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Author Topic: Biggest Rip Off in microstock history! Shocking finds..  (Read 39646 times)

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Microbius

« Reply #75 on: January 09, 2013, 10:49 »
+1
Also, I notice you haven't bothered to take down the offending images from your portfolios on other sites yet. Shouldn't you be doing that as a priority?


« Reply #76 on: January 09, 2013, 10:53 »
0
Hi everyone,

My name is Alex Dumitru and I'm one of the partners at Brainik (brainik.com) the company that owns the account "highlegstudio" on Shutterstock along with other web properties mentioned in this thread.

We are a design studio based in Romania and in the last 5 years we had over 25 designers that worked to create the portfolio we have, as you can imagine 40k vector images are not easy to create. All the vectors on Shutterstock are created inhouse by our designers with our own design elements (we create and sell vector elements and more on couple of websites).

We take very serious copyright infringement and we would have never uploaded this image if we knew that it was a copy of someone else's work. We are very sorry and we apologize to the user"cidepix" that one of our designers was over inspired from his design to create the one in our portfolio. Once our account will be reinstated we will remove the image if Shutterstock will not do it.

As designers (or design studio) we understand how is to have your work stolen very well because others have stolen from us, released for free on websites and on torrents and even more.

That being said the title of the thread is a bit harsh and a lot of the things said here were exaggerated. We didn't want to steal anything, it was just a mistake and again we are very sorry for it.

Thanks for coming here and providing an explanation. I think the biggest mistake you made was employing others to 'create' vectors for you. It inevitably meant that you lost control of your portfolio. Quite frankly I despise 'image factories' like yours though.

Living in Romania, with it's extremely low cost-of-living, you should have been able to earn a very good income as an individual microstock contributor with only a modicom of talent. You didn't need to have a 'factory'.

« Reply #77 on: January 09, 2013, 10:57 »
0
I also do not like the weasel words, I believe Cidepix's  files weren't just used for inspiration, I believe his files were downloaded, changed and reupoaded as yours (just an opinion), but I will still make a serious suggestion to you.

I predict that your portfolio will probably be reinstated. Before that happens, you need to ensure that you delete all the vectors from the artist/s that produced the Cidepix rip offs and also the Santa sleigh illustration. On all the stock sites and your own, not just SS

Then you need to take down everything that has used a photo from Google as a source to create an illustration of an animal (there are a few that seem familiar to me, as well as that gorilla)

Because believe me, if they catch you on one more infringement you will be getting a permanent ban, and I for one don't want to see all those artists out of a job because of one or two people-- or poor curating by an art editor.

What do you mean by weasel words? I can assure you that the files were not downloaded and re-uploaded, but indeed our designer used his files to create the one in our portfolio. The files will be removed for sure. My guys will also remove the files that were posted here as inspired from others.

I didn't post here to be accused, I tried to answer and let you guys know that we are serious and we try to fix this. I could have easily leave it like that and move on.



 

« Reply #78 on: January 09, 2013, 10:58 »
-1
Also, I notice you haven't bothered to take down the offending images from your portfolios on other sites yet. Shouldn't you be doing that as a priority?

We just found out about this today, it will be done.

« Reply #79 on: January 09, 2013, 11:01 »
+1
Hi everyone,

My name is Alex Dumitru and I'm one of the partners at Brainik (brainik.com) the company that owns the account "highlegstudio" on Shutterstock along with other web properties mentioned in this thread.

We are a design studio based in Romania and in the last 5 years we had over 25 designers that worked to create the portfolio we have, as you can imagine 40k vector images are not easy to create. All the vectors on Shutterstock are created inhouse by our designers with our own design elements (we create and sell vector elements and more on couple of websites).

We take very serious copyright infringement and we would have never uploaded this image if we knew that it was a copy of someone else's work. We are very sorry and we apologize to the user"cidepix" that one of our designers was over inspired from his design to create the one in our portfolio. Once our account will be reinstated we will remove the image if Shutterstock will not do it.

As designers (or design studio) we understand how is to have your work stolen very well because others have stolen from us, released for free on websites and on torrents and even more.

That being said the title of the thread is a bit harsh and a lot of the things said here were exaggerated. We didn't want to steal anything, it was just a mistake and again we are very sorry for it.

brainik,

If what you are saying is true, I would prefer you to get your portfolio back.. BUT it sends a bad message to the rest of the industry because you;

- didn't make sure to submit "only" the work you fully own.. how can you be trusted that you will be careful in the future?
- I believe and (want to believe) that your portfolio is fully original (except the 2 images based on mine) but as mentioned earlier in this thread, some suspicion is raised for "angry gorilla" and some "santa sled" images too.. and since 2 images are inspired by my image, there is a good reason to believe there are more..

I will be honest, I think you should get your portfolio back, but you need to make sure "all images" in your portfolio are original and there should be some kind of condition to prevent future violations by "one of your designers"..

There needs to be some kind of enforcement because it is otherwise unfair to people who had their accounts closed for 1 violation..

I am not happy to see someone lose a good income, but I am also not happy that someone is stealing my image..

as for the title: you may find it harsh but I had no idea about "highlegstudio" and I thought it was "one person" stealing from many designers (not just me) at first..

I hope it is "only" my image and nothing else..

I don't want anyone to be punished more than they deserve.. But there has to be some kind of consequences..

Microbius

« Reply #80 on: January 09, 2013, 11:02 »
0
I also do not like the weasel words, I believe Cidepix's  files weren't just used for inspiration, I believe his files were downloaded, changed and reupoaded as yours (just an opinion), but I will still make a serious suggestion to you.

I predict that your portfolio will probably be reinstated. Before that happens, you need to ensure that you delete all the vectors from the artist/s that produced the Cidepix rip offs and also the Santa sleigh illustration. On all the stock sites and your own, not just SS

Then you need to take down everything that has used a photo from Google as a source to create an illustration of an animal (there are a few that seem familiar to me, as well as that gorilla)

Because believe me, if they catch you on one more infringement you will be getting a permanent ban, and I for one don't want to see all those artists out of a job because of one or two people-- or poor curating by an art editor.


What do you mean by weasel words? I can assure you that the files were not downloaded and re-uploaded, but indeed our designer used his files to create the one in our portfolio. The files will be removed for sure. My guys will also remove the files that were posted here as inspired from others.

I didn't post here to be accused, I tried to answer and let you guys know that we are serious and we try to fix this. I could have easily leave it like that and move on.

Okay now I am confused. Is the designer still working for you and you asked him/ her what they did and that is how you know they have not reuploaded the file, just been "inspired" by it?

Or are you saying that you knew at the time you had people on staff copying other people's work, and that is how you know it is not a reupload?

I was giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you didn't know what was going on.

I am just trying to get a handle on what happened.


ETA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_word  in this case "inspired"

« Reply #81 on: January 09, 2013, 11:12 »
0
Quote

brainik,

If what you are saying is true, I would prefer you to get your portfolio back.. BUT it sends a bad message to the rest of the industry because you;

- didn't make sure to submit "only" the work you fully own.. how can you be trusted that you will be careful in the future?
- I believe and (want to believe) that your portfolio is fully original (except the 2 images based on mine) but as mentioned earlier in this thread, some suspicion is raised for "angry gorilla" and some "santa sled" images too.. and since 2 images are inspired by my image, there is a good reason to believe there are more..

I will be honest, I think you should get your portfolio back, but you need to make sure "all images" in your portfolio are original and there should be some kind of condition to prevent future violations by "one of your designers"..

There needs to be some kind of enforcement because it is otherwise unfair to people who had their accounts closed for 1 violation..

I am not happy to see someone lose a good income, but I am also not happy that someone is stealing my image..

as for the title: you may find it harsh but I had no idea about "highlegstudio" and I thought it was "one person" stealing from many designers (not just me) at first..

I hope it is "only" my image and nothing else..

I don't want anyone to be punished more than they deserve.. But there has to be some kind of consequences..

We did submit only work we own, or so I thought. That image is from the when we started out with creating and submitting illustrations and learn along the way that people/designers are not always fair to one another.

I really understand you point of view and hope this won't happen again.



 

« Reply #82 on: January 09, 2013, 11:14 »
0
I also do not like the weasel words, I believe Cidepix's  files weren't just used for inspiration, I believe his files were downloaded, changed and reupoaded as yours (just an opinion), but I will still make a serious suggestion to you.

I predict that your portfolio will probably be reinstated. Before that happens, you need to ensure that you delete all the vectors from the artist/s that produced the Cidepix rip offs and also the Santa sleigh illustration. On all the stock sites and your own, not just SS

Then you need to take down everything that has used a photo from Google as a source to create an illustration of an animal (there are a few that seem familiar to me, as well as that gorilla)

Because believe me, if they catch you on one more infringement you will be getting a permanent ban, and I for one don't want to see all those artists out of a job because of one or two people-- or poor curating by an art editor.


What do you mean by weasel words? I can assure you that the files were not downloaded and re-uploaded, but indeed our designer used his files to create the one in our portfolio. The files will be removed for sure. My guys will also remove the files that were posted here as inspired from others.

I didn't post here to be accused, I tried to answer and let you guys know that we are serious and we try to fix this. I could have easily leave it like that and move on.


thank you for coming here to post.. I believe you are sorry.. there are 2 images based on mine, not 1..

http://us.fotolia.com/id/7600605
http://us.fotolia.com/id/7600604

There is a good reason to believe that the designer who did this may have done it more than twice, and you need to make sure to remove any other suspicious files..

As I said before, I hope this can be sorted the right way..

« Reply #83 on: January 09, 2013, 11:20 »
-1

Okay now I am confused. Is the designer still working for you and you asked him/ her what they did and that is how you know they have not reuploaded the file, just been "inspired" by it?

Or are you saying that you knew at the time you had people on staff copying other people's work, and that is how you know it is not a reupload?

I was giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you didn't know what was going on.

I am just trying to get a handle on what happened.


ETA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_word  in this case "inspired"


The designer that made that is no longer with us for more than 2 years now.
I'm sure that he didn't download the file is because he would have to purchase it first at home some how, bring it to the office, modify it here and than give us the file to upload it. That's a bit hard to do in my opinion.

Again, we never encouraged anyone to copy someone else's work.

At that time there were 10-12 designers that were creating illustrations and it was a bit harder to keep track of what each one of them is doing.
At this moment we only have 1 person that creates vector images for shutterstock because the income is low and is not worth while to employ more.

« Reply #84 on: January 09, 2013, 11:27 »
+1

thank you for coming here to post.. I believe you are sorry.. there are 2 images based on mine, not 1..

http://us.fotolia.com/id/7600605
http://us.fotolia.com/id/7600604

There is a good reason to believe that the designer who did this may have done it more than twice, and you need to make sure to remove any other suspicious files..

As I said before, I hope this can be sorted the right way..


I have deleted both files from fotolia, I will try tomorrow to sort it out with the other agencies.

« Reply #85 on: January 09, 2013, 11:31 »
+4
We did submit only work we own, or so I thought. That image is from the when we started out with creating and submitting illustrations and learn along the way that people/designers are not always fair to one another.

I really understand you point of view and hope this won't happen again.

Here is a very simple analogy:

If you go to a store and you are caught stealing you will be charged for theft and you will be prosecuted and most likely fined.

In your case you appear to be very confident that Shutterstock will treat your situation in your favor despite the fact that you violated Shutterstock's contributor terms as well as copyright laws. You do not seem to grasp the fact that you as the account holder are actually responsible for any wrong doing of "your guys".

Additionally you emphasize that you "didn't know". Not knowing is not a free fare to innocence. You are obviously not in control over your account as only the diligent eyes of other contributors blew up your cover.

« Reply #86 on: January 09, 2013, 11:40 »
0
We did submit only work we own, or so I thought. That image is from the when we started out with creating and submitting illustrations and learn along the way that people/designers are not always fair to one another.

I really understand you point of view and hope this won't happen again.

Here is a very simple analogy:

If you go to a store and you are caught stealing you will be charged for theft and you will be prosecuted and most likely fined.

In your case you appear to be very confident that Shutterstock will treat your situation in your favor despite the fact that you violated Shutterstock's contributor terms as well as copyright laws. You do not seem to grasp the fact that you as the account holder are actually responsible for any wrong doing of "your guys".

Additionally you emphasize that you "didn't know". Not knowing is not a free fare to innocence. You are obviously not in control over your account as only the diligent eyes of other contributors blew up your cover.

You are right, we are not entirely without fault and we should have better managed this aspect. I don't know what shutterstock will decide, that's their call to make.


fujiko

« Reply #88 on: January 09, 2013, 13:19 »
+1
If I had people working for me I would tell them to show me their inspiration, going as far as checking the browser history to see what they used as source or completely close internet access.
And if I had an agency I would not reinstate an account that acted like this even if it was a 40k account.

« Reply #89 on: January 09, 2013, 16:10 »
+3
Whatever the rights and wrongs - mistakes or deliberate deceptions - good on you for breaking cover and posting in this forum.

Whether we agree on not, surely it's best to have a sensible discussion about the topic?


« Reply #90 on: January 09, 2013, 16:35 »
0
Have Shutterstock started contacted the customers yet ?

SS telling their customers would be like finding a needle in haystack, imagine how many sales a 40k portfolio generates...

I feel confident they would be able to track each and every sale. This IS the age of computers, after all. It's more a question of whether they would actually want to bother. I believe they should be able to run reports using specific data fields of what they are looking for.

come on... and they will also see which files were copied by who and send the royalties to the real owners? that would take like all 2013 even in the computer age


You are right, silly me.


« Reply #91 on: January 09, 2013, 17:12 »
+2
Thanks for jumping in here Brainik.  It is nice to hear your side of the story and brave of you for jumping in the lions den here.

I have to say that I have a certain amount of understanding for your case.  If you are running a studio with multiple employees it's pretty hard to keep a close enough eye on everyone and double check that their work ethic doesn't drop below what is acceptable.  The stock sites are examples of this as well.  We don't accuse Shutterstock for stealing cidepix's images because, well, it was one of Shutterstock's contributors (in a way employee... at least business relation) who uploaded it.  I'm sure Shutterstock stops copies at the door if they spot them.. but they didn't spot them in this case.  With a large port and production like Brainik's, it could be pretty hard to notice a lazy designer when 1 out of 50 of their designs is sub-par.  That doesn't excuse it however.. I just understand how it can happen.

I also agree that none of the images linked look like exact same files.  They look more like heavily inspired, direct copies at best. 

What's stopping one of Yuri's photographers from directly copying someone else's images when the lazy photographer is low on inspiration but still wants to impress his boss (Yuri).  Yuri probably wouldn't notice the copy (there is 20,000,000 images to pick from in just the microstock sites).  Yuri has probably lectured them about copying and where to get inspiration from but that doesn't stop the lazy photographer from doing it.  If that happened should Yuri's portfolio be removed?  Would it be removed?

Anyhow, I hope you get this worked out and are able to clean up your portfolio.

« Reply #92 on: January 09, 2013, 17:58 »
+1
What's stopping one of Yuri's photographers from directly copying someone else's images when the lazy photographer is low on inspiration but still wants to impress his boss (Yuri).  Yuri probably wouldn't notice the copy (there is 20,000,000 images to pick from in just the microstock sites).  Yuri has probably lectured them about copying and where to get inspiration from but that doesn't stop the lazy photographer from doing it.  If that happened should Yuri's portfolio be removed?  Would it be removed?

I think it should be removed, a few days there was a discussion here about transferring the rights to the photographer/seller, are we just men/women to the good stuff and "rats" for the other?

I believe we should be responsible regarding everything we upload, if we don't know or can't handle a big team that's not other contributors (having loses in sales/exposure) or agencies problem

like Cathleen said the other day, grow some skin, people!

Reef

  • astonmars.com
« Reply #93 on: January 09, 2013, 19:41 »
0
I can also understand the copy case but what gets me is 600 Vectors for $30 Are you nuts!?

« Reply #94 on: January 10, 2013, 00:04 »
-2
I was very closely following this thread and just wanted to share that, yes brainik and their team did rip off images from other sources.

It is very sad for any user to see its image being ripped off.
I always use to be a good fan of HighLegStudio but never thought they do such things.

Although my personal opinion.... hilegstudio's work was seriously very nice, being a designer I will agree with brainik that its very hard to create vector images and... when the number comes 40k I can't even imagine the hard work they put up.

Yes, the company did ripped off images and created their own vectors, no matter whether its one file rip or many.

But, from my opinion there should be some other system too rather than just closing the entire account. It is very hard for any artist to create so much portfolio.
The person charges should be done with penalty or let the portfolio banned to 1-2 months or don't pay his earning for 2-3 months giving very strict last warning to him. Or let the user have direct interaction with the claimed person and get things sorted out.

If you are a good designer then why do such things, create your own and be safe always. Portfolio which was there for 5 years with 40k images is very hard to create, why take risk.?

Also if banning the artist the only solution then why nothing happens to those users who without concerns upload images/vectors for free on those file sharing websites and torrent illegally. No one can do anything to them. Daily images are being given for free and nothing happens to them.

Microbius

« Reply #95 on: January 10, 2013, 03:41 »
+1
Also if banning the artist the only solution then why nothing happens to those users who without concerns upload images/vectors for free on those file sharing websites and torrent illegally. No one can do anything to them. Daily images are being given for free and nothing happens to them.
Don't understand this comment at all, that is because they are operating on illegal sites, not a legitimate image library like Shutterstock etc., but anyway, moving on.

It is getting a bit too much now. The eagle is a blatant trace, look at the feathers at the neck, exactly the same arrangement. If you overlay them they fit exactly. That artist makes up a large amount of their best selling stuff and the eagle and other animals appeared many times in their SS port. I would guess  that all this artist's animal illustrations are traced in the same way from photos online.

As they have pointed out this is done in a studio, not remotely, I for one can't believe an artist working under their noses was tracing photos from the internet for what must have been many hours and weeks on end without them knowing. If they wish to come on here and say that the other animals aren't traced, I will happily go through their portfolio and look for the sources online to double check for them.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 03:50 by Microbius »

Microbius

« Reply #96 on: January 10, 2013, 03:43 »
0
..... If you are running a studio with multiple employees it's pretty hard to keep a close enough eye on everyone and double check that their work ethic doesn't drop below what is acceptable.....
Check my post above, there needs to be at least a minimum oversight, which with the animal traces doesn't seem to have been there

« Reply #97 on: January 10, 2013, 04:46 »
-1
If I had people working for me I would tell them to show me their inspiration, going as far as checking the browser history to see what they used as source or completely close internet access.
And if I had an agency I would not reinstate an account that acted like this even if it was a 40k account.

Easier said than done when it comes to manage teams, if you ever manged a team of more than 4-5 people you would understand better our position and think about this twice.

« Reply #98 on: January 10, 2013, 04:56 »
+5
If I had people working for me I would tell them to show me their inspiration, going as far as checking the browser history to see what they used as source or completely close internet access.
And if I had an agency I would not reinstate an account that acted like this even if it was a 40k account.

Easier said than done when it comes to manage teams, if you ever manged a team of more than 4-5 people you would understand better our position and think about this twice.

Ooh dear! We're supposed to feel sorry for you because you were so greedy that you lost control of your business? You've stolen other people's work and taken money out of their pockets as a result. Do you have any plans to return that money to the rightful owners?

Microbius

« Reply #99 on: January 10, 2013, 06:12 »
+4
To be honest I think this discussion is over. There have been National Geographic photos traced. That is a massive legal minefield for SS.

By your own admission you cannot regulate your workers, you cannot legitimately tick the box saying you certify the work is your own, so you can't indemnify the stock agency.

No legit stock site will touch you now I am afraid, any site that reads this thread is in the position that if they accept your work they do so knowing that you can't say whether it is stolen or not. I guess they need to rethink taking work from big studios in general.

They need to cover their a** now, sorry if you legitimately didn't know what was going on, but you should of, fin.



 

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