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Author Topic: Account is under investigation  (Read 11935 times)

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« on: April 27, 2010, 18:33 »
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Hello everybody,

I've been iStockPhoto customer for few years and contributor for about a year. I only submit vectors.
About 2 weeks ago my account was placed "under investigation" and locked because of possible copyright issues.
I sent a detailed explanation which included some images. About a week later I sent another email. And few days ago I placed a support ticket.
I didn't receive any response at all (except automatic Thanks for contacting us for the support ticket).

At the beginning my illustrations still showed up in searches but were not available for purchase. Now they all gone.

Is it death sentence? Or are they just very busy?

I was accused of using another artist artwork (photo) to create my illustration. I submitted my own source photos with my reply.
I believe it will be very unfair to ban me over one illustration without even responding to me...

Did anything similar happen to somebody here? How fast do they reply? Should I do anything else?

I'm submitting to other sites but iStock is over 50% of my stock income so it would be a bummer to loose them.

Please, help?

Thanks!
Elly


« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2010, 18:44 »
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if all your vectors are made from photos that you took you should have nothing to worry about.  Just wait it out and iStock should get back to you in due time.

If you used other people's photos to create a vector - even once, don't be surprised if you get banned. 

helix7

« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2010, 19:39 »
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Can you show us the image in question and link to the image you were accused of using?

« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2010, 00:27 »
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I don't know how long such things typically take, but a number of the iStock staff have been away at the event in Cannes last week and over the weekend which may have delayed things a bit more than usual.

« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2010, 16:38 »
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Some bad news, bro. Friend of mine got in such situation some time ago. He desperatly tried to contact them with no success at all. Forged or stupid accusation made Istock to ban his account without any explanation. Wish you were luckier than that.

« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2010, 16:54 »
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Thanks for the replies!

I still hope they will get back to me...

I'll let you know if I get any response at all.

helix7 - It was a photo of a popular car, my source photos are almost the same as photo I was accused using.
Illustration was pretty simple line illustration.


Elly

Dook

« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2010, 17:03 »
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One of my best sellers was used for an illustration at SS. I reported that and the illustration was removed soon. I don't know what happened to that account.

« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2010, 03:01 »
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I was accused of using another artist artwork (photo) to create my illustration. I submitted my own source photos with my reply.

I do feel sorry for you, as it's a horrible situation to be in where you can't get a reply. However, I was just wondering why you didn't supply your source photos when you uploaded the original vector?

As iStock points out in their upload guidelines, it's really important to upload any source photos/sketches when submitting a vector, to prove that the work is yours.

Regardless, I hope you manage to get it all sorted out ASAP.

« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2010, 05:48 »
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You could try calling on the phone and speaking with someone directly about it.

« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2010, 01:31 »
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iStock has many copies online... They are pretending to do their job well... But, they don't know to do it on the right way.

Their quality control staff is not pro and that is problem. They have just some wannabe in QC...

« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2010, 04:10 »
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Hi guys,

Just wanted to give you an update. I never got my iStockphoto account back.
I called and I was told that email is the only way to contact Compliance Enforcement group.

I wrote few emails. In one email I showed Illustrator screen shots in regular (Preview) and Outline modes to show how simple my illustration really is. In reply, Compliance Enforcement rep accused me in creating fake sketches...
Which only meant that she didn't read my email at all! I politely pointed out to her that I didn't send any sketches, that I sent Illustrator screen shots... Well, no replies to that email.

Couple of weeks later I got payment - whatever left on my account after she subtracted her "investigation" time. And that was it.

Of course after "fake sketches" accusation I knew it was over. She would never admit such a mistake.
I was upset for quite a while...


Elly

helix7

« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2010, 07:56 »
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This unfortunately isn't just an istock issue. Other sites have similarly broad policies on account suspension/termination when any question of image copyrights comes up.

It's scary as hell. All it takes is someone getting pissed off at you for some personal reason, they fire off an email to CE with any similar reference photo they can find, and you're done. Even if your image is legit and you end up proving it, for at least a few days or weeks while the situation is sorted out your account is offline and you're losing money. It's insane.

I actually reported someone once for a copyright violation, and i actually regretted doing it afterwards because of the overly harsh response from support at SS. In that case it was one image out of a portfolio or hundreds, and the contributor in question was basically a good guy and certainly didn't deserve to lose his entire account. But that's what happened, at least for a while, until eventually he was able to get the account reinstated.

Since then, I question whether or not I'd ever report anyone again for just one image violation. But far worse is the idea mentioned above, that a false accusation could shut down anyone of us, whether we are guilty of infringement or not. These sites need to rethink their enforcement policies and how they react to accusations. In a case where there are multiple images in question, maybe account suspension is justified. But in smaller cases, maybe image suspension should be the first step, and only suspend an account pending the outcome of the single image investigation.

Microbius

« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2010, 08:44 »
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I don't know, I'd like to think they wouldn't be that arbitrary, remember we are only hearing one side of the story here. And the guy you reported, maybe you only saw the one file, there could have been others in the portfolio.

It also depends how big the violation is, for example there was one guy, I think he may have been on this forum or maybe Shutterstock defending himself. He had downloaded someone else's vector set of stamps and had re-uploaded parts of them as his. He even tried to say it was coincidence, till another member pointed out several other elements in his portfolio that came from that same set.  That kind of thing should be an account closure straight off. The tracing thing is a bit more of a grey area and may well be sometimes open to interpretation.

I don't suppose the OP would consider uploading the files in question plus a link to the photo he's accused of copying now it's all over?

« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2010, 09:01 »
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That is just all kinds of wrong. Nice to see how IS treats it's contributors. Along with all of the other things being said about the photo side of things sounds like it's just a cluster. It is a shame that these things happen without them seemingly giving a proper investigation. I guess they feel they have soooooo many contributors, that they don't have to treat people and their products with respect. Keep up improving your reputation, IS. You're doing a bang up job.

« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2010, 09:23 »
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That is just all kinds of wrong. Nice to see how IS treats it's contributors. Along with all of the other things being said about the photo side of things sounds like it's just a cluster. It is a shame that these things happen without them seemingly giving a proper investigation. I guess they feel they have soooooo many contributors, that they don't have to treat people and their products with respect. Keep up improving your reputation, IS. You're doing a bang up job.

Like Microbius said __ we don't know Istock's side of the story and unfortunately probably never will. Personally I've been with Istock nearly six years, have had hundreds of discussions with other contributors, and honestly cannot think of a single accepted incidence where they have treated a contributor unfairly. Sure, they've closed accounts of those trying to game the system or copyright violators, they have to protect themselves. There has to be more to this than we know. It would be very easy for someone who has been caught out to come on here anonymously and spread malicious gossip but it is not mandatory to suck it all up.

« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2010, 09:56 »
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I'm not saying that either is correct or wrong. I'm just adding in the info of what I've  read on recent rejections, along with the seemingly lack of communications with the contributor by IS. I think I would be a lot less reasonable than who posted this if this happened to me.

« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2010, 13:26 »
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There is no doubt some people making dreviation of other people picture into vector or input to another photo. Already we see complaints here and other forum.
Unfortunate you one person picked out , and you say your work not dreviation.
So, like other people here say, you not do wrong, you not worry.
But it is still big mystery how the real thief get away and innocent get account suspended.
Sometime it so obvious. I see one new image and next week a vector by another person of that photo. Only with simple perspective deviation. Surprise me that reviewer did not pick out the derivation. 

So sorry for your situation. Hope mess will cure soon for you.

Also, maybe part fault is agency they not stress the seriousness of derivation. So many complaints of theft but still no one site publish warning of seriousness.
So partly fault of agency and also wording Royalty Free.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 13:28 by lefty »

« Reply #17 on: August 24, 2010, 15:35 »
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I'm not saying that either is correct or wrong. I'm just adding in the info of what I've  read on recent rejections, along with the seemingly lack of communications with the contributor by IS. I think I would be a lot less reasonable than who posted this if this happened to me.

Yeah, I've read some of these horror stories too, but I've also been treated fairly in my dealings with IS. So, it makes it hard to know whether these stories are entirely accurate. I can't speak to this particular contributor, but it's definitely a scary thought if they really did nothing wrong.

« Reply #18 on: August 24, 2010, 15:42 »
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Can we see your illustration and the sketches or screen shots you sent IS for proof? Can we see your portfolio at other sites? If not, I assume you're just lying your way out. Sorry.

« Reply #19 on: August 24, 2010, 16:15 »
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While some accounts get banned on istock, there are others which are directly using other authors elements in their 'work' with having istock 'judges' saying that are completely different images.

What said and even proven by some files I've seen there is quite evident that istock chooses who is to be banned and who isn't.

That sucks!

Microbius

« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2010, 05:29 »
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While some accounts get banned on istock, there are others which are directly using other authors elements in their 'work' with having istock 'judges' saying that are completely different images.

What said and even proven by some files I've seen there is quite evident that istock chooses who is to be banned and who isn't.

That sucks!
It would be good if you could give some inks of these obvious violations. It might give us a handle on what you are referring to.
I wonder if the OP is going to come back with his/her info. too? It's a wee bit pointless making these claims without showing us the evidence. 

« Reply #21 on: August 25, 2010, 11:12 »
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While some accounts get banned on istock, there are others which are directly using other authors elements in their 'work' with having istock 'judges' saying that are completely different images.

What said and even proven by some files I've seen there is quite evident that istock chooses who is to be banned and who isn't.

That sucks!
It would be good if you could give some inks of these obvious violations. It might give us a handle on what you are referring to.
I wonder if the OP is going to come back with his/her info. too? It's a wee bit pointless making these claims without showing us the evidence.  

Sorry but I must keep my sources  covered due to possible law suit cases against some people on Istockphoto...  But if you don't believe to me it is your right!

[added] But, you may start comparing some istockphoto files with some weekly freebies from Shutterstock and it will come to your mind what is happening! Also, there are usual copy-cat jobs done by some with looking at first pages on all agencies... It is more than evident that while istock forces 'abusive inspiration', they accept such copy-cats when non-exclusives are sourced.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2010, 11:17 by Albert Martin »

Microbius

« Reply #22 on: August 25, 2010, 13:58 »
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that will be interesting to check out! Is there a way to see which vectors have been given away by SS in the past, or will I have to wait till they've had a chance to "play" with the latest one?

abimages

« Reply #23 on: August 25, 2010, 16:14 »
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While some accounts get banned on istock, there are others which are directly using other authors elements in their 'work' with having istock 'judges' saying that are completely different images.

What said and even proven by some files I've seen there is quite evident that istock chooses who is to be banned and who isn't.

That sucks!
It would be good if you could give some inks of these obvious violations. It might give us a handle on what you are referring to.
I wonder if the OP is going to come back with his/her info. too? It's a wee bit pointless making these claims without showing us the evidence.  

Sorry but I must keep my sources  covered due to possible law suit cases against some people on Istockphoto...  But if you don't believe to me it is your right!

[added] But, you may start comparing some istockphoto files with some weekly freebies from Shutterstock and it will come to your mind what is happening! Also, there are usual copy-cat jobs done by some with looking at first pages on all agencies... It is more than evident that while istock forces 'abusive inspiration', they accept such copy-cats when non-exclusives are sourced.

Man, that's a very serious accusation you make there! Unless you have the proof up your sleeve ::)

« Reply #24 on: August 26, 2010, 06:31 »
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Can we see your illustration and the sketches or screen shots you sent IS for proof? Can we see your portfolio at other sites? If not, I assume you're just lying your way out. Sorry.

...i am also wondering why nothing had been posted here so far...


 

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