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Messages - domencolja

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5
1
Thanks, I'm crossing my fingers on the portfolio search engine rankings. So far it looks like it got crippled tenfold. 2 months of no downloads takes its toll.

2
I've rarely been associated with the "expect the worst" camp, but yeah, after this experience I'm led to believe the possibilities of this happening are realistic.

Although I do still give the benefit of the doubt to anyone, but 2 months of insanity have turned my tides big time I'm afraid.

3
Thanks for the support, first and foremost.

Honestly I think, from my own terrible experience, there is nothing we can do to avoid potential investigations and immediate account blocks. Whole portfolios severed because of a claim of unknown origin. In my case, and that's the most worrying fact, the claim was completely unfounded and in my eyes senseless, even because of the nature of the targeted material itself. It's shocking they can, whenever they deem necessary, push you into a vegetative state of business relation with the blink of an eye. Why? And why this feeling of "nimby" world order surrounds the issue?

Contributors have to step up and demand a formalized membership warranty that the process of investigation follows certain predetermined rules, such as following a timeline, honest communication each and every step of the way (limited of course to avoid investigation contamination), lift the bullyesque legal obligations of not allowing disclosing of correspondence on the matter and completely changing the initial practice of disabling whole accounts on mere claims of possible infringement (ideally blocking individual compliance related images and leaving portfolios intact or even more legally sound acknowledging we all are innocent until proven guilty). I'm sure there's many more details contributors need to force agencies to accept and rightfully instill.

There's no compassion on my part regarding copyright infringement acts, let this be clear to anyone. Having said that though, we have to demand a clause in our membership agreements to set the investigation procedures straight, regulating the whole process from start to finish.

Remeber, it could happen to anyone.

p.s.: Stockmarketer, yes, I do think my investigation's internal details had something to do with my image being available at other microstock agencies. I didn't want to go into any of it, but since you brought it up : They asked me about my relationship with an agency that offered my portfolio through a third-party resale program I subscribed to with one of the biggest agencies. This third-party agency in particular had my portfolio images (along thousands of others from other microstock contributors) listed as their portfolio. Honestly it came to my knowledge 2 weeks ago and I wrote SS about it. It was irrelevant to the investigation though because this type of third-party activity is common in the microstock world and in no way, shape or form legitimazes what happened. There is no copyright issue related to other agencies selling the same RF licenses. And why an agency has the right to press forward on such senseless foundations? It is ridiculous.

4
Regarding my initial issue with the account lockdown following or as a consequence of the Shutterstock's claims of me using parts of protected works in one of my images I have to inform you that they reactivated my account... after two months.

Two months of investigation, almost no communication in between whatsoever (except for the initial notification of the investigation, followed 6 weeks later by a "suggestion" not to post additional threads also saying they will get to me in due time, followed one day later by an extremely unsettling investigation matter inquiry and today a final conclusion letting me know the account has been reactivated, but somehow leaving pins in my back by also telling me that if something else comes to their attention, my account will be terminated).

Now, let me first start of by saying I'm split into half regarding the matter. Obviously I'm happy about the resolution, no qualms about that. But I also have serious doubts about their actions and sad thoughts about their business practices.

A few thoughts on why I'm personally phased right now:
- I received no clarifications regarding the investigation to this date; the only little piece of information I got throughout the process was a question from their part (mail mentioned above) asking me what was my relation with... another microstock agency offering my RF images. Is this the reason why they blocked my account for 2 months and stopping payments and earnings for that time? I mean, seriously?
- their emails all carried a legal prohibition to not disclose any information about the contents of the emails, however scarce they were - does it mean I could face retaliation because I'm talking about it right now?
- from how I'm interpreting their words I'm basically under a no-more-strikes-allowed account flag; if something else comes to their attention, I'm terminated, that's their words - why if I was innocent in the first place?
- is my portfolio, after reactivation, going to be severely crippled because I sold no image for 2 months and probably my ratings witnessed a massive blow on popularity rankings?
- I have an extremely negative feeling about their business practices and I'm honestly demotivated on future prospects, because the whole completely unfounded compliance investigation could easily happen again, which makes me wonder what sort of protection and stability in terms of business relationship warranties do we have as submitters.

The bottom line is that I feel I was innocently forced under a business-crippling investigation that blocked my account, consequently my hard earned and deserved earnings, and that I'm left exactly 2 months later with nothing but doubts on the matter. It is bleak, in my eyes the matter is bleak.

I do have to thank first and foremost Bigstock's compliance team. Their correspondence was always quick, alas concise, and however obviously linked to Shutterstock's proceedings very friendly. I guess I also have to thank Shutterstock's team that the matter is now solved, especially believing that the people involved in the matter, the people investigating the matter, were just following their compliance practices. I want to believe that. And I also want to believe I will not get punished because I'm openly talking about this right here, publicly expressing my experience and letting you know what has happened to me and where have I stood and I'm standing right now in regards to Shutterstock's behavior.

p.s.: In case you wanted to know which image started it all, here's the link: http://www.crestock.com/image/821050-Afro-hairstyle-cartoon-music-face.aspx. I confess, it is a poor quality vector graphic, made back in 2008, which got me seriously low or no earnings. It's a shame, honestly concerning the image in itself I'm at a loss for words.

Thanks for listening, fellow microstockers.

5
Nice! I have just received a reply email from Shutterstock's compliance team saying they will contact me if additional information is needed or when they reach a resolution.

At least now I know they're working on it, that's hope.

p.s.: I won't be dropping in until further steps in the procedure clear up. Hopefully you understand my concerns. Thanks though for all the reads and opinions/support. Will keep you posted when news arise.

6
I honestly am not looking for compassion nor am I trying to fight a battle against Shutterstock in front of an interested audience (all of us being submitters and I presume devoted ones - in the monetary aspect of it). I can understand easily that some of you just don't buy the story with only one party speaking and that is just plain common sense and epistemological fairness. I might as well just be covering up my infringements, but why? Why publicly and why "piss in a court of law", so to speak, if I am innocent. Wouldn't make any sense.

I would gladly uncover the details, however scarce they might be coming from one email and the image in question, and I certainly will if this doesn't resolve in a welcome, for me at least, outcome. I am prohibited though to do so for now by this legal addendum from their email: "Under no circumstances may the contents hereof be disclosed to the public without the sender's prior written permission." As I said, I accept their business practices and I've undeniably signed a contract with them by joining Shutterstock, so I will stand by the rules for now. I'm not sure though they're doing it as well.

I'll keep you posted. As I said, I still hope I'm being "treated with fairness" as well, to paraphrase.

7
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll just try to get through on that sales support number and see if they deal with compliance ticket subjects as well.

I'll let you know if I can get a hold of someone via phone and/or if there's any news. Also if I'm unable to achieve anything I'll just post the whole story with all the details out. I'm sincerely discomforted and surprised about it. A big letdown.

8
Thank you both for your words.

Hope is kind of running out as of late. I have given them the benefit of the doubt, so to speak, since July is known to be slow, maybe their support staff partially on vacation, plus I've read threads around the internet of their reply times known for being somewhat "delayed". Also I've considered the thought of the investigation process truly being thorough and laborious, so a span of a couple of weeks would've been understandable (given that I've listed them 15 links to other agencies selling that particular image as they requested), but this silence is getting out of anything rational and possible explanations are running seriously wild.

Hopefully though this public outing will yield something.

p.s.: To be exactly precise I did receive one sort of keep-alive signal from their part and that was an automated message noting my support ticket numbers have been merged to the former number. Someone must've interpreted my emails as linked by content and decided to unite them under one ticket ID, but no reply regarding the specific matter.

9
I have not tried to contact them because they, at least to my knowledge, have no compliance support phone line. All they list as contact options are the email addresses and a phone number for sale support matters. Is there any?

Unfortunately I think, from my interpretation of their one and only notification email (where it was stated that the investigation is underway and my account is being suspended for the time being), that I can't disclose the contents of said email, I do not know though if I can legally at least explain the details of the matter (specifically which image is the target of the investigation and on which they're building their claims).

I forgot to mention that as a consequence I have also had their parent company's Bigstock account suspended. I've written to them as well and was I guess fortunate enough to get a reply from BigStock's support saying that that account's suspension is linked to the Shutterstock's investigation process and that until that is resolved they can't proceed with the reactivation. Both monthly payment routines (from SS and BigStock) have also been stopped for the second month now.

I understand the process and I, however crazy it might sound taken that I've been the target of such action, support global infringement procedures where they're rightful, but I'm honestly baffled as to why there is a complete lack of communication. I can't say I approve whole portfolio deactivation because of a claim of a part of an image being "protected works", but I accept the process (however unfounded it might feel to me) if this is what they deem necessary to fight copyright infringements. What worries me the most though is that they have not had the decency of replying, not even once... for over 6 weeks.

I will in the future, if somehow I realize this act of ignoring is a consequence and/or proof of their tactic to suspend accounts "under the radar" without any type of honest communication attempt, disclose all the details, all the emails sent to them and of course also post the image in question.

10
Shutterstock.com / Shutterstock's support lack of communication
« on: August 08, 2011, 04:58 »
I've been the target of a compliance investigation that started on the 23th of June (of which I unfortunately can't disclose any information as stated/forced in the notification email received by SS - but in which I plead completely innocent and have been suffering the consequences of an instant account lockdown, forum ban and payments freeze). After swiftly replying to all the requested questions regarding that assumption that I used "elements of protected works" in one of my artworks (a simple cartoony vector face of a DJ - inherently impossible to trace or copy), I have not received no replies in over 6 weeks of consistent emails sent to both the support and compliance email addresses.

I know any type of matter even remotely linked to compliance issues is instantly deemed shady and not trustworthy and that I understand from a sociological point of view in the microstock line of work where legal infringement issues are such a delicate matter. For the same reason I took to heart both personally (because the mentioned artwork was my own drawing within no gray areas whatsoever) and broader topically the accusations against me and wanted to communicate all there is to clarify for my innocence, but was blocked by a complete lack of feedback from Shutterstock's support.

Is this type of communication speed to be expected? Am I supposed to wait more for one single honest personalized reply to all the questions I have regarding the matter? Or is this lack of replies a simple strategy to ignore everything compliance related?

Hopefully one of the Shutterstock's employees notices the thread and sparks a bump in the matter, but I also wanted to get your, contributors, sincere opinion on the matter and your experiences with the quality of communication expected from Shutterstock.

I still have faith in the company, although I can't wrap my head around why such a treatment is happening, especially considering the fact I truly am not hiding behind half-truths and violation cover-ups, have tried to contact them several times (6 emails) and have not had any "strikes" or previous complaints on my account for over 3 years and 1500 files submitted.

Thanks for listening out and sharing your opinions.

11
In this regard (batch processing) I'd suggest looking into a nice little application called Filemonkey (http://www.monkeyjob.com). Don't know if it's developed for the Mac as well and most of it's capabilities are beyond my usage anyways, but what it does with one function is amazing: offers a batch script to make folders out of files names and moves/copies the files inside those directories automatically.

In other words: perfect for microstock agencies that ask for/offer illustrations/photos being uploaded zipped with additonal formats (example eps files, raws and the likes). You can just make folders out of files, automatically copy them into (both are by default named the same) and then just zip them with one click (via Winrar) in a batch compressed individually (with folder paths saved or not if you wish so).

p.s.: The process is way faster than manual copy/pasting, but it's not "packaged for dummies", so if you're interested in trying it out or know more, drop me a line.

12
;)) It does, doesn't it? The more, the merrier!

p.s.: Yeah, I don't think inventing new terms is going to solve 30dpi printing issues, but it is at least bringing a tiny little thing to talk about (contagious or not);)

13
Was supposed to be an abbreviation of a two-word term I didn't like - mostly... phonetically. But yeah, a vectill might sound even weirder;)

Thanks for the feedback though!

14
It wouldn't if it was 'on sale';) But the only reason why I tried to coin a new term is because I find myself disliking the 'vector illustrations' denomination (and raster having the same type of root as well).

p.s.: And I have no aspirations of marketing/selling names - having said that I wouldn't like someone abusing the term, so I locked it out. But it sincerely is a try to find a simpler name to what we do.

It is true though that my post had a high probability of being read as a crooked way of marketing the names/domains, so I wrote down a quick explanation (slash apology) on my blog (http://blog.domencolja.com/2010/05/vectills-and-rastills-explanation.html). Hope it clarifies my intentions.

Reverting to the former question: do you think it's usable enough?

15
I've had this idea (stemming from a factual issue) in my mind for a long time. It's rather common for us graphic designers slash illustrators to face a silly problem when we want to describe what we actually do, make, produce. The term 'vector illustrations' needs a shorter version and so does the bitmap counterpart raster illustrations.

What do you think of coining two new terms to name our artworks? Vector illustrations as 'vectills' and raster illustrations as 'rastills'. I've been trying to spread out the word for a long time among my customers and it's sinking in, but only locally. If you like the term and are willing to, well, basically use one word to describe what you do, I personally think this derivate is easy to remember and pronounce and would in a cool way simplify our communication (at least verbally);)

Let me know what you think about it!

16
Hmm... there is some inconsistencies regarding the interpretations of these US tax laws (citizens/residents or not, treaty countries or not, legal proof feedback of IRS taxes in the future (to get refunds in country of origin), the difference between ITIN forms for companies and individuals (as of now the mass is focused on the later with no word on the course to take if a submitter is legally a or working via a business entity) and lots of smaller details that will surely be cleared out in due time.

I can to some extent understand SS's concerns that the IRS might in the future take legal action against them for conducting illegal tax activities (open to debate, of course), but I've not read one single time about any concerns regarding retroactive taxation in this particular case. Why now if the law hasn't changed? Bear in mind, because from a legal perspective it's blattantly clear, that if the IRS decides to scrutinize Shutterstock's activities from a tax evasion perspective, the end is already at their doorsteps. If you're a company following a certain tax jurisdiction, you can't just start paying a particular tax in the middle of nowhere. The IRS will check past tax payment flows and I'm quite sure this means paying 30% of foreign submitters income (if their interpretation of such laws is correct) for ALL THE PAST YEARS since the specific law is in effect (it is not a new law, keep that in mind). Can you imagine the consequences of such a debt?

That's what most scares me, not the ITIN/W8 bureocraticism.

I still hope for the best both for SS and all of us depending on their business.

17
Don't know about payments, but the sales at StockXpert have been crashing the last two months and are almost nonexistent now in January. Hope it's just me;)

18
General - Top Sites / Re: Fastest review times among the "Big 6"
« on: December 23, 2008, 06:46 »
SS is superfast (especially with photos/rasters) and so is StockXpert vector-wise.

p.s.: But: consider the fact that review times don't linearly and instantly translate to image visibility. SS has a few problems with database update times (maybe not as pronounced as a couple of weeks ago, but still). Add that up and review times mean nothing.

19
Crestock.com / Re: Crestock Rejects?
« on: December 21, 2008, 05:59 »
Yes, the same here. Why have my images been piling up for two months now? Not ONE inspected out of ca. 200. Why?

20
Featurepics.com / Re: "Image overpriced" rejections?
« on: December 20, 2008, 13:01 »
Exactly. If they wanted to "cap" prices, why do they offer choice options in the first place?

p.s.: I tried pricing all my port lower, but the income didn't add up. Actually it was even worse (buyers usually go for the web resolutions anyways (at least in my case speaking of FP)).
p.p.s.: As said earlier: a big letdown, especially since I kind of have a soft spot for FP's uploading procedure.

21
Featurepics.com / "Image overpriced" rejections?
« on: December 20, 2008, 07:52 »
I just noticed one of the rudest rejection reasons there is: "image overpriced for this category". Around 5-6 rejected for being overpriced (20$ + allow resizing / EPS vectors).

It's acceptable that FP targets "budget buyers" or that these particular images could be deemed unsuitable for this price rank, but that's mostly a decision the submitter has to take and an agency like FP that allows pricing options should NOT interfere with his choices. A big minus for such a cosy upload-friendly site. I might stop uploading at all (well, it's not that payouts are frequent anyways).

p.s.: I tried pricing vectors lower on FP (considerably lower - if I'm not wrong around 5$) but the sales were ridiculous. Web resolutions for pennies... not my cup of tea where there is no quantity factors making up for it.
p.p.s.: Here's a sample of one of the rejected images:


Of course it's not about the rejection per se, but the manner and reason for it.

22
General Stock Discussion / Re: Similar images
« on: December 19, 2008, 11:41 »
CofkoCof, boli te kurac. With your mind, imagination and experience I'm sure one picture will change nothing. Continue producing such gems, your rank will raise and so will the sales (with original concepts or not).

23
Discussione Italiana / Re: STRATEGIE PER AUMENTARE LE VENDITE
« on: December 19, 2008, 11:35 »
Concordo con RT;)

p.s.: Anche se proprio di strategia si parla, la cosa piu' importante, secondo me, e' "pensare microstock"... tutto il resto verra da se.

24
Shutterstock.com / Re: SS rejections explosion!!!
« on: December 19, 2008, 05:06 »
Honestly I was praying to see SS inspectors become more jerky/attentive. Higher rejection rates are good for the community and for the business.

p.s.: Don't know if this "behaviour" applies to vectors as well, but I can only hope for it (and wait for my next batch to get trunkated).

25
123RF / Re: Payouts delayed until end of October
« on: December 10, 2008, 16:10 »
Always the 15th.

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