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Author Topic: Open letter to "artists" who copy my work  (Read 17542 times)

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Semmick Photo

« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2015, 18:12 »
+1
I can  see the problem. Did I say i didn't? I agree with Mike fully. I  just wanted to understand the difference between copying vectors and photos.


« Reply #26 on: February 11, 2015, 19:08 »
+4
I can  see the problem. Did I say i didn't? I agree with Mike fully. I  just wanted to understand the difference between copying vectors and photos.

Conversation that inspires clarity to larger numbers of contributors is good for all of us.

No Free Lunch

« Reply #27 on: February 11, 2015, 21:54 »
0
Here is what would happen if I were to send a letter to someone that copied my best images-

Yes, I did copy your image but I feel my image is now better than yours  8)

« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2015, 18:32 »
+16
If anyone reading this happens to be in the business of copying other peoples' work, or even being just a bit too inspired by other artists' work, consider this:

Shutterstock, the top company that everyone wants to be in business with, has an absolute zero-tolerance policy regarding infringement. If your account gets shut down, it's over, there is no coming back, no account reinstatement, nothing. You're done there, forever. I've been told that when SS became a publicly-traded company, they really ramped up their infringement enforcement and adopted this "no 2nd chances" policy. Previously, I know of at least one case where someone who had their account shut down got it reinstated, which I personally thought was odd since it was a really clear-cut case of copying. But in any case, back then SS was a little more forgiving. Today, it's a different story. 

Knowing that this is how they operate, I'll at least try to contact a copycat directly first and discuss the matter. But if you don't respond, I don't have much other choice than to report it. And like the case today I had to deal with, SS will shut down your account in a matter of hours, and that's it. It's over. Sorry. Those 900+ images you uploaded? Waste of time, I guess. But that's how it goes when you don't do original work.

If you have copied or overly-inspired images in your portfolio, delete them now while you still can. Otherwise you will get caught, and the penalty from companies like SS is severe.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2015, 04:18 »
+4
What about cliches? The concepts that everyone does?

The business handshake, the flag on face, the fish from the bowl, etc, stuff that has been around for years and years?

What if the first person ever to shoot the business handshake was to report all others after him?

What if two persons got to the same idea, without ever having seen the other's portfolio?


« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2015, 07:44 »
+11
What about cliches? The concepts that everyone does?

The business handshake, the flag on face, the fish from the bowl, etc, stuff that has been around for years and years?

What if the first person ever to shoot the business handshake was to report all others after him?

What if two persons got to the same idea, without ever having seen the other's portfolio?

The handshakes, fishbowls, etc, those are broader ideas. No one can own the idea of a handshake.

Even with the possibility of two people thinking up the same idea without knowing about each other's work, if it's something so generic that two people could accidentally create the same image, it's not a protected idea then.

I think these companies have seen enough of this to know what to look for and how to spot a true copy from an accidentally duplicated idea. In vectors it's very common for people to have similar ideas. If you work in icons, for example, there are only so many ways to represent a house, a bike, a computer screen, etc., in icon form. For sure some people will have common ideas about what those things should look like as icons.

I think companies also look for patterns of behavior. A copycat rarely copies just one thing. They'll have other things in their portfolio that are suspect. The one I reported yesterday had several images that were copies of mine, as well as numerous others that looked suspiciously like stuff I've seen from other contributors. Two people having the same idea for one image, that could be chalked up to coincidence. One contributor having the same ideas as a few other contributors and doing it often, that's extremely suspect.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2015, 08:50 »
+2
Makes sense, thanks for the explanation Mike. I appreciate your input here and on the SS forum.

« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2015, 10:25 »
+7
What about cliches? The concepts that everyone does?

The business handshake, the flag on face, the fish from the bowl, etc, stuff that has been around for years and years?


Was fish jumping from a bowl a clich until people starting stealing the concept ? I would love to know who came up with that first.

I never saw the face flag overlay thing done as a complete series before duncan1890 did it at iStock before the 2006 World Cup. I reckon that most people doing those today were either directly or indirectly inspired by his work (actual paint on faces is obviously a sport fan thing and is very different).

Early handshake stock:

« Last Edit: February 13, 2015, 10:37 by bunhill »

« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2015, 11:56 »
+3
I never saw the face flag overlay thing done as a complete series before duncan1890 did it at iStock before the 2006 World Cup. I reckon that most people doing those today were either directly or indirectly inspired by his work (actual paint on faces is obviously a sport fan thing and is very different).
The face flags were the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread.  There was obviously some "inspiration" involved.

ruxpriencdiam

    This user is banned.
  • Location. Third stone from the sun
« Reply #34 on: February 13, 2015, 17:49 »
-2
Aleksandar

« Reply #35 on: February 13, 2015, 19:14 »
+4
This has been a major problem with microstock from the beginning. There's little you can do about it because its like wackamole. You swat one guy down and two more pop up.

« Reply #36 on: February 13, 2015, 21:00 »
+1
Was fish jumping from a bowl a clich until people starting stealing the concept ? I would love to know who came up with that first.
Interesting question. The first person I remember getting big sales with versions of that was Lise Gagne on IS.

I wonder how many of the iconic stock images - ones from which so many derivations have originated - we could trace back to their original creators. 

« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2015, 05:11 »
+1
Was fish jumping from a bowl a clich until people starting stealing the concept ? I would love to know who came up with that first.
Interesting question. The first person I remember getting big sales with versions of that was Lise Gagne on IS.

That is also how I remember it. (I also have the impression that there is a whole look and feel which either started with her -- or certainly that was the first place I saw it).

Back to the fish - I think that there may have been some either British or European (possibly cigarette) advertising in the 70s or 80s which might have used this concept or something similar. Possibly from whichever agency was behind the surrealistic stuff which Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut were using in that era. I might not be exactly right but I think I am in the right area.

Maybe Shelma1 would know.

Shelma1

« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2015, 05:23 »
+3
I remember ads with fish jumping out of fishbowls from waaaaay before the days of iStock. "A fish out of water" is an old idiom. There's nothing new under the sun.

« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2015, 05:37 »
0
I remember ads with fish jumping out of fishbowls from waaaaay before the days of iStock. "A fish out of water" is an old idiom. There's nothing new under the sun.

It would be great if you could dig up a specific example done in that style. Because I can picture it in my mind - I think I have seen it - but I cannot find an example. Which makes me wonder whether I am mis-remembering.

Semmick Photo

« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2015, 06:03 »
0
To me, as a late comer, they are all cliches. I started in stock in 2012 and fish in a bowl, flags on faces, handshake, white puppets with puzzle pieces, girl with headset, Keyboard in shallow dof, etc, etc all that were cliches.

« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2015, 06:12 »
0

If you have copied or overly-inspired images in your portfolio, delete them now while you still can. Otherwise you will get caught, and the penalty from companies like SS is severe.


Agreed...but curious to know what is the penalty?


P.S. and this "scam" still going on (apparently) -

http://turnkeypublisher.com/2011/06/27/beware-of-stock-photo-entrapment-extortion-scam/

http://www.zyra.info/getstu.htm
« Last Edit: February 14, 2015, 15:00 by KnowYourOnions »


Shelma1

« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2015, 06:14 »
+1
I remember ads with fish jumping out of fishbowls from waaaaay before the days of iStock. "A fish out of water" is an old idiom. There's nothing new under the sun.

It would be great if you could dig up a specific example done in that style. Because I can picture it in my mind - I think I have seen it - but I cannot find an example. Which makes me wonder whether I am mis-remembering.

I wish I could too. The idea has been done to death. I remember an ad with the fish jumping towards something better...Perrier? Vodka? But every iteration of a fish in a fishbowl or jumping out of a fishbowl has been covered, with McDonalds recently doing a sandwich-shaped fishbowl for filet of fish and a glass cleaner ad with a fish wearing a helmet (glass so clean he keeps bumping against it).

« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2015, 12:39 »
+1
Was fish jumping from a bowl a clich until people starting stealing the concept ? I would love to know who came up with that first.
Interesting question. The first person I remember getting big sales with versions of that was Lise Gagne on IS.

That is also how I remember it. (I also have the impression that there is a whole look and feel which either started with her -- or certainly that was the first place I saw it).

Back to the fish - I think that there may have been some either British or European (possibly cigarette) advertising in the 70s or 80s which might have used this concept or something similar. Possibly from whichever agency was behind the surrealistic stuff which Benson & Hedges and Silk Cut were using in that era. I might not be exactly right but I think I am in the right area.

Maybe Shelma1 would know.
Agreed. There was something with goldfish back then. Colour supplement type advertising IIRC.
It's itching in the back of my brain!

« Reply #44 on: February 14, 2015, 15:26 »
0

If you have copied or overly-inspired images in your portfolio, delete them now while you still can. Otherwise you will get caught, and the penalty from companies like SS is severe.

Agreed...but curious to know what is the penalty?

It varies from company to company, but at Shutterstock, it's permanent account closure. You can never again be a contributor. At least as far as I understand the policy. From what I've been told, if you're caught copying even a single image, your account is shut down and there is pretty much zero chance you will get it reinstated.

I don't know if that's "official" policy, but from what I've been told, Shutterstock has dramatically ratcheted up their response to infringements since becoming a publicly-traded company. They don't want contributors on board who aren't doing 100% original work.

I know to some it sounds kind of silly that a "severe penalty" is getting your account shut down. But for someone what was making decent money at this, and especially at a place like Shutterstock which is now pretty much a must-have agency in any contributor's portfolio of companies they work with, getting that permanent ban is brutal. You're done at that point, no coming back.

And it doesn't matter if someone only copied 1 image and had 9,999 legitimately original ones. Just for that one shortcut they took, that 1 instance where someone decided to just trace another contributor's icon or graphic or whatever, all of that original work is now basically worthless if you can never find a good place to sell it again.

« Reply #45 on: February 14, 2015, 21:30 »
+2

If you have copied or overly-inspired images in your portfolio, delete them now while you still can. Otherwise you will get caught, and the penalty from companies like SS is severe.

Agreed...but curious to know what is the penalty?

It varies from company to company, but at Shutterstock, it's permanent account closure. You can never again be a contributor. At least as far as I understand the policy. From what I've been told, if you're caught copying even a single image, your account is shut down and there is pretty much zero chance you will get it reinstated.

I don't know if that's "official" policy, but from what I've been told, Shutterstock has dramatically ratcheted up their response to infringements since becoming a publicly-traded company. They don't want contributors on board who aren't doing 100% original work.

I know to some it sounds kind of silly that a "severe penalty" is getting your account shut down. But for someone what was making decent money at this, and especially at a place like Shutterstock which is now pretty much a must-have agency in any contributor's portfolio of companies they work with, getting that permanent ban is brutal. You're done at that point, no coming back.

And it doesn't matter if someone only copied 1 image and had 9,999 legitimately original ones. Just for that one shortcut they took, that 1 instance where someone decided to just trace another contributor's icon or graphic or whatever, all of that original work is now basically worthless if you can never find a good place to sell it again.

Account closure doesn't stop anyone from opening another one or submitting to another agency. These guys are not genuine contributors and they are doing this to quickly make some money.
In other words, this will happen again and again until agencies start taking serious measures and prosecute these crooks or at least give massive support to us to do it.

Why they don't publicly name and shame them, I always wondered? Probably cos they don't want bad publicity.
AND once image is sold (if you ever find that out), what do they do with buyers...like this recent case below?

vceinc 30 Jan 2015 17:55
"By the way, I'm still waiting to hear from you guys regarding the three clips that were uploaded and sold from my film "Trinity and Beyond" on Pond5 by another seller without permission. You've acknowledged it, you've removed the clips, now make it right by letting the folks who purchased these clips that they are not Royalty Free or PD."

« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2015, 08:54 »
+1
Account closure doesn't stop anyone from opening another one or submitting to another agency...

Maybe true some places. But Shutterstock is really strict about it. I think they have ways of knowing if it's the same person trying to set up a new account. It's easy to blacklist an IP address, email address, and you have to submit personally identifying information in order to get paid, so unless you can fake an entirely new identity, it's not so easy.

Of the many people I've seen banned for copying my work, I have yet to find images from any of them back on the site later on.

« Reply #47 on: February 15, 2015, 16:23 »
0
Account closure doesn't stop anyone from opening another one or submitting to another agency...

Maybe true some places. But Shutterstock is really strict about it. I think they have ways of knowing if it's the same person trying to set up a new account. It's easy to blacklist an IP address, email address, and you have to submit personally identifying information in order to get paid, so unless you can fake an entirely new identity, it's not so easy.

Of the many people I've seen banned for copying my work, I have yet to find images from any of them back on the site later on.

Glad to hear!
Have they been sold too? If so, did you get any compensation from SS?

« Reply #48 on: February 16, 2015, 19:22 »
0
Glad to hear!
Have they been sold too? If so, did you get any compensation from SS?

I've never been compensated, and I neither expect to be nor would I say that any agency can or should compensate people for sales of stolen images. It's too complicated to do. Especially with vectors. In the latest case, there were images that used some of my designs as well as those by other artists, all in the same file. There's no way to really dish out compensation to artists when it's so hard to even determine what percentage of a sale of a single image would go to which artists whose work was copied in that image. 

I'd love to be compensated but it's not realistic to expect agencies to do this. I'm just happy to see the infringing images removed.


 

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