Did you perhaps provide links to example books on Amazon? This would probably be the best way to ask if a usage is permitted.

I ask because 123rf doesn't allow ebook covers under their SLs at all, and I read that the Fifty Shades of Grey tie was from Dreamstime. Also, lots of authors have asked agencies about erotica, and reported different answers.

Basically, the term someone wants to use is "erotic novels" and not "porn" because they're not the same.

« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2014, 02:08 »
+1
Written erotic fiction isn't the same as a visual porn magazine or website, which is why many agencies don't see erotica as porn.

On author forums and websites, I've seen agency responses reported as basically, "don't make it look like the model on the cover is anything but an illustrative image." I guess it would help authors if they put a disclaimer to that effect. However, most people have common sense and know the model on the book cover isn't actually being taken by dinosaurs for sexytimes:

http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/10/qa-the-women-who-write-dinosaur-erotica.html

http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/10-real-book-covers-from-dinosaur-on-human-sex-novels/

These books were all over the American news a few months ago. Notice how these are just swimsuit shots. I did warn in a thread months ago that authors are now choosing less raunchy photos so their books will show up in basic search results. (Raunchy book covers will only show up in a specific kindle search.) So, yeah a model posing for a business or glam shot might show up on dino porn. Photographers need to perhaps hire models who understand this.

And photographers, please don't assume a picture on Amazon is automatically in violation of a license agreement, and then go straight to Amazon claiming copyright violation. I've seen many reports of this on author forums, and frankly, I don't think the practice is ethical.

In the cases I've seen, Amazon assumes the copyright claim means the picture was stolen (this is the unethical part because the photographer is calming something that isn't true), and takes it down. The author then has to prove the picture was indeed licensed, losing income and book rank in the process. Once Amazon gets proof that a license was purchased, it puts the book back. The most a photographer can gain from this is that maybe the author will change the cover anyway (which I have seen).

If you see an image use you don't like, do the honest thing, and find out which agency the image was bought from, and then report it to that agency.  As we've seen in this thread, different agencies have different ideas about what is allowed. Don't assume.


The problem is that there isn't a publisher to contact. Often the author is the publisher and it is impossible to reach him/her. No contact info and often a pseudonym. Amazon is the only place that has the contact info. You cannot find out where the image has been licensed unless you contact Amazon. Misuse of an image is a kind of copyright infringement, but you should of course explain the situation and not claim that the image is stolen.


My question to the agencies were simple. "Can i purhase an image and put it on a cover of a e-book in the erotica genre?
I did not say porn, i only asked about erotica. The answer was crystal clear from most of the agencies. No, that is not allowed. Depositphotos and Alamy were the only agencies that allowed it.

« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2014, 02:57 »
-1

The problem is that there isn't a publisher to contact. Often the author is the publisher and it is impossible to reach him/her. No contact info and often a pseudonym. Amazon is the only place that has the contact info. You cannot find out where the image has been licensed unless you contact Amazon. Misuse of an image is a kind of copyright infringement, but you should of course explain the situation and not claim that the image is stolen.

Or claim a license violation right away. Photographers should get the contact info from Amazon citing a "possible violation," and then (providing the author is forthcoming with license info) confirm with the stock agency.

My question to the agencies were simple. "Can i purhase an image and put it on a cover of a e-book in the erotica genre?
I did not say porn, i only asked about erotica. The answer was crystal clear from most of the agencies. No, that is not allowed. Depositphotos and Alamy were the only agencies that allowed it.

That's really interesting, because "erotica genre" includes many classy books put out by big publishers. There's also "erotic romance," which is the genre term for the "romance with an erotic twist" you mentioned in your OP.  Those books can also be interpreted as "erotica" by someone who doesn't know the difference.

Really, this is just another example of stock agencies not keeping up with the changes in publishing. Why should we have to ask whether an agency considers premade book covers SL or EL, or whether erotic fiction is porn or not? It should be spelled out clearly in the license agreements.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 03:15 by Ava Glass »

Ron

« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2014, 03:40 »
0
Interesting discussion

« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2014, 04:28 »
0
I totally agree. Every time I have contacted an author,  escort agency, sex dating site or whoever have misused images, they all said that they have acted in good faith. They have been under the impression that they can use stock photos however they want as long as print run is not exeeded. That seems to be the general understanding. Most of them havent even seen or read the licence terms. Can't really say that the agencies are very helpful in these matters either. Their main focus is selling images and make profit, not going after "tiny" issues like this. If you are lucky you get a reply that they will look into it, and then nothing happens. It pretty much up to the photographer to deal with it and thats both time consuming and difficult. I have started to remove most of my people shots because of this. It is just not worth the trouble...

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2014, 05:46 »
+1
However, most people have common sense and know the model on the book cover isn't actually being taken by dinosaurs for sexytimes:
However, most people outwith stock assume that any model has consented to that particular usage - 'most people' don't have a clue about stock and assume that someone turns up 'fully informed' to model for a particular shoot, as with a traditional model agency.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 06:20 by ShadySue »


ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2014, 05:50 »
+1
Photographers need to perhaps hire models who understand this.
That would vastly decrease the number of images available for non-erotic uses.
There should be a separate model release that a model who is OK with this can sign, and these images could be made available at a premium price.
SS has a version of this, but they have a frankly ridiculous model where either all your photos have to be 'in' or all out.

Anyway, as others have said, I'm glad I don't use models.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2014, 06:21 »
0
Most of them havent even seen or read the licence terms.
[OT] So imagine how many ELs we're losing.  >:( :'(

« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2014, 06:25 »
+3
I never agreed to join Deposit Photos even when they sent personal invitations several times. I did this because of their background (suspicious warez sites).
I was just thinking on to change my mind and join them next time they invite me. I am glad I didn't yet.
Thanks for the very useful post Lars!

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2014, 06:30 »
0
Alamy doesn't agree that erotica is pornography and recommend uploading as RM and set "sensitive use" as restriction for future uploads if there is a concern.
Ah, that makes sense, thanks for that extra info; although if an image is RF at another agency, it can't be RM on Alamy, which could be a problem for some contributors.

Anyone know where Alamy's model release is found?

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2014, 07:30 »
0
Why should we have to ask whether an agency considers premade book covers SL or EL, or whether erotic fiction is porn or not? It should be spelled out clearly in the license agreements.
Usually it is, with 'sensitive use' often the term used, rather than porn.
It's the buyer's duty to check the terms of use and adhere to them.

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2014, 07:37 »
0
I never agreed to join Deposit Photos even when they sent personal invitations several times. I did this because of their background (suspicious warez sites).
I was just thinking on to change my mind and join them next time they invite me. I am glad I didn't yet.
Thanks for the very useful post Lars!


I ust checked DepositPhoto's licence restrictions, and they say:
"Under NO circumstances can Files be used for the following purposes:
To show a person depicted in the file in sensitive scenarios that could reasonably be considered offensive or unflattering to that person (e.g., related to mental and physical deficits, sexual or implied sexual activity or preferences, crime, physical or mental abuse or ailments)"
http://submit.depositphotos.com/license.html
I'd think then that them allowing the files to be used in certain of the types of titles mentioned in the OP could be asking for legal trouble.

« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2014, 08:45 »
+2
I actually replied to depositphotos answer and pointed out that paragraph and ask them if they were 100% sure. It seemed strange to me and wanted to make sure  it wasnt a standard reply and that they had fully understood my question.

I got a reply back that they were 100% sure. They did not consider erotica books pornography.

So there you go. There are many things to consider when choosing who to work with. Commissions is just one part...

I am glad that some agencies were really clear that they did not allow such use. Some even highlighted the "YOU CAN NEVER" part. Envato  said that a written permission from the photographer to the buyer in such cases were needed.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 08:48 by lars »

Ron

« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2014, 08:48 »
+2
Pornography and sexual or implied sexual activity or preferences are different things, but their licenses says its not allowed in the context you describe in your OP. I would ask for a second opinion or write their legal department.

abuse@depositphotos.com


 

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