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Messages - Stocksaurus

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As a non-artist (can't draw or paint) and former paid, live musical hack for 40 years, I think you make some good points.

Small disagreement, I like Pollock, and have since the 60s. Jack the Dripper, was interesting, not sure about colors, but the patterns amuse me.

I don't own any posters of any of the above, or many others you could have listed, but Warhol, and other trendy pop artists are simply marketing wizards at best. Collectors or investors drive the prices and attraction not the lasting quality.

I also agree with you and I wouldn't hang any of that crap on the wall in the bathroom!  ;D

You are also right that I couldn't create most of it and haven't, but I have made my own, which of course, since you don't see my name on billboards or in news magazines, obviously hasn't touched the souls of the public. However the saving point is, sometimes I like what I do, and that's the point of satisfaction. Not many, not often, but sometimes...

Well at least you tried to paint something and now you know that it takes years to reach a decent level of painting skills.
The difference with you and the non-painters is that unlike you they don't even try, but this doesn't stop their rants and raves, they want to sneak in the art field no matter what and when they're in they also want to teach us what's good and what's bad.

Once you try it's very satisfying, no matter if it looks like sh.. , you've done it and it's yours forever.

I tried so many times to incite friends and relatives to draw a couple lines with paper and pencil or to play a few notes, with zero results, even their kids don't try or don't like it, i give up, i guess they just don't think visually or musically and i'm afraid there's nothing we can do, if they were even a 1% artist-oriented they would probably draw or play something by themselves without needing any external input.

It's sad to see what stock has become. And how it appears the agents show no interest in protecting the copyright of artists work.
You'd think in this day and age it would be easy to monitor.

I want nothing to do with it anymore.

The problem is always with non-artists.
Non-artists are envious of our artistic talent, they crave it, they're foaming from their mouth, all my life i had to listen to their BS including statements like "if i just could draw/shoot/play/write i would do this or that and become this or that".

Sorry guys, if you're not an artist your only option is to buy $$ or shut the F up, accept it and move on with your (miserable) life.
And yet they never give up, i see plenty of people trying to become "art experts" without having ever painted anything, graphic designers who can't draw a straight line, photo experts who only shoot their dog and their girlfriend with a phone, music critics who never played an instrument and neither can play using a computer, this is the world we live in.

As a last chance they steal, copy, remix, remake, resell, and grab rights or even sales.
For millions of young people listening to music now means listening to a DJ, live bands are more and more a thing of the past.
Same for photography, everyone loves photography but try getting paid fairly and ...
Painting .. i lost count of the homes i've been where i've seen posters of Pollock, Wahrol, Banksy, or random fluid art or abstracts, because "they love colors".

What can we do ? nothing, we must accept this can only get worse and be prepared.

So SS has become a kind of pixabay site where photographer can upload their photo/video for free and not to expect any price for their images/videos (other than 10 cents) and  seldom more than 10 cents like people ocassionslly donate few dollars in pixabay.

Exactly, and what did you expect ?
it's in the name : micro stock == micro profit

The promise of microstock was "sell cheap / sell many".
This is no longer true in 2021, now it's just "sell cheap", it's a failed model for photographers and a bargain for agencies and buyers.

On top of this there's rampant piracy all over the place, the inflation is booming and everyone with a phone has been told that now he's a photographer and videomaker, just look at the new iphone 13 marketing campaign ..

Question is, how long will people keep uploading to these agencies ?
Sooner or later the point of non return must be reached, but yeah maybe lots of contributors are just happy to upload as a pixabay/unsplash/flickr surrogate ?

For a new user it is impossible to get ahead of these in the search. Too big ! And the search for each keyword only shows the first 35 pages. About 2,500 results.

It's not a curated gallery and this is the obvious result.
In 2015 Flickr had already 4 billion images, good luck being found there in 2021.

I can't even imagine how many billion pics are on Instagram now.

reading some of these replies, I'm rather shocked no one mentioned this...

The pendumlum swings back when you learn how to do your OWN marketing, and be EFFECTIVE at it.

Most artists (and I get this) don't like marketing, because it is "work". But once you figure out a formula that WORKS - so start seeing nice returns.
While "stock agencies" are nice (and I 100% admit I use them myself) - they aren't the only way of making $$$ from your work. Start seeing that, learn & apply, and you'll see increased $$$.

and just HOW do you propose someone do this???  there are NO NICE RETURNS anymore from self hosted microstock sites

Scarcity and exclusivity.
Look at all the Instagram models selling memberships to their OnlyFans page.

$25 commission is my fair price for allowing someone to own a print of one of my photos, as I determined it?  8)  A little more if they print larger.

I should really set all prints at $30 and up, so one sale, covers my whole years subscription? Hey, there's a plan?

It's up to you to fairly and honestly price your works, nobody else can or should tell you otherwise.

The low-price leaders are the dropshippers, you can't beat them and it's not even worth it to compete with them.

Yes, that is where my photos were listed. The only other categories, I believe, are vintage and craft supplies.

Well, good luck then.
As shown already in this long discussion you will have to fight thieves on a full time basis, in the meantime they're making sales and giving nothing back apart saying they're sorry when they get caught.

All I got from that is there is a level of acceptable risk for you to use photos you may or may not have the rights to.

In the end i will ditch the composites i can't assemble with parts of my own photos, it's useless to waste money with EL licenses or trying your luck using CC0/PublicDomain images of dubious origin.


Hello, I have been following this thread closely as I have had to report people on Etsy, redbubble, society six, and flickr as well. I did a little digging at Etsy because one of the thieves said that they bought a license through Adobe. According to Etsy's handbook, reselling is not allowed period. So anyone selling any work from someone else is breaking the rules, license or no.

Reselling is not allowed only in the Handmade category, it's ok everywhere else.

I agree with this scenario and this can be seen to be happening at the moment.

I think Art is the way forward and this requires quality, which a great many Microstockers are going to fine difficult if not impossible to do.

Personally this is the way I have been moving in recent years, the treadmill of the agencies is finished, though on saying this I suspect that some of the agencies will move, and have moved into high end quality photography and graphics.

I think Adobe is one of these agencies, obviously SS and Getty/istock are bottom feeders and in the long run finished.

I'm sure many microstockers can up their game and become a bit more creative, but yes it's impossible they can easily switch and become full Artists, either you think like and artist or you don't.

It's not a matter of quality but of subjects, ideas, combinations, if people don't think you're crazy you're probably not artsy enough.
If you're normal how can you invent crazy stuff ?


No. As I said, that internet celebrity was using legally licensed photos from SS, to promote his photography skills and sell his tours.

But I am curious about one thing: what are you trying to achieve here by trying so hard to convince this community that any fight against thieves is futile?

I'm asking because, as someone pointed out to me, in your very first post made on this forum, you were looking for free extended licenses exactly for selling "Prints and Merch on PODs" (see attached).

Ooh plot twist.

There's no plot twist :

As an example i've drawn the sketch of a composite where i need a background with an erupting volcano, two lions, a semi nude girl of a specific ethnicity in a specific position and style i don't have in my photo archive, other 3-4 small objects i can't shoot at the moment.

What should i do ? take an airplane to shoot the lions in africa, the volcano in iceland, and another airplane to shoot the girl in exotic distant countries, or just buy all of them as stock images ?

If possible i'll use stock, at the cheapest price, otherwise i'll have to ditch this project or as a last option use pics from Unsplash or Pixabay with the risk of using images that have no model release or were outright stolen from stock agencies or whatever.

Now, i could risk it for small objects but not for the central object (the girl, which definetely needs a model release).
Sure,i could just shoot my girlfriend and case closed, but then the whole idea behind the composite wouldn't make sense.

Even mixing and matching EL stock images with small CC0 images and using heavy filtering and editing it's still a "derivative work" unless you own 100% of the licenses, and you're stuck in a gray area legally at least in europe while in the US you could get away with "fair use" somehow.

No. As I said, that internet celebrity was using legally licensed photos from SS, to promote his photography skills and sell his tours.

But I am curious about one thing: what are you trying to achieve here by trying so hard to convince this community that any fight against thieves is futile?

I'm asking because, as someone pointed out to me, in your very first post made on this forum, you were looking for free extended licenses exactly for selling "Prints and Merch on PODs" (see attached).

Wrong, i'm seeking cheap extended licenses to make complex "composites" and it can get easily unaffordable unless i find a way to keep costs low.
I would never buy a single image to resell on PODs, i've already my own photos to deal with.

As for the internet celebrity, the irony is a famous photographer is not using his own photos to promote his product on his own site, this is the worst thing a travel photographer can do but again i'm not surprised.

Shooting for a fair middle that will get sales and make me happy. $25 is that point for prints.

There's nothing to be afraid or scared in asking a fair price, FineArt is supposed to be a luxury item after all, it's not microstock.

Copytrack worked with me and chased some famous photographer who was selling his worldwide photography tours using my photos. While it was very wrong from an ethical point of view, legally he was ok since he purchased licenses from SS. He apologized and blamed his website administrator for the "error".

The other thing I just realized, it that some Etsy sellers are purchasing and reselling Prints made by others who may or may not have the right licenses. In this case, it's harder to go to the source and check if the printing shop has the correct licenses. indeed.

Hahaha it's getting funny, a travel photographer using unlicensed travel images from somebody else :)
Why i'm not surprised ...

Etsy "arbitrage" ? Yes, and it also happens on Fiverr and other platforms, as i said already it's a total sh-itshow and a digital wild west, nothing is going to change until new draconian laws are enacted worldwide to protect digital artists from theft and copyright infringement.

The question was "...when do you think the pendulum will swing back." and who works for who. NOT producing art or high value art. Please follow? Because of technology, the methods of marketing and distribution of Music, photography and many other artists works, are now global, via Internet, electronically, not through, shipping or mail, for physical products.

The pendulum will never swing back. And what I said was, we work for ourselves, not the agency and the agency doesn't work for us. We are independent producers. We must find the way to be seen and to market our work. Some do that on their own, some with large representative agents and some on Microstock.

I think the pendulum will never swing back in our favour because the markets already "corrected" themselves years ago.
There's not a single reason for a product like Stock that anyone can cheaply produce in big quantity to become expensive.

In order to return being expensive you need scarcity, and that's why i mentioned FineArt, while there are millions of stockers there are not millions of photographers able to make FineArt, at best they can make Creative images but not Art, big difference.

In any case even doing Art you won't have the same audience as microstock and neither the same quick sales.

There are still many ways to get your images seen around but it won't happen with common microstock images, it can only happen with creative non-stocky photos.

Most of the microstockers will give up, sell their gear, and keep photography as a hobby shooting with their phone.

Having read all the above comments, it really seems that no one has the answer to when things will change for the better.

At this point several options are gone forever, imagine trying to sell stock images of a sunset or of your dog, this kind of images has just become  worthless and there's no going back, on the other hand i could use a worthless sunset as a background and carefully edit a couple dogs as the central subject, add some text and magically it becomes a nice "composite" which could be worth some money as a FineArt composition or for commercial purposes or whatever else.

Sunsets can be boring, but if it's a sunset of planet mars or the last sunset of a famous city before a vulcano eruption or a heartquake it could be unique and impossible to copy, same for the image of a dog if it's the dog of a famous celebrity, see what i mean ?

But if we stick to micros none of these options is available, we can't even set the price.

... and another one:

My License is really not extended commercial.
I really can't use photography for production.

Please accept my apologies.

You can write to me directly if you notice a violation on my part and I will remove the photos immediately! Since I'm not the only one working with the store, I also have design mockups. Although this is my responsibility!
The photos you complained about will never be uploaded again!

Thanks for your patience and understanding.

I don't think they're honest but if you browse the many t-shirt/merch forums like there's a ton of discussions about "where to find free design for POD/merch" and they seem to really know nothing about licensing and copyright in general, it's a digital wild west, all they know is they bought expensive printers and now they must make money no matter what.


Any such experiences? I thinking about filing a claim with Copytrack, if Etsy doesn't listen.

Copytrack won't listen as well if the thief is based in a third world country, moreover you probably haven't registered your photos to the US copyright office (, and what about the photo in question, do you own the RAW file or it was just shot as JPG ?

Etsy legally isn't even obliged to give you an answer or to deal too much with all this, the DMCA full covers their as-s, so ...
Their remarks are correct, either you sue the thief or it's none of their business, actually if the thief is selling a lot more than you they could wisely kick YOU out of their platform.

Yep, hence we all need to be a little pro-active in this endeavor. If good men like us didn't do anything, then this kind of behavior will spread like a pandemic.

Oh well, just yesterday i've seen prints/merch of Keith Haring, Wahrol, and Basquiat sold on amazon and other PODs, as low as 5$ for stickers or socks and as high as 300$ for big prints.

Now, there are specialized agencies dealing with licensing of those artists for Merch and i don't think these gangs of dropshippers have paid for it, the Keith Haring Foundation has its own licencing page on their site and they seem to deal only with big brands, same for the Andy Warhol Foundation and many other famous artists represented by art galleries.

If they're not moving a finger about all this, who will ?

Agree. They had a chance to become a great POD site.

They should have evolved into a curated fine-art POD but opted to become another generic no-frills "all you can eat" POD with no selection, no curation, no customer support, it's just a small company trying the milk their customers like anybody else, no difference from all the other awful generic PODs apart for the "fineart" in their name.

The one and only reason to use FAA is if for whatever reason you niche is selling well over there.

They just don't want to know, so they can be free from prosecution as an accomplice. Blind Eye defense, they didn't know, they didn't see it, so they aren't responsible for misuse or stolen art, celebrity likeness is protected, not on FAA. DMCA is weak and useless.

Even without the DMCA they would be useless, as a european how could i justify the investment of suing somebody in another continent for stealing a photo worth a 20-30$ print ?

I was watching Noel Gallagher on a chat show recently and he was saying that back in the 90s when Oasis made it big, the record company worked for them, but now with the new bands and streaming services it is the other way around.

But the funny thing is, Oasis were lucky to make a few huge hits in the 90s but they couldn't produce new greats songs in the last 20 years.
They had their chance but oviously they lack the skills or the will, they even dared to criticize Phil Collins which is someone who unlike them has been able to produce dozens and dozens of top hits for decades and he did it because he's got the skills and the talent.

Making it big in any creative field will be more and more difficult not just because of the saturation but also because nowadays the public is zombified by thei cell phones.

Music and Visual arts are meant to give emotions but the end users in 2021 are seeking different thrills and it won't be easy to feed their needs with traditional stuff, just look at the top videos on TikTok and tell me where's the logic behind their success.

Never. It's not a pendulum, it's change. Technology is the reason.

Technology is not stopping real artists to produce high-value art, actually it's helping them for the simple reason they've the skills to come up with ideas that are either unique in their market or very original, all things impossible to find in a stock agency and in PODs/Merch platforms where everybody is busy copying/stealing each other ideas and concepts.


None of us are ever going to be famous, we make stock.

And why stockers should become famous anyway ? Stock is meant to be creative not artistic, it's de facto the lowest form of commercial/editorial photography, real artists don't sell on stock agencies they sell on art galleries and rightly so.

Anyone can do stock and in fact anyone is actually doing stock by the millions and that's exactly why every agency has been flooded by an army of stockers in the last 20 years, to the point that now a stock image is almost worthless, again rightly so, market forces at work, supply vs demand.

Therefore I am only asking (again) what are you doing about it

Me ? I'm fully accepting the harsh reality of stock and PODs.

I'm improving my skills in order to produce expensive artsy products, i want to become a real artists selling in art galleries, micro/macro stock  doesn't make any financial sense anymore while prints/merch/PODs at least give me a lot of freedom especially on the pricing.

Anyone can shoot stock nowadays and that's why it's worth nothing, either we raise the bar or we go home.

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