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Author Topic: Freedom of speech and a hint of intimidation  (Read 36454 times)

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« on: February 02, 2011, 23:03 »
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Another day in iStockland and an interesting one at that.
Today a vast number of people lost a good bit of royalties due to piracy.
iStock, apparently not being insured, reclaims all the funds acquired from these fraudulent sales putting the full lost on the side of the contributor.

The vast discussion you can find over in the istock forums but not the reason i am posting this here.
The main reason of this message is that it is becoming more and more clear that we are just cows that are being milked dry and have to undergo this silently or else...

Or else what you ask?
Well, i just mentioned in the same thread that i noticed that posts were being deleted (very) fast.
I quickly got a sitemail from Lobo (who is a forum moderator) threatening me with a full ban from the forums and sitemail with the arrogant tone as we have come to expect from his person.

After letting him know i would choose my words more carefully in the future but still value the concept 'freedom of speech' very highly i was immediately banned.

I am certain all my posts were very civil and did not leave the boundaries of my personal opinion and views.
In this regard i feel this kind of censorship is directly in violation of the democratic concept of people being able to freely share their opinions without being deleted, controlled or banned.

This is turning into a right dictatorship where people who speak up are 'taken out' and down right silenced.
They let the others rant on in one thread (quickly locking, blocking, banning any other threads that might spawn) and just wait untill everyone gets tired and carries on uploading their hard work to make them loads (and i mean loads) of money...

I for one will not be silenced like this and i hope there are others like me who will take a stand..
That being said, thanks for the read and i wish you all the best.

Kurt


« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2011, 23:20 »
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There's a reason that I hang out over here (beyond the fact that I did when I was independent and old habits die hard :))

Lobo has an account here (as does rogermexico) but they don't get to lock or ban, only read and (very occasionally) comment. It's useful to have an off site place to be able to compare notes about various sites and to talk in ways that none of the sites permit on their own forums.

I saw your posts and although I don't see why you were banned, I haven't entirely understood some of the other banees' banishment either. I understand that it's their playground and their rules, but you can't call yourself a crowsourced site with a community and then muzzle or otherwise intimidate contributors into silence or a chorus of woo yay.

I'm sure iStock is feeling a bit pressured and beleaguered right now - they've behaved very badly and are getting a deserved earful from their suppliers. Possibly Lobo's trigger finger is a tad itchier than usual as a result.

At any rate, welcome to Microstockgroup.

nruboc

« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2011, 23:25 »
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Don't feel bad, Lobo is a forum moderator, you'd be in a bad mood too if you were moderating forums for a living at his age. (* a forum that's not your own that is)   ;)

RacePhoto

« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2011, 00:39 »
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After letting him know i would choose my words more carefully in the future but still value the concept 'freedom of speech' very highly i was immediately banned.

I am certain all my posts were very civil and did not leave the boundaries of my personal opinion and views.
In this regard i feel this kind of censorship is directly in violation of the democratic concept of people being able to freely share their opinions without being deleted, controlled or banned.

Kurt

While I don't frequent the other micro/agency forums, for the reasons you mentioned in full, and because reading here is enough, and because here we do have free speech, within limits... I'll add something that many people seem to misunderstand.

It's their site. They can do whatever they want. You and I have no rights of free speech on their site. It is not a democracy and it may be censorship, but it's their forum on their hosted site and you are a guest. As a guest they can ask you to leave at any time for any reason. Does that explain it?

You can write about any of the agencies pretty much all you want, right here and people will probably listen better and pay attention more than going to the site owned and run by the agency with the Lemmings and Chauvinists that hang out on their forums, shouting yes and Yahoo for anything the agencies feeds them.

This is not IS specific, or directed at them specifically, it's for any forum run by anyone. Consider the other agency which announced that what we write on blogs or outside public forums, could be cause for having our sales account closed. Now that's beyond and over the top and censorship. But the problem is, it's legal because they can do whatever they want.

Did that help?

« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2011, 01:09 »
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Don't feel bad, Lobo is a forum moderator, you'd be in a bad mood too if you were moderating forums for a living at his age. (* a forum that's not your own that is)   ;)

:D :D

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2011, 01:46 »
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Exactly.. a democracy means people are voted into power, no-one voted for Lobo or anyone else, it's a company, they want your images, they most certainly do not want your opinion..

The only time they care is if you start to remove your images from the web site, that they understand, but opinions, nope!

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2011, 01:56 »
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From your suppiers agreement here's all the other stuff they can take money off you for, in their eyes they're being nice only taking for fraud..

"In response to a written request, iStockphoto will endeavor to make payment of fees in respect of purchased downloads of Accepted Content on a monthly basis on or about the 15th day of the month following the purchase of Accepted Content, except when sales reporting from a distribution partner is delayed, in which case payments will be made in the month following the date such sale is reported, provided such fees aggregate a minimum of US$100, failing which fees owing will be retained until they exceed such minimum. In all cases, payment of fees to the Supplier will be net of: (i) applicable taxes or other withholdings required by applicable law; (ii) bad debts or other uncollectible sums; (iii) legal and other reasonable fees incurred in enforcing this Agreement or the agreements contemplated herein; (iv) where purchases or licenses are by other than the credit system, fees payable to financial institutions for the processing of any credit card, debit card, e-cheque or alternative payment method; and (v) any amounts owing by the Supplier to iStockphoto under this Agreement or otherwise. "

hqimages

  • www.draiochtwebdesign.com
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2011, 02:03 »
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And more of what you've agreed to, if you use your own money to legally pursue someone that stole your images, istock want half.. wow this agreement is unbelieveable..

"In the event iStockphoto elects not to proceed against an Infringer, the Supplier shall have the right to proceed against such Infringer for such license violation or infringing action. The Supplier hereby agrees that any monetary recovery it receives as a result of any legal action taken against any such Infringer, to the extent such monies are intended to compensate the Supplier for lost licensing fees or include statutory damages, shall, after deduction of all costs and expenses incurred in gaining such recovery (including, without limitation, reasonable counsel and experts' fees and disbursements on a solicitor and client basis), be divided between the Supplier and iStockphoto pursuant to the provisions of the Compensation section above. "

lagereek

« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2011, 02:19 »
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Dont get it really??  so the contributor is then getting paid before IS can verify the buyers card is genuine or not? or what?  Im not effected, yet? but Im curious as to why its taken such a long time to find out?
« Last Edit: February 03, 2011, 02:35 by lagereek »

« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2011, 04:48 »
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istock want half..

I think you're too optimistic on that one:

"In the event iStockphoto elects not to proceed against an Infringer, the Supplier shall have the right to proceed against such Infringer for such license violation or infringing action. The Supplier hereby agrees that any monetary recovery it receives as a result of any legal action taken against any such Infringer, to the extent such monies are intended to compensate the Supplier for lost licensing fees or include statutory damages, shall, after deduction of all costs and expenses incurred in gaining such recovery (including, without limitation, reasonable counsel and experts' fees and disbursements on a solicitor and client basis), be divided between the Supplier and iStockphoto pursuant to the provisions of the Compensation section above. "

They'll take up to 85%.

« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2011, 07:26 »
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... it's their playground and their rules, but you can't call yourself a crowsourced site with a community and then muzzle or otherwise intimidate contributors into silence...

You can for as long as those that stick with you still amount to a "crowd"!

c h e e r s
fred

ShadySue

« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2011, 07:38 »
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Welcome to that glorious Limbo of the Banned.  8)

ShadySue

« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2011, 07:40 »
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I bet no one who has any clout reads that thread. They put it up just before closing the office for the day, then they all skipped home for forget about it all. Lobo makes sure the postings aren't too bad, and that all comments stay in the one thread so that they can easily be ignored. End of.

« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2011, 07:54 »
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In all fairness, lots of negative posts are being tolerated; 90% of this monster IS thread is critical with Istock. I suspect that this is way more of what would have been allowed at any other microstock site.
Credit card fraud, in a minor scale, happened before and istock ate the losses. After ten of thousands of downloads I never had (until now) a single CC fraud refund. This time, it seems to be too big. I understand their position, but I would appreciate to have the refund hours or days after the fraudulent download instead of letting accuumulate. Leaving offices empty in Christmas week and announcing it wasn't a good decision.
I'm far more worried for the site funcionality; I think efforts should be directed at having a 100% working site as soon as possible.

« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2011, 09:06 »
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I do not agree to RacePhotos comment.
"Freedom of speech is an elementary and essential human right.

Stockagencies do not have the Right to try to stop people from giving their opinion on what his happening.
Yes, they do it and they will continue to do it, but they don't have the right to do it!
It is misuse of power and although through the ages and also today everywhere in the world people are made silence: nobody has the right to do so!

We got Unions for people were threatened as slaves in the 19th and 20th century factories. Although they did so, the factory owners did not have the right to threaten their workers like they did!

On the other hand: contributors do not have the right to be rude, unpolite etc. either.
Sometimes people become angry and that is also understandable. But: think twice before you write!
Try to stay polite and reasonable, even if you are angry.
Remember: he who writes stays. That can be positive or negative.  What do you think about your writings from a year or so  ago? Wish you didn't write?

You say: they can do whatever they want. Yes, they can, but: they don't have the right to do whatever they want!
You say: it is their business. Yes it is, but: they build it on the contributors work and delivery of images! Just like it was (and is) in factories all over the world.

Sometimes decisions are made to hold the business sustainable, sometimes decisions seem to made by greed. Sometimes stockagencies and contributors seem to don't have the same interest. But I try to hold in mind that there's a crucial difference to drive a big stockagency business nowadays in a quick changing world and to drive my own small one!
Different:  like between a captain of one of the biggest cruiseships in the world and me rowing my own small boat on the river.

« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2011, 09:45 »
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...You say: they can do whatever they want. Yes, they can, but: they don't have the right to do whatever they want....


Of course they have the right.  They pay the bills.  Including whatever contributors charge them to sell their work.  Contributors have the right to leave anytime they don't like the deal.

fred

« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2011, 09:54 »
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istock want half..

I think you're too optimistic on that one:

"In the event iStockphoto elects not to proceed against an Infringer, the Supplier shall have the right to proceed against such Infringer for such license violation or infringing action. The Supplier hereby agrees that any monetary recovery it receives as a result of any legal action taken against any such Infringer, to the extent such monies are intended to compensate the Supplier for lost licensing fees or include statutory damages, shall, after deduction of all costs and expenses incurred in gaining such recovery (including, without limitation, reasonable counsel and experts' fees and disbursements on a solicitor and client basis), be divided between the Supplier and iStockphoto pursuant to the provisions of the Compensation section above. "

They'll take up to 85%.

Wow.

« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2011, 10:49 »
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First of all thank you all very much for your support!

I have a strong feeling iStock is in a transitional phase going from a relaxed environment to a corporate one with the inevitable semi-apocalyptical implosion that usually follows.

The fact that they don't seem to have systems present to prevent the most obvious problems of todays corporations is proof of that.
They know this and they seem to be trying to change everything at the same time possibly under high pressure of the Getty group.
During this transition they seem to treat their contributors as cattle, killing the weak, smooth talking the strong and silencing/ignoring the ones that retaliate or ask questions.

I am only a bit shocked on how they get away with this to be honest which is why I wanted my voice to be heard.
There are far better ways to conduct business than this and I feel for the ones who invested time and money into iStock only to realize they are now depending on a business that doesn't care about them at all.

I understand forums have to be policed, I myself am a moderator of a well know 3D community and know all too well how this works.
However, I would never send out an intimidating sitemail to someone in the way Lobo just sent me one.
I can see he has to do his job and keep the peace but I feel he is taking this a tad too far.
When he posted the thread where he stated we could no longer post "+1" messages (meaning we agree with the above) because they take up space in the thread I instantly knew I would meet him verbally very soon...

In all honesty I still think iStock is doing a really good job and if they succeed they will harvest the benefits of their efforts.
I only wish they would keep their priority-list in good order to prevent all these silly and unfortunate mishaps that seem to follow each other faster every time.

In any case I wish you all the best.
Kurt

« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2011, 11:07 »
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This is not IS specific, or directed at them specifically, it's for any forum run by anyone. Consider the other agency which announced that what we write on blogs or outside public forums, could be cause for having our sales account closed. Now that's beyond and over the top and censorship. But the problem is, it's legal because they can do whatever they want.

Cheers for your insight RacePhoto,
Could i ask which agency made this bold statement and maybe even a link to it ?
I wonder how far they can strecht statements like that... "We hereby inform you that we have come to your house and slapped your kids around a bit because you said our agency smells like a dead hamster. Please don't make us come over there again. Sincerely yours."

« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2011, 13:31 »
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What they seem to be missing over there is that all the contributors to those forums have a vested interest in iS doing well.  If the company does well, the contributors do well - and vice versa.  I have had too many posts deleted where I was trying to provide "constructive" criticism.  For that, I'll just keep my thoughts to myself now or post them over here.  Furthermore, I'm not going to waste my time troubleshooting the web site, and bringing malfunctions to their table, if they won't allow me to participate in other ways.  I am not paid for troubleshooting.  You reap what you sow!

« Reply #20 on: February 03, 2011, 13:38 »
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Quote
Of course they have the right.  They pay the bills.

So when I pay the bills, I have the right to do whatever I want?

"Having the power" and "having the right" are not the same things!

« Reply #21 on: February 03, 2011, 13:41 »
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This is not IS specific, or directed at them specifically, it's for any forum run by anyone. Consider the other agency which announced that what we write on blogs or outside public forums, could be cause for having our sales account closed. Now that's beyond and over the top and censorship. But the problem is, it's legal because they can do whatever they want.

Cheers for your insight RacePhoto,
Could i ask which agency made this bold statement and maybe even a link to it ?
I wonder how far they can strecht statements like that... "We hereby inform you that we have come to your house and slapped your kids around a bit because you said our agency smells like a dead hamster. Please don't make us come over there again. Sincerely yours."

Sounds like fauxtolia (well, that isn't how you spell it, but it still sounds like the sort of crap they'd pull).

« Reply #22 on: February 03, 2011, 13:50 »
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Quote
Of course they have the right.  They pay the bills.

So when I pay the bills, I have the right to do whatever I want?

"Having the power" and "having the right" are not the same things!

You just don't get it.  If they don't pay the bills no one has the right to do anything on the site because there is no site.  Like the man said - Your right to swing your fists ends where another persons nose begins.  Your right to post in their forum ends when what you post damages their business.  What does or does not damage their business is up to them to decide.  Their forum their rules. 

If you work for a company, or sell your product through a company do you think that gives you the right to post anything you want on their bulletin board?   

Does someone really need to explain this to you?

fred

« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2011, 13:55 »
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Quote
Of course they have the right.  They pay the bills.

So when I pay the bills, I have the right to do whatever I want?

"Having the power" and "having the right" are not the same things!

You just don't get it.  If they don't pay the bills no one has the right to do anything on the site because there is no site.  Like the man said - Your right to swing your fists ends where another persons nose begins.  Your right to post in their forum ends when what you post damages their business.  What does or does not damage their business is up to them to decide.  Their forum their rules. 

If you work for a company, or sell your product through a company do you think that gives you the right to post anything you want on their bulletin board?   

Does someone really need to explain this to you?

fred

LOL

thank you IS for paying the bills and letting the website online (not that often happens) but heck yeah pay the * hosting so we can make loads of money, not IS :)

« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2011, 14:03 »
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do you think that gives you the right to post anything you want on their bulletin board?   

Does someone really need to explain this to you?

fred

From what I can see the OP wasn't being abusive, he inadvertently questioned the authority of the "boss" by stating his belief in free speech. You can construe this as "anything you want", hiding behind this is my sandbox mentality if you like, but the fact is the only reason the sandbox exists is because everyone there contributes their hard work and creativity to the cause. You see it's almost like, gosh, being in a democracy, where you contribute and feel that you should be heard or a least able to vent some some of your concerns. The company isn't just THE COMPANY it's a tiny bit of everyone who contributes.


 

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