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Author Topic: Google Images' new layout - how this impacts photographers and webmasters  (Read 25980 times)

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aspp

« Reply #100 on: February 06, 2013, 12:38 »
+1
On your second point, subscriptions are low enough and royalties are low enough.  How much less would you be happy receiving for smaller images, maybe 3 cents an image for blog sized sales?

I agree that prices and royalties are too low. I would put prices up and call them the same or less.

I would be subtle about adjusting prices. The subscription prices would not essentially change. A regular subscription would be branded as a web use subscription. Same prices but access only to web sized versions. Perhaps even a slight reduction or maybe a few more images for the same price to sweeten it.

The prices for access to all sizes would also stay the same for the beginning - but the amount of content offered would be reduced. Call it premium. Many do not use their quota anyhow.

« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 12:42 by aspp »


« Reply #101 on: February 06, 2013, 12:54 »
-6
Small copyright claims won't work... remember, you're going to court over a 10 cent image. You might be awarded $10 in damages...

I think in the long run it'll just make stock photographers look even more like a bunch of whiners stuck in the 90s as trying to sue or legislate your way to success is not exactly a good way to build a reputation in any industry.

lisafx

« Reply #102 on: February 06, 2013, 13:34 »
+3
Small copyright claims won't work... remember, you're going to court over a 10 cent image. You might be awarded $10 in damages...

I think in the long run it'll just make stock photographers look even more like a bunch of whiners stuck in the 90s as trying to sue or legislate your way to success is not exactly a good way to build a reputation in any industry.

Seriously?  "Reputation"?  So we should sit back and let people infringe upon our copyrights with impunity because we might get a bad "reputation" as "a bunch of whiners"?  Oh, heaven forbid!   ::)

If anything creatives selling through the agencies are getting a reputation as a bunch of pushovers.  Standing up to protect our copyrights can only HELP our "reputation". 

WarrenPrice

« Reply #103 on: February 06, 2013, 15:00 »
0
Small copyright claims won't work... remember, you're going to court over a 10 cent image. You might be awarded $10 in damages...

I think in the long run it'll just make stock photographers look even more like a bunch of whiners stuck in the 90s as trying to sue or legislate your way to success is not exactly a good way to build a reputation in any industry.

Seriously?  "Reputation"?  So we should sit back and let people infringe upon our copyrights with impunity because we might get a bad "reputation" as "a bunch of whiners"?  Oh, heaven forbid!   ::)

If anything creatives selling through the agencies are getting a reputation as a bunch of pushovers.  Standing up to protect our copyrights can only HELP our "reputation".

I think his point about the value is valid.  "Reputation" was a secondary comment.  Can you really afford to sue someone over a few dollars?  Not many of us can.
As for doing nothing ... maybe a class action suite.  I doubt, however, that any of us will follow through on that.

« Reply #104 on: February 06, 2013, 15:14 »
+2
Value should not play into the penalty. Shoplifting carries the same penalty whether it is a bottle of nail polish or a $200 pair of tennis shoes: prosecution. If prosecution was the penalty, as it is with shoplifting, it would curb image theft and solve the problem of the copyright holder paying legal fees associated with civil suits.

« Reply #105 on: February 06, 2013, 17:55 »
+2
Small copyright claims won't work... remember, you're going to court over a 10 cent image. You might be awarded $10 in damages...

I think in the long run it'll just make stock photographers look even more like a bunch of whiners stuck in the 90s as trying to sue or legislate your way to success is not exactly a good way to build a reputation in any industry.

Seriously?  "Reputation"?  So we should sit back and let people infringe upon our copyrights with impunity because we might get a bad "reputation" as "a bunch of whiners"?  Oh, heaven forbid!   ::)

If anything creatives selling through the agencies are getting a reputation as a bunch of pushovers.  Standing up to protect our copyrights can only HELP our "reputation".

I think his point about the value is valid.  "Reputation" was a secondary comment.  Can you really afford to sue someone over a few dollars?  Not many of us can.
As for doing nothing ... maybe a class action suite.  I doubt, however, that any of us will follow through on that.

It should be the responsibility of the agencies to go after those people using un-licensed images.

I personally have very differing experiences.
I have reported several usages of images with agency watermarks on them to different agencies. With the usual micros (123RF, Dreamstime) the most I ever got was a response that they will look into it. In some cases the images disappeared from the respective websites later. In some cases not.

In contrast, I found one of my images on the web with the watermark of a German midstock agency. I contacted them, they forwarded that to a lawyer they work with, and several weeks later the wrote me that they received close to 300 Euros as payment from the lawyer (so his costs must have been deducted already) which they shared with me according to the usual split (50/50).
Their prices are around 30 Euro for a full-sized image, around 3 Euro for a web-sized image.

I only wish all agencies would act like that...

« Reply #106 on: February 06, 2013, 18:02 »
0
Most photographers here don't have big enough portfolios. Copyright "trolling" for lack of better word works with large numbers - they usually intimidate people to pay up and very rarely go to court. For enough people that would get intimidated and pay you have to have quite large number of people to go after. Apart from Getty which already is involved in this I know a number of other smaller agencies that also work with "copyright protection" companies. It doesn't matter if the image is exclusive or not - if the person actually purchased the image, they can provide a proof of purchase and that's would be the end of it. If the image is stolen, then the unpaid royalties are up for taking by whatever agency (or their copyright lawyers) found the infringement.  There is an opinion right now that you can brush off "copyright trolls" since they won't take you to court -  it's too expensive - but this is changing, small copyright claims will become cheaper and easier, at least in US: http://www.copyrightalliance.org/2013/01/copyright_and_113th_congress#.UQjd9R2E2nO


Speaking of trying to intimidate people...at work, we are getting ready to move into new quarters while our new building is being built. The guy in the next cube over was going through his filed paperwork, sorting what he wanted to take with him. He pulled out two letters from Getty Images. These were dated a couple of years ago, before I worked there. Apparently the artist had grabbed an image (probably from Google) and used it on our website. Getty wrote a legal-looking letter, saying the image must come down or that my company should send six hundred and some dollars for the use. (Really...for a web image?) A second letter came a couple of months later. The letters were just a bunch of hot air. Our company never paid and Getty never followed up. To be fair, the artist should NOT have used the image. He took it down when the letters were received, but that's as far as it went.

Coming from the other side of the coin, I am very sensitive to copyrights. I hope a small claims solution becomes available for contributors, but I hope that the process will net results and not just be a bunch of hot air that only wastes contributors time, the court's time, with no followup for payment.

« Reply #107 on: February 06, 2013, 20:22 »
+2
We have experienced the same massive drop in traffic at Warmpicture.

The honest truth is, if this continues we will not be able to survive much longer. It is a travesty. We went cash flow positive just a few months ago, and now this. Over and over, it always seems to be Google which is responsible for throwing roadblocks in our way.

In the end, I guarantee that the antitrust suits which eventually slam Google will make Microsoft's look like a fun day at the beach. And when it happens, F them. They are the ultimate in predatory companies, and they now have the power to cause any business to flourish or wither and die just by how they rank them. No company should have this type of power, and this is coming from a free market advocate. Google's power is running unchecked, and it is causing a future destabilization to the world's economy imo.

I cannot stress how huge this is. The traffic drop is certainly being seen everywhere. We will all be affected, and no more so than contributors who have decided to sell on their own. Expect your agency subscription sales to continue...people already associated with long term plans don't search the internet for images. But expect your single image sales to take a huge hit. It is inevitable.

Use alternative search engines. The more you use Google, the more you encourage their behavior.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 20:27 by djpadavona »

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #108 on: February 06, 2013, 20:53 »
0
In contrast, I found one of my images on the web with the watermark of a German midstock agency. I contacted them, they forwarded that to a lawyer they work with, and several weeks later the wrote me that they received close to 300 Euros as payment from the lawyer (so his costs must have been deducted already) which they shared with me according to the usual split (50/50).
Their prices are around 30 Euro for a full-sized image, around 3 Euro for a web-sized image.
I only wish all agencies would act like that...
I do too. For some reason, Alamy won't, even for RM images. Their canned response is along the lines of "They didn't buy the image from us, so we won't pursue the misuse. However, go ahead with litigation if you want".
At least, unlike iStock, if we go ahead ourselves, we don't have to share any compensation with them.

« Reply #109 on: February 06, 2013, 20:55 »
-2
Value should not play into the penalty. Shoplifting carries the same penalty whether it is a bottle of nail polish or a $200 pair of tennis shoes: prosecution. If prosecution was the penalty, as it is with shoplifting, it would curb image theft and solve the problem of the copyright holder paying legal fees associated with civil suits.

You might not want it to play into the penalty - but it does. What your awarded is decided largely by the judge. When the judge see's the real value of a sale is less than a buck... don't expect him to award the max amount, which I believe is $250K per infringement. This why people try to bully and intimidate people into settling out of court. No judge to worry about, much less how SILLY you will look suing over a 50 cent picture.

« Reply #110 on: February 06, 2013, 21:27 »
0
We should take advantage of the new format. If you look closely at shutterstocks images, they have a hidden bottom section containing their URL and the images file number.

Everyone automatically thinks the world is coming to end in the stock business whenever anything changes even slightly.... sheesh. Learn to think in new ways people.

Sure the agency's watermark and URLs are there, but Google is offering larger, unwatermarked images right next to the agency image.

As an example, I searched for a Sean Locke image. I clicked the "More Sizes" link and this is what I got (see link). Which one would a user click on? The larger, unwatermarked free image taken from a blog or the same iStock image that they have to buy? I don't think anyone should embrace this new format.

https://www.google.com/search?q=sean+locke&hl=en&tbo=d&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=3uMQUbeIOMSarAGql4HYBA&sqi=2&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAA&biw=1353&bih=1199#q=sean%20locke&hl=en&sa=X&tbo=d&tbm=isch&tbs=simg%3ACAQSEgnAt61eXeliTyGEAY11oKv3Gg&ei=9OMQUZS8KcOs2QWw7oDQAQ&ved=0CAYQhxw&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.41867550,d.aWc&fp=b1bf9ac9bca5da94&biw=1353&bih=1199

How/where are they getting an un-watermarked version?

« Reply #111 on: February 06, 2013, 21:36 »
0
We have experienced the same massive drop in traffic at Warmpicture.

The honest truth is, if this continues we will not be able to survive much longer. It is a travesty. We went cash flow positive just a few months ago, and now this. Over and over, it always seems to be Google which is responsible for throwing roadblocks in our way.

In the end, I guarantee that the antitrust suits which eventually slam Google will make Microsoft's look like a fun day at the beach. And when it happens, F them. They are the ultimate in predatory companies, and they now have the power to cause any business to flourish or wither and die just by how they rank them. No company should have this type of power, and this is coming from a free market advocate. Google's power is running unchecked, and it is causing a future destabilization to the world's economy imo.

I cannot stress how huge this is. The traffic drop is certainly being seen everywhere. We will all be affected, and no more so than contributors who have decided to sell on their own. Expect your agency subscription sales to continue...people already associated with long term plans don't search the internet for images. But expect your single image sales to take a huge hit. It is inevitable.

Use alternative search engines. The more you use Google, the more you encourage their behavior.

My traffic is down as well, and I definitely have concerns about how this will affect things. But, I'm going to reserve judgement until I see how sales go. So far, things seem fairly normal this month (as far as normal goes for my site). Sales are still happening though. New customers are still finding the site. Hopefully, this continues, and it doesn't end up affecting sales. I definitely don't want to go backwards either.

« Reply #112 on: February 06, 2013, 22:07 »
+3
Good luck Cory. We are down 60 to 70 percent. It is absolutely shocking. You can look at our traffic chart and instantly identify Google removing image links.

Any image intensive website will be smashed by this Google policy. I am already bracing for what might become of the Disney World blog I run, which receives 15-20% of its traffic from my images.

I'm trying to wrap my head around how any of this is legal. Google is essentially saying, we are going to display the images from your website, but we are going to diminish the value of the link back to them. If TMZ or CNN started posting my images without giving me credit, I could sue them. But Google pretends to be a "search engine", so it is okay. But how are they a search engine if they aren't linking back to the source as a priority?

I think there are going to be legal battles fought over this. Wouldn't be shocked to see Google eventually cave and put things back as they were. But a lot of websites will be ruined in the interim.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 22:16 by djpadavona »

« Reply #113 on: February 06, 2013, 23:14 »
+2
...the antitrust suits which eventually slam Google will make Microsoft's look like a fun day at the beach.
Sorry. The FTC did launch an anti-trust investigation (similar to those it previously attacked Microsoft and IBM with in decades past) against Google in June, 2011.

About a month ago, on January 3, 2012, the FTC dropped the investigation, after supposedly Google agreed to make some minor changes in its search. The real story is that Google paid hundred of millions of dollars to Washington lobbyists to get the investigation dropped. It was a huge win for Google, which will now be immune to slap-downs by US Gov for a long time. This may be why Google has been emboldened to launch new attacks against copyright.

When copyright is weakened, Google profits, and Page, Schmidt, et al understand this very well. Google's business model is essentially that of a magazine. It provides access to the works of writers and artists and makes money by selling ads. Except that magazines pay the writers and artists. But Google keeps all the revenues.

rubyroo

« Reply #114 on: February 07, 2013, 04:05 »
+1
I just found this site.  Not sure if anyone's already posted it, but it might be worth bookmarking this and keeping an eye on it:

http://protect-your-image.com/

From the site:

"At the moment there are also multiple webmasters and coders working on solutions how we can prevent google from showing images there in fullsize, if good solutions are found, they will be made public here."

« Reply #115 on: February 07, 2013, 09:37 »
+4
The gentleman from the federal agency gave me this back.  I'm not sure he completely gets it, as Google is not hosting the image, but maybe I'm misreading it.
"I do agree it is a gross infringement.   

However, Google (through their subsidiary YouTube) has done the same thing with the movie industry and as a result Viacom is currently suing YouTube (and Google) for copyright infringement under the DMCA (in the amount of $1 billion).   

And I do not agree that civil litigation is waving your hands and telling them to stop however, even to make a criminal case, we are required to show that the Defendant (Google) was given some notice and opportunity to rectify the situation and remove the offending material.  If they are given notice about certain works, and then refuse- then we have a prosecutable case.  "

« Reply #116 on: February 07, 2013, 10:44 »
+2

Sorry. The FTC did launch an anti-trust investigation (similar to those it previously attacked Microsoft and IBM with in decades past) against Google in June, 2011.

About a month ago, on January 3, 2012, the FTC dropped the investigation, after supposedly Google agreed to make some minor changes in its search. The real story is that Google paid hundred of millions of dollars to Washington lobbyists to get the investigation dropped. It was a huge win for Google, which will now be immune to slap-downs by US Gov for a long time. This may be why Google has been emboldened to launch new attacks against copyright.

As I recall, the first suits versus Microsoft were unsuccessful. But later efforts, particularly once the EU got involved, slammed them hard. And well deserved. In retrospect I don't find anything Microsoft was doing to be as egregious as Google's recent efforts.

While I agree that a certain amount of insane lobbyist money seems to make you immune to any regulation in this country, there will be trouble abroad too. And once the pressure mounts abroad, the US will prosecute to save face.

« Reply #117 on: February 07, 2013, 11:06 »
0
On your second point, subscriptions are low enough and royalties are low enough.  How much less would you be happy receiving for smaller images, maybe 3 cents an image for blog sized sales?

I agree that prices and royalties are too low. I would put prices up and call them the same or less.

I would be subtle about adjusting prices. The subscription prices would not essentially change. A regular subscription would be branded as a web use subscription. Same prices but access only to web sized versions. Perhaps even a slight reduction or maybe a few more images for the same price to sweeten it.

The prices for access to all sizes would also stay the same for the beginning - but the amount of content offered would be reduced. Call it premium. Many do not use their quota anyhow.

This is easy to do ... but the top 9 agencies most all agree will these ! The last point is almost impossible to happen. I deleted my port from DP for this motive. They are selling sub for 0,15... I refuse some commissions payments. When i get $0,08 from IS commission i wrote on their forum that i deleted all my 30 files (LOL) if they pay me that value again. In my point of view is not my 30 files that are important , is my work and my conscience . They can do all promotions they want, but must exist a "stop" mark in commissions value !

 Today i visit a middle tier agency site...the most expensive file i saw costs $6...i think F***** The files i saw dont have that WOW factor or anything that surprise me, probably i refuse to my site 70% the files i saw , but $6... man, i sell 20x15 prints for 4 in weddings... Even the prices i set on my site are low in my opinion.....but i cant mark more to get chances !

I think we reach the "Stop" point and now we need some braves top agencies to make prices useful for everyone (nothing against clients) there are agencies paying acceptable commissions out there , DT for me is one of the best . 0,20 and 60% commission for exclusive members is perfectly fair .

I believe if top agencies provide watermarks for free , or a free 600px file with a watermark in corner and non intrusive like (legally acquire from thisagency.com) everytime a buyer download a large file or xlarge f, this problem will disappear with time. Buyers , without work, have the file legal watermark for their sites and keep the original.

« Reply #118 on: February 07, 2013, 13:04 »
+1
Someone's started a petition here:
https://www.change.org/en-IN/petitions/google-stop-hotlinking-copyrighted-images-of-web-
publishers
I thought this was interesting, from an email sent today by the guy who started the petition:
"...Most of you would have already noticed that Google representative Jessica Schwartz hasn't replied to any of our concerns of Google Forum. (https://twitter.com/JessJoSchwartz, https://plus.google.com/112826759772478123425/posts). Its is strange that a company which depends on publishers and search engine users is so arrogant towards publishers and users. They have turned deaf ears, but we won't leave it like that. We will be heard!!

"It is a request to everyone to share the petition on Facebook, Twitter and online forums. Once we cross 1000 signatures, i plan to get in touch with media people to get this issue covered. If any of you is having friends in media, please do share it with them. Every bit will help in this mission.

"The recent changes done by Google Images will be considered copyright violation in my country (India), in most of Europe, in United States and in Australia as well. Google has played smart by not making these changes in France and Germany as they know that they will be in legal mess. "

« Reply #119 on: February 07, 2013, 15:13 »
0
in that Google thread about the new imagery someone mentioned that Microsoft Bing has the same image search feature.  Is this true?  Or is the Bing image search set up so that images (and traffic) are not able to be stolen?

« Reply #120 on: February 07, 2013, 16:07 »
+4
The problem is that the majority of users are thrilled with this move. It is easier to search for images, snag them, and leave. Lots of "Great update Google!" posts in that blog. The minority of users who run websites are furious, and a subset (photographers in particular) are seeing their rights trampled. But that subset is so small compared to the voracious GiveItToMeFree crowd. We can't win this argument. Google pleased far more users than they upset.

I would be interested in blocking Google, especially if other agencies are interested in blocking them too, but they still send us traffic for what it is worth. Do I block them and end all ties? What a horrible position to be in.

« Reply #121 on: February 07, 2013, 16:18 »
+6
There are two posts from "Gotin" which sum it up perfectly:

Great job Google! Now you are stealing from us! Great job!

On the first hand you are using our hosting traffic to show the image, and on the other, our website become useless that way, because nobody will ever visit the original page of the image.


and

And something else. IS Google a search engine, helping people to find helpful websites or a gallery, which generates content, using images from other websites?

This last point is most important to me. Google Images is supposed to be a search engine, not an all-you-can-eat buffet. If they are not directing users back to the source web page of the image, what exactly are they doing? At this point, I think it could be argued that they are simply scraping content, which would make them the biggest black hat internet presence since the original Napster.

At what point do they start scraping text too? So if you search for "microstock tips," they will scrape relevant text from websites but never direct the user to the content provider. Seems unrealistic? Isn't that exactly what they are doing with images as of today?

This will end very badly for Google, but that could be years into the future. In the meantime, photographers will not be able to survive this without severe losses from licensing.



KB

« Reply #122 on: February 07, 2013, 16:54 »
0
in that Google thread about the new imagery someone mentioned that Microsoft Bing has the same image search feature.  Is this true?  Or is the Bing image search set up so that images (and traffic) are not able to be stolen?
Bing image search is exactly the same. You can search for large photos, click on one, and then save it full-size to your computer.

« Reply #123 on: February 07, 2013, 19:18 »
0

« Reply #124 on: February 09, 2013, 08:11 »
+1
Brute force solution is to modify .htaccess file of your web:

RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^$
RewriteCond %{HTTP_REFERER} !^http(s)?://(www\.)?yourdomain.tld [NC]
RewriteRule \.(jpg|jpeg|png|gif)$ http://yourdomain.tld/sample-image.jpg [NC,R,L]

This will stop hotlinking images as Google will show sample-image.jpg instead of hotlinked one. It is really "brute" server solution but I dont know any better now. You can put eg. your contact or invitation to your website into sample-image.jpg - or some form of protest again hotlinks. Its up to you. However keep in mind that this will make problems to search engines to index your image content. 


 

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