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Where all those stolen portfolios on Shutterstock come from...

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I honestly thought there was some sort of conspiracy going on.  I figured there were bribed reviewers, or some sneaky arrangements between Unsplash and Shutterstock itself.
Nope.  It's just that it's absurdly easy to do.

A bot can be set up to download the images, and upload them to shutterstock.   Suggested keywords are automatically added, and a five or more word title generated from the detected subject matter.   It's not even a lot of work to do it by hand.

When you download an image from Unsplash, the image title contains the name of the person who uploaded it to unsplash, and the word unsplash, for example:


Even with the obvious file titles, and nonsensical keywords, the images are accepted.

I present to you, the easy peasy portfolio of Thiefy McThieferson!  (done by hand, no bot)

I will of course, be taking this down before anything has a chance to sell, but I thought the results of this little experiment should be shown. 

This was a fun day. 


To be brutally honest, whoever is an idiot enough to upload to Unsplash should be aware that there's a high risk that someone will upload their copyright for sale


Evaristo tenscadisto:
Thank you for sharing this "simulation". In other words SS doesnt care if someone is a thief as long as they get their share of sale. Implement best practices against piracy? it is not mandatory by law and it costs money.

They will only act if these guys are discovered by someone. It's a jungle business where no government actually review or rule company practices. They dont care about contributors. they only care about customers. :-\


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