MicrostockGroup Sponsors


Author Topic: iStock Stirs the Pot Once Again  (Read 15092 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

« Reply #25 on: August 26, 2006, 15:33 »
0
Your opinion on the matter is well stated amanda1863. The core nugget of truth that I see there is that "while this may be a gray area, they (and their in-house lawyer) judge this to be within bounds as far as their EULA." It is that judgement on the part of istock that startled me so and has made me have a change of mind about using friends and family as istock models.

With that in mind, I am looking for advice or opinions from anyone who wishes to offer one about the use of non- professional models on other stock sites. I had decided to return to exclusivity with istock after my 6 month obligation to Dreamstime had passed, but this whole episode has caused me to rethink that decision. I remain hesitant about posting model shots at Dreamstime or ShutterStock... should I be?

What about Rights Managed sites? Is my understanding correct that RM sales are more controlled? I'm vaguely familiar with Alamy but wonder if there are other less pricey RM companies. Any advice appreciated.

I guess that lastly I need to clarify that I don't really want to argue whether istock was justified or not to make the judgement that they did. It is what it is and I can work with that. Whether I (or you) agree with it is not the point. I am just trying to figure out how to proceed from here.


« Reply #26 on: August 26, 2006, 16:04 »
0
Well, what did I say all along about iStock being the evil Walmart of microstocks? Anyways, I am one of the people who has removed all of his model released photos. Good riddance: I'm not going to have my girlfriend potentially on a right-wing fascist ad, my grandma advertising Chipendales or my mom with a thought bubble "Satanism. Is it for me?"

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #27 on: August 26, 2006, 16:44 »
0
What kind of images does that leave you with?  How well do they sell?  (Not that I'm asking you to reveal trade secrets . . .  :D).

Well, what did I say all along about iStock being the evil Walmart of microstocks? Anyways, I am one of the people who has removed all of his model released photos. Good riddance: I'm not going to have my girlfriend potentially on a right-wing fascist ad, my grandma advertising Chipendales or my mom with a thought bubble "Satanism. Is it for me?"

amanda1863

« Reply #28 on: August 26, 2006, 20:36 »
0
Well, what did I say all along about iStock being the evil Walmart of microstocks? Anyways, I am one of the people who has removed all of his model released photos. Good riddance: I'm not going to have my girlfriend potentially on a right-wing fascist ad, my grandma advertising Chipendales or my mom with a thought bubble "Satanism. Is it for me?"

As I mentioned their legal language is very similar to that of many of the other stock houses and in Royalty Free licensing this is in fact a borderline case.  It could happen anywhere, and there is certainly a chance that other agencies would come to the same conclusion about the this particualr use being (barley) within bounds.

I think the issue here is industry wide, especially as applies to microstock, and the importance of a very clear understanding by the photographer of the royalty free licensing is paramount.

As for you removing your files from iStock, I am really curious after having read your comments why you persist in keeping a portfolio at a site that you profess to hate so much. You don't seem to understand that your shots of models on Shutterstock or Dreamstime or anywhere else could very well end up on  "right wing" or radical right political campaign ad, as long as the image is not meant to mislead the viewer into believing this is an actual person that supports the cause as in your thought bubble example.  It is a fine line that requires full understanding before you decide to jump into selling model released images.

Take a closer look at the ELUAs of the other sites you mention.  Not one of them spells out a comprehensive list of exactly what uses are ok and which ones cross the line.  it is all written in standardly vague CYA legal speak.

While some may like to simplyify it down to "iStock is evil!" some may want to take the time to look at is a sobering example and use it as an opportunity to learn more about the industry.  It will only become a profession is you treat it like one.

One last thing, when comparing iStock to Walmart, remeber that they started the entire microstock industry and started by being a free photo trading site, gorwing into only charging a few pennies for bandwidth and developing a brilliant business model as they went which has now been copied in varying degrees by several of the other sites listed on this forum. As far as I can tell Walmart and iStock don't have too much in common, at least history wise.

« Reply #29 on: August 26, 2006, 22:07 »
0
Nice portfolio Amanda1863. Honestly.

As for you removing your files from iStock, I am really curious after having read your comments why you persist in keeping a portfolio at a site that you profess to hate so much. You don't seem to understand that your shots of models on Shutterstock or Dreamstime or anywhere else could very well end up on  "right wing" or radical right political campaign ad, as long as the image is not meant to mislead the viewer into believing this is an actual person that supports the cause as in your thought bubble example.  It is a fine line that requires full understanding before you decide to jump into selling model released images.

Take a closer look at the ELUAs of the other sites you mention.  Not one of them spells out a comprehensive list of exactly what uses are ok and which ones cross the line.  it is all written in standardly vague CYA legal speak.

Now pardon me for not taking your objections seriously as we see that you are a full time exclusive member at iStock heavily involved in the community based on your posts, referrals and battle cage activity. It's nice that you like iStock so much. Just as I like Starbucks. Or as another Joe likes Walmart. It doesn't mean that others have to as well.

You are really curious after having read my comments why I persist in keeping a portfolio at a site that I profess to hate so much? Well, I shall give you two reasons, which I've stated before many times: 1) money: even after removal of my model released photos iStock still generates a solid income payment every month (and that's for not being exclusive), 2) I do not mind my photos of buildings, tomatoes or bees pollinating flowers on there. Stock is not art. I do not feel attached to my work I submit to microstock. It's technically perfect, conceptually useful for designers, yet devoid of any emotional or artistic value. Anything else I've ever shot, I would never upload to microstock, 3) whatever makes you feel that I "hate iStock so much"? I believe that they are over the top, arrogant and bloated company with bunch of inflated egos going about, acting like they are God's gift to the world, not acknowledging the wonderful photographers and illustrators (like yourself) who make what they are. But they do a good job of marketing and attracting buyers, so just like I will criticize Walmart for their arogance and labour practices, I will still buy t-shirts there; similarly with iStock: as long as they keep making me money I have no problems with selling my pictures there. I am a pragmatist. I have embraced microstocks as "the necessary evil" and come out well ahead.

And I understand quite well the reprecussions of having model released shots elsewhere. The point is how admins and others approach their relationship with those who make them money, i.e.: us the photogs / illustrators and the buyers / designers. iStock is without a doubt (and this is proven and can be shown by the number of locked threads, number of bans of members due to criticism, even quality of their customer service responses: which I can provide as well) filled with most blatantly self-important and arrogant staff out there. And this isn't my opinion. I try to keep my interaction with iStock to a bare minimum. I use it purely for making money, not giving a rat's ass about their "community" of moderated sycophants. And here I shall restate the point I made in the paragraph before: I think iStock does a wonderful job of marketing and sales, and I agree with you that they invented a brilliant business model. But I do know from experience that you got to keep up with the times or you will go down into the shits. And this recent issue where several well selling members of iStock (follow their thread and you'll know who they are) withdrawn their model released photos (to the total of about five thousand photos from just six portfolios) in protest / moral dillema illustrates that point clearly. Perhaps iStock can afford to do so with their fleet of exclusives.

While some may like to simplyify it down to "iStock is evil!" some may want to take the time to look at is a sobering example and use it as an opportunity to learn more about the industry.  It will only become a profession is you treat it like one.

I should really find the above quoted bit a little condescending. But I suppose sycophants for all sites will infiltrate the forums, as do the admins. For your information: I do not need to treat it as a profession, as I've been making a living as a full time photographer for quite a long time. PHOTOGRAPHY is my profession, not MICROSTOCK and I suppose that's where we differ. I simply wouldn't feel comfortable putting all my eggs into one basket. Commissioned assignments provide about half of my income, selling through traditional methods (mags, macrostocks, specialized agencies) another quarter. The final quarter of my monthly income comes from microstocks: primarily six agencies that generate a payment monthly and four others that trickle along like a slightly open tap. So as you can see, I'm deeply entrenched in photography, just to restate again: not microstock. And definitely not iStock.

Well, that's it for me. It's 5 in the morning. Sun shall be up soon, so I better get my camera ready for the golden hour.

« Reply #30 on: August 26, 2006, 22:28 »
0
What kind of images does that leave you with?  How well do they sell?  (Not that I'm asking you to reveal trade secrets . . .  :D).

No trade secrets involved here. :) Especially with the microstocks having "Top photos" lists available for everyone to peruse. My portfolio now purely consists of:

1. variety of architecture shots (primarily the least original photos that fall by the waysides of my assignment shoots: I am involved in a lot of corporate construction / architecture shooting)
2. selection of non-exclusive travel stock I've accumulated along the years of freelancing for Travel & Leisure, Vacations, Conde Nast Traveller, Natural Geographic Adventurer, etc.
3. experiments with a light tent / studio setup of shooting socks, CD's, hammers, half-eaten sandwiches and plates of spaghetti.

That's pretty much it. I do have just couple principles for submission to microstock: I never send pictures with the "ooh and aah" factor. Yes, they would make me more money on microstock (my best selling photo on micros is now worth just under $1000, my best selling macrostock photo is now worth $819, the most I ever gotten for a single assignment shot: $500 for a cover), but on principle I just won't do it. I do not submit any of my previously sold assignment photos, even if they weren't exclusive (if they were good enough to sell for $50-$100 a pop, I won't have them at a discounted rate of $1). I do not submit pictures of myself as a model: ever! :)

amanda1863

« Reply #31 on: August 26, 2006, 23:30 »
0
Kacper, I never said everyone had to like iStock.  And if you think I'm condescending in my remarks I don't mean to be, but you did just say that you don't take my opinion or objection seriously.  I think if people are allowed to express a negative opinion iStock I should be able to share my opinion even if it differs from yours.  If I seem like I am being too personal with you, I apologize, it is because the first posts I saw on this site were from you and were insulting to some people that I consider friends and mentors who have always been good to me and perfectly pleasent in my experience.  I didn't say they were perfect and you have every right to disagree.  That's the beauty of free speech.  I hope you and I can agree to disagree (which we clearly do :D ) and get on with some useful discussion and debate which can be really healthy, and this board seems to be a great place for that.

The point I was getting at with the quote about treating microstock as a profession ( I didn't word it clearly,) is that the more it is treated like a serious business the more likely the individual contributer is to succeed monetarily in microstock, whether it is a full time income or supplementary income, on one site or many. That wasn't directed specifically at you at all actually it was a feeling I was getting from some of the comments in that thread at iStock where people were saying that it isn't about money for them and they only wanted to shoot family and things like that.  I just thought it seemed over there to be more of a divide between the people who have very few uploads and don't see it as an income source, and the people who are really serious about building up as much revenue as possible.

On a side note I am an exclusive to iStock for many reasons and one of the big differences to keep in mind (or that I will try to) is that I may have a much different perspective on it being a vector artist. there aren't many outlets at these prices for illustration.  The numbers don't lie on that, I'm not one of the leading illustrators there by any means, but overall vectors get more downloads per file than photos simply because there are less of them at this time, but that may change.

As far as the photo perspective and my opinions on the model issues in this thread, I did have a portfolio of photos when I started which are all deactivated because I wanted to focus on illustration. (And I'm not that great a photographer truth be told.)  The other basis for my opinions on the legal issues here come from having to deal with the cold hard truth that what the lawyer says goes, and in having a few conflicts where I had to enlist iStock's legal team in the past.

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #32 on: August 27, 2006, 00:43 »
0
I think that Amanda makes a good point here, as does kacper.  As Amanda points out, there are a number of people out in Microstock Land who simply want to sell a picture or two of relatives.  They tend to dilute the gene pool, as it were, by reducing the professionalism.  Those of us who are serious about it--whether beginners like me or others like Phil and kacper who have already proven themselves by their portfolios--should think about what these other people are doing to microstock.  They not only reduce the credibility of microstock as an enterprise, they dilute our earnings by making our good images hard to find in the dross that they fill the sites with.  They also come to this enterprise with unrealistic expectations, based on romantic notions of what it means to be a photographer. 

As much as I despise the Istock response that started this thread, it has brought this divide between professionals and wannabes to the fore.  I believe we need to recognize that photos of friends and family shouldn't necessarily contribute to our revenue streams.  Let professional/paid models who understand the risks do that for us--not our loved ones.  This is a business, not a family photo shoot.  And, Istock will not protect our models; it is not in Istock's best interest to do so, as there are many photographers and illustrators as skilled as any of us to take our places.  We need to protect our models ourselves.

On the other hand, kacper is correct in saying that the sites have an obligation to run themselves in an ethical fashion.  If our agents aren't going to protect us, why should we allow them to continue to profit at our expense?  A reputable agent would put more than 10 people on staff to police the use of over 1,000,000 images.  This is an undeniable truth.  Istock had better fix this PR and ethics problem, pronto--or they will be replaced by other agencies.  Kacper says he is a pragmatist; how long will he keep his images with an agency that doesn't protect those images?  At what point will the profit be balanced by losses due to theft because Istock won't enforce its policies?

I think that you two are saying essentially the same thing--that the microstock industry had better learn how to protect its suppliers and run an ethical business.  You just disagree in the extent to which you think Istock is unethical and/or heartless.  While defending Istock, Amanda has repeatedly said that she disagrees with Istock policy.  And she also correctly points out that this policy hardly differs by agency.  She is certainly no sycophant.  Nonetheless, I respect Kacper for taking a nice ethical stand by removing his model images from Istock.  I would argue he should do the same thing for all the other sites like Shutterstock and Fotolia, who run by the same rules--just not quite so visibly.

You also agree that this is a business.  The disagreement is in how personally involved we should be with those who run the business.  In the end, however, Istock had better take its suppliers' concerns more seriously.  Locking out offensive threads is not the way to take us seriously.  This "community" they profess to care for could easily desert them.  And, let's be honest here.  "Community" don't feed the cat.

This whole debacle highlights the problems with the microstock industry.  I know that I will make just enough money to upgrade my equipment, and in this I'm realistic.   But, I'd rather work for someone I can trust.  Do either of you need a modestly talented assistant from Colorado?

« Reply #33 on: August 27, 2006, 00:56 »
0
Do either of you need a modestly talented assistant from Colorado?

I think the commute to Singapore every day would kill you!

« Reply #34 on: August 27, 2006, 03:20 »
0
Well you're right. We agree to disagree. I wasn't dissing anyone in particular at iStock, but rather the admins in general and I had personal dealings with quite a few. And believe you me Amanda, besides Brianna, the rest took a rather lofty: "what . do you want?" approach. Being an exclusive, you're likely to have nice feelings about iStock, because as many people will point out here: iStock treats their exclusives much nicer. Much MUCH nicer. Seperate fast queue, very relaxed approvals. Preferrences for every contest, AOTW, IOTW, etc.

And it was the same attitude about this "grandpa porn" design. Putting the issue to the side, it's about how it was handled. As long as it was people mainly discussing whether or not it was a good design, whether it crossed the line or not and just one photographer expressing their concern and suggesting that he's pulling pictures it was left on. Then legal beale chips in saying "pretty much our release is so fluffy that we are protected, but can't and won't do anything about issues like that" and many photogs start to worry about their models. Of course the ones that worry most are the photogs with their children and wives and girlfriends in their portfolio, not semi-pro models. Then two admins chips in with some sarcastic remarks and the worried photogs get yet more pissed off and messages about pulling model released photos start flowing in. Pretty soon, thread is locked.

Now to something completely different. Take a look at this thread http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=38573&page=1. It's about piracy. It's about stealing music and videos. Whether you do it or not is not important. Check out the admins "sarcastic" comment that pretty much outlines the best way to steal work off the internet. You'd think that people that are in business in selling copyrighted works woud be a little less hypocritical about things like that...

« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2006, 07:32 »
0
As Amanda points out, there are a number of people out in Microstock Land who simply want to sell a picture or two of relatives.  They tend to dilute the gene pool, as it were, by reducing the professionalism.  Those of us who are serious about it--whether beginners like me or others like Phil and kacper who have already proven themselves by their portfolios--should think about what these other people are doing to microstock.  They not only reduce the credibility of microstock as an enterprise, they dilute our earnings by making our good images hard to find in the dross that they fill the sites with.  They also come to this enterprise with unrealistic expectations, based on romantic notions of what it means to be a photographer.

I hardly think that you should blaim the amateur for trying to make some money off of their photos.

You should be blaming the agencies for accepting their stuff.  If it is not up to par, then it should be rejected.

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #36 on: August 27, 2006, 09:02 »
0
Absolutely, I agree.  My bad.


I hardly think that you should blaim the amateur for trying to make some money off of their photos.

You should be blaming the agencies for accepting their stuff.  If it is not up to par, then it should be rejected.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 09:10 by Professorgb »

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #37 on: August 27, 2006, 09:13 »
0
You know, it's not the sarcasm that bothers me here (although the humor is juvenile).  What bothers me is the implicit support for piracy on a site whose contributors would lose money from exactly the piracy they're advocating.

Why don't they lock that thread?  This is exactly the type of unethical behavior I was talking about.  If this kind of stuff is more widely advertised, it will be a PR nightmare.  These people need to learn how to run a business.

Thanks for the post.

Now to something completely different. Take a look at this thread http://www.istockphoto.com/forum_messages.php?threadid=38573&page=1. It's about piracy. It's about stealing music and videos. Whether you do it or not is not important. Check out the admins "sarcastic" comment that pretty much outlines the best way to steal work off the internet. You'd think that people that are in business in selling copyrighted works woud be a little less hypocritical about things like that...

amanda1863

« Reply #38 on: August 27, 2006, 10:19 »
0
I really do wonder if there will be a point in the near future (and I am torn on this,) if the forums at iStock will become all business which seems to be the way it's leaning in the main forum and pretty much everywhere except the off topic forum.  On one hand I would miss some of the exchanges with people I've been chatting with for years, on the other hand I am learning to hold the whole community a bit more at arms length on the site and to limit my personal interactions to blogs etc. where it's not right out there in front of the customer and I am beginning to wish others would too.  It seems like a bit of a struggle latley and that's a whole different discussion!

Your right Kacper, it is hypocritical. Bad PR is bad PR and that thread could absolutley be categorised as unprofessional in certain light. Nor do I personally agree with stealing anything, which is something having my own work stolen repeatedly has taught me.  Now I use iTunes and lecture anyone who doesn't pay for their music. ;)  (A discussion I've had in private with a few who posted in that thread.)

Professor, I believe by now we owe you an hourly fee for mediation!

Greg Boiarsky

« Reply #39 on: August 27, 2006, 10:48 »
0
Heck, I owe you two for the fun you've provided, and the insight.  This is exactly why I joined this site--a frank exchange of ideas to learn from and participate in.

Now, if only Istock will review my files.  Because so many of their contributors are exclusives, I find myself waiting in line while they get all their files reviewed.  It makes it hard for someone like me to even consider exclusivity because I can't get reviewed fast enough (and upload enough) to reach the requisite 500 DL.

Professor, I believe by now we owe you an hourly fee for mediation!

« Reply #40 on: August 27, 2006, 16:36 »
0
No kidding. With their new lowered limits... blimey I used to be able to submit 50 a week, now... not even worth mentioning.

Aah... iTunes... Love 'em, especially now that they have Stargate SG-1 episodes available to download (no Stargate SG-1 where I'm at :(). I reckon I spend ten times more money on iTunes that I've ever spent on CD's. Brilliant system and it proves the point that most people don't want to steal music. I'll spend an average of $10-$15 a month now, get the 10-15 songs I want, everyone wins, everyone's happy. I'll still pirate an occassional song now and then, but only if I can't get it on iTunes or iPlay, and that's rare. So far this year I ripped two songs, as compared to hundreds per month before iTunes and other services were available.


Heck, I owe you two for the fun you've provided, and the insight.  This is exactly why I joined this site--a frank exchange of ideas to learn from and participate in.

Now, if only Istock will review my files.  Because so many of their contributors are exclusives, I find myself waiting in line while they get all their files reviewed.  It makes it hard for someone like me to even consider exclusivity because I can't get reviewed fast enough (and upload enough) to reach the requisite 500 DL.



 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
2 Replies
6123 Views
Last post July 25, 2006, 06:12
by leaf
5 Replies
12288 Views
Last post August 22, 2006, 15:49
by amanda1863
5 Replies
3468 Views
Last post October 27, 2006, 12:10
by CJPhoto
3 Replies
3509 Views
Last post November 20, 2006, 19:19
by yingyang0
3 Replies
3716 Views
Last post January 26, 2007, 14:53
by madelaide

Sponsors

Mega Bundle of 5,900+ Professional Lightroom Presets

Microstock Poll Results

Sponsors

3100 Posing Cards Bundle