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Messages - spike

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1
it's not up to AS to do your taxes

Nobody said it's up to AS to do my taxes. But it is up to AS to inform the contributors if the licenses will be counted as US source income or not.
AS doesnt know your situation, so it's your duty, not theirs

Lol.

No, it's their duty to tell me if a certain license is U.S. source income or not.

That's not something that I can find out on my own.

2
it's not up to AS to do your taxes

Nobody said it's up to AS to do my taxes. But it is up to AS to inform the contributors if the licenses will be counted as US source income or not.

3
no one pays 30% in the US

I love people who are so confident and so wrong at the same time

I'm a nonresident alien living in the USA and I definitely pay 30% withholding. Also, because there is no tax treaty between my home country and the US, I also need to pay taxes in my home country.

So, in total, it's more than 30%, and closer to 50%

But that's besides the point. You said that no one pays 30% in the US, and that's just wrong. You're welcome.

4
Yes, this is taxable income just like any other payment into your contributor account. The actual rate you pay depends on your individual situation.

-Mat

Thank you, this makes it much less appealing.

Personally, 30% less for me (3.5$ per image) means that I won't be utilizing this opportunity.

I think that Adobe could have made it more clear in the description of the program. Not a lot of contributors will go to an obscure forum and read 10 pages of a thread to find that info. Not a good move.

5
Sorry if this has been answered, couldn't find the info.

Is the 5$ payment subject to withholding tax or not?

That's a difference between 5$ and 3.5$ per asset (assuming 30% rate), which is quite substantial.

Please share info before nomination deadline

6
Not asking for tax advice, just to share experiences.

For example, since J-1 is a non-immigrant visa, I still believe we are legally treated as US residents for tax purposes (resident alien), but I'm not sure if stock agencies will continue to keep withholding 30% of our sales, and if we need to fill the W-9 or the W-8BEN?

Has anyone been in such a situation?

(of course I'll talk to a tax professional when I finally move)

7
Newbie Discussion / Re: Tax Questions (US)
« on: October 06, 2020, 05:03 »
No.  Youre actively doing it, so its still a business.

What if one were to completely disengage and not do it actively at all (in fact, I think my contract may prohibit it)? Still Sch C in your opinion?

8
General Stock Discussion / Re: Moving to the U.S.; tax questions
« on: September 21, 2020, 12:41 »
For example, I found this online calculator: https://www.calcxml.com/do/self-employment-tax-calculator

If I earn $50k from my day job and another $50k from royalties, it spits out that I'd pay $7,065 in taxes (on self-employment income).

That's around 14%, which is pretty good. I find anything below 20% to be good. I'm just wondering if that's relatively accurate or is the tax rate dramatically different. Like, is it 5% or 35%. Of course I'll get more details from my accountant when I move, I'm just doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation here

EDIT: This calculator also spits out 14.13%: https://www.irscalculators.com/tax-calculator
I entered the amount in Self-Employment: (self-employed and Schedule K-1 Income)

I'm just asking people who live in the US is that relatively accurate, as these online calculators can be wildly inaccurate.

9
General Stock Discussion / Re: Moving to the U.S.; tax questions
« on: September 21, 2020, 12:35 »
suggest you email a us Tax attorney . Not a Microstock forum.

The second sentence in my post was: "I will talk to a tax specialist there as well of course, but I thought to prepare as much as I can before I depart."

I'm just looking for a rough estimate and if there are online tax calculators, just to have a rough idea of what I will keep.

I don't think I will be able to claim any expenses related to microstock, as I won't be producing any stock while working in the US.

10
General Stock Discussion / Moving to the U.S.; tax questions
« on: September 20, 2020, 14:39 »
I'll be moving to the U.S. soon (got a job there), and I have some rather simple questions in regards to taxation of microstock income. I will talk to a tax specialist there as well of course, but I thought to prepare as much as I can before I depart. So;

1. In which category does one report microstock-based earnings?
2. What's the rough tax rate? I know this might depends on the state (mine will be MD), so are there online calculators to give an estimate? If one earns $3000 per month, how much can he expect to keep after the IRS takes their part?
3. Is there anything particular I need to keep an eye out on when reporting income from microstock?

11
Any reasonable person understands this. I think OP understands that too. They were just trying to explain the situation using game theory which makes use of the prisoner dilemma. It is not a real world comparison to actual prisoners.

That's right.

My wording was, like someone quoted, "If I can do it, you probably can as well."

Of course there will be situations when individuals literally can't turn off their portfolios for a week - but I believe that's a small minority of contributors. For the vast majority of us, deactivating for a week means just losing one week of income, and in that sense, people can probably incur the cost.

If someone can't, I understand and empathize. But let's not confuse "I literally won't be able to pay bills if I turn off my portfolio for a week" with "I don't feel like losing 300$". My post wasn't directed at the first group. Those guys have already made their minds and nothing I or anyone else says can change it. If they can't afford to eat, even the prettiest words won't feed them.

12
I tried to make this as short a possible, but game theory needs some simple explanations. Just stick until the end, it will make sense.

There's a game in game theory called prisoner's dilemma. In short, two members of a criminal gang (Alice and Bob) are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge, but they have enough to convict both on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The possible outcomes are:

If Alice and Bob each betray the other, each of them serves two years in prison
If Alice betrays Bob but Bob remains silent, Alice will be set free and Bob will serve three years in prison
If Alice remains silent but Bob betrays Alice, Alice will serve three years in prison and Bob will be set free
If Alice and Bob both remain silent, both of them will serve only one year in prison (on the lesser charge).



It is assumed that both prisoners understand the nature of the game, have no loyalty to each other, and will have no opportunity for retribution or reward outside the game. Regardless of what the other decides, each prisoner gets a higher reward by betraying the other ("defecting"). The reasoning involves an argument by dilemma: Bob will either cooperate or defect. If Bob cooperates, Alice should defect, because going free is better than serving 1 year. If Bob defects, Alice should also defect, because serving 2 years is better than serving 3. So either way, Alice should defect. Parallel reasoning will show that Bob should defect.

We, the contributors, are Alice and Bob.

We can choose to either "cooperate" (deactivate portfolios) or "defect" (do nothing). If we cooperate - yes, we will lose some income, but if we defect - it's us who will get off scot-free and reap the benefits. While all the other contributors (Bob) deactivate their portfolios, we can actually profit by leaving ours on. Hence, the rational way to play this game is to actually do nothing. People at Shutterstock know this. This is what leads to the tragedy of the commons. This is why it's so easy to lose.

However, this is not just one instance of the prisoner's dilemma. There are other stock agencies that will see what Shutterstock has done and how we reacted. This can become the new norm. Hence, this is the iterated prisoner's dilemma, where cooperation plays a much more important role.

Without getting into all the details about game theory, stable equilibria and all that academic stuff, the important part is here - by not deactivating your portfolio for a week you are boosting your own sales for a week. That's true. At the very least - you're not incurring any penalty to yourself. BUT - this action has a chance of succeeding if and only if we are able to cooperate, "not snitch of each other" and collectively suffer the consequences of a one-week-long deactivation. By not deactivating, you are also increasing the chance that, in 6-12 months, you income starts to drop considerably, not just because of shutterstock - but because other agencies WILL follow. While it might be in your short-term interest to do nothing, it is actually in your long-term interest to cooperate.

So, please, if you are able to, deactivate.

If I can do it, after $150,000+ earned in more than 10 years, you probably can as well.



We have only one chance at this. Don't let it go to waste. Cooperate. We can all be "one year in the prison" for the collective good.

13
181 responses, collective portfolio size: 1325521 assets

That's not even 1% of their library.

I had the best intention to try and organize us, so we can use our leverage directly with shutterstock, but I'm just one guy and this poll wasn't spread around enough for it to have an effect. Guess we deserve $0.1 per image.

14
This is exactly why this poll was set up.

Instead of us individually crying over $0.10 sales, we need to organize, pool our portfolios in a collective and be direct towards shutterstock - either compy with our terms or we'll all shut down our portfolios.

While the response was ok (161 responses thus far), we didn't even reach 1% of their database. That's unfortunate.

15
155 responses - preliminary results

Collective portfolio size: 1179912 assets

  • Levels must be calculated on a 12-month window, and not be reset at the beginning of each year.
92.3% YES
7.7% NO

  • There should be a change for video levels (Levels 5 and 6 are unattainable)
71% YES
3.9% NO
25.2% I DON'T KNOW

  • Shutterstock needs to end the video subscription program
59.4% YES
19% NO
28.4% I DON'T KNOW

  • Apply the levels structure to on-demand content, but leave subscriptions alone. (25c-38c, as they were before June 1st changes)
78.7% YES
21.3% NO

---------------

  • If you answered "no" to the question above, what should be the minimum baseline guarantee for a subscription royalty?


  • In any pay rate system percentages must be based on an actual percentage of what the buyer paid for the image (subscription fee/ actual images downloaded) not on the total possible number of downloads. See image below and description for clarification.
80.8% YES
19.2% NO


16
if you have a non-google form, I'll fill it in. google is NOT anonymous, despite whatever they say. especially when tehy say "you MUST sign into google, with your verified phone account, before we will let you fill in this form"...

That's just to prevent spam and/or people filling out the form multiple times.  :)

17
100 responses - preliminary results

Collective portfolio size: 796761 assets

  • Levels must be calculated on a 12-month window, and not be reset at the beginning of each year.
92% YES
8% NO

  • There should be a change for video levels (Levels 5 and 6 are unattainable)
77% YES
3% NO
20% I DON'T KNOW

  • Shutterstock needs to end the video subscription program
63% YES
16% NO
21% I DON'T KNOW

  • Apply the levels structure to on-demand content, but leave subscriptions alone. (25c-38c, as they were before June 1st changes)
75% YES
25% NO

---------------

  • If you answered "no" to the question above, what should be the minimum baseline guarantee for a subscription royalty?


  • In any pay rate system percentages must be based on an actual percentage of what the buyer paid for the image (subscription fee/ actual images downloaded) not on the total possible number of downloads. See image below and description for clarification.
78% YES
22% NO


18
All good points, Jo Ann. If anything, this incident proved that we need to have a place to organize ourselves, not just in the sense of random forum posts, but vote on things determining our collective policy.

The poll has 68 responses and we have over 500k assets as of now. Like Dyatlov said in the show: not great, not terrible.

I hope we can get more people engaged with this.

19

Quote

I added the "I don't know" options for video-based questions.

If you select "no", you will be taken to the next page to enter what you would consider minimum baseline guarantee in the new scheme.

That's what it says in the description of the question.

Thanks - form submitted. Maybe it's just me but until you explained the subscription question I had taken "leave subscriptions alone" to mean leave them as they are now, i.e. pre 1 June, so would have answered "yes".

Actually, you understood it well. I have added an additional clarification.

If you select "no", this means you don't want the subs to be 25c-38c (current rates) after June 1st - you want them to be percentage based. Then you can select what the minimum baseline guarantee would be (currently proposed to be 10c after June 1st). if you select "yes", that means you want them to say at current levels, 25c-38c.

Sorry for the confusion and the fact that the poll might not be ideally worded. Perfect is the enemy of the good - and we're in a kind of a rush, so I wanted to get it up and running as soon as possible. If anyone has any suggestion pertaining to how to improve the wording, I'm all ears.

We're at 43 respondents, I will publish the collective portfolio size when we reach 50, and preliminary results of the poll when we reach 100.

20
Doesn't work for me either.

Maybe not everyone has the same access privileges as you guys?

21
Sorry, I feel churlish seemingly sniping from the sidelines when someone else has made an effort but the questionnaire does not address my concerns.

  •    I dont shoot video and there is no N/A answer or the option to skip.
  •    Not resetting after 12 months is better than resetting after 12 months but I would not consider that change a victory. Its the wrong pitch with which to begin a negotiation.
  •    Percentages/subscription blah blah. Thats the mechanics. The question for me is what is the absolute minimum I would accept for a photograph to be licensed and that is probably $0.33, same as Adobe and a couple of cents less than DT.

I added the "I don't know" options for video-based questions.

If you select "no", you will be taken to the next page to enter what you would consider minimum baseline guarantee in the new scheme.

That's what it says in the description of the question.

22
Thank you all. If you want to help, the best you can do is to share the poll to other places. This is the only forum/group I'm on (since 2009!), so if any of you are contributors on other forums or facebook groups, sharing this poll there is the best course of action for our collective good.

23
How about:
"
In any pay rate system percentages must be based on an actual percentage of what the buyer paid for the image (subscription fee/ actual images downloaded) not on the total possible number of downloads.
Yes
No
"

The logistics is up to them to handle. As I previously suggested, it should be easy enough to pay us the minimum on download (i.e. the level they would like to get away with always paying) and the remainder as a bonus in the following months when they know how many dls have been utilised. Sites offering unlimited DLs manage this (much smaller sites with less resources than SS). Isn't it what Canva just implemented too?

I know this is a slightly more complicated issue but the devil's in the detail here. I fear this is actually a big part of how they are using the new scheme to divert a LOT of money from us to them.

Form updated.

Some numbers - so far we have 21 respondents and 170000 assets!

Please share the poll to other places - shutterstock forums and microstock.ru forum!

24
One of my principle concerns isn't addressed by the form (unless I misread or overlooked it).

Percentages MUST be based on an actual percentage of what the buyer paid for the image (subscription fee/ actual images downloaded) not on the total possible number of downloads.

If we do end up on a percentage based system I foresee this having perhaps the biggest impact on our income.

I didn't include it for clarity's sake. If more people choose the option to apply levels to subscription-based content, then it can be discussed.

The problem with this approach is that I think it might be a logistical nightmare. First of all, that means - no real time $ reporting for subs. Secondly, not everyone's subscription plan will begin on the 1st of the month, so this means a sale would be reported 30/31 days after the sale has been made in order to account for that. Someone who licensed one of your images on April 24, but started the plan on April 21 means that you would see the $ on May 21st at the earliest. Right?

In any case, if you can help me phrase the question clearly and explain what would that mean in a sentence or two, I can add it to the form in a minute.

25
The form is here: https://forms.gle/YqpTCREUodA4iTz98

It's completely anonymous and even I can't see any of your details. (the form is hosted on Google Forms)

Like the subject of this thread and the description of the form say - this is to determine what our collective demands are and to see how much bargaining power we have.

Please share it so that people who don't frequent this forum can fill it out as soon as possible. We need to act quickly.

Thanks!

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