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Author Topic: Another reason why you should delete your portfolio (besides the obvious)  (Read 1700 times)

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« on: June 14, 2020, 12:24 »
+11
Some people are still on the fence about deleting their ports. Well, if you are, here is another reason why you should do it.

Years ago, I scored a hit with one particular photo and a set of illustrations. The reason why they did so well is that there were no other images like these at the site. Before you think I'm being a braggart about being an original; I'm not. I registered and started submitting images to SS in 2005, so some of my images were the first and only of their kind.

Anyway, I did really well with these images for a very long time. Then I noticed several years ago that for no explicable reason downloads were down. Upon further investigation, I learned that the reason why this was happening is that contributors were making their own versions of my illustrations, except in vector format.

I didn't worry about it at the time. I thought, I'll just beat these idiots at their own game; I'll submit more of these types of images. But guess what? When I tried, SS blocked me, claiming it had "too many on site". I then had to do nothing except sit back begrudgingly watching contributors continue to make vector versions of my images. In some cases, some of these contributors were allowed to submit a lot more than I was able to.

Fast forward to 2020, and now there are dozens upon dozens of exact replicas of my illustrations in non-vector format-- but most importantly, an exact replica of my most successful photo, right down to color, composition, lighting, format.

So, ironically, in deleting my portfolio, I didn't get the last laugh.  SS got the last laugh on me and others like me. It's almost as if SS realized long ago that it could always risk losing its best images if contributors quit for whatever reason, so started covering its bases by encouraging plagiarism.

The moral of the story is: don't let this happen to you. Don't "stick around" SS thinking that if worse comes to worse in the future, you'll be able to "stick it" to SS by deleting your best images. There's no question that SS is surreptitiously encouraging "copybots" (plagiarizers) to methodically replicate the site's best selling images and that if yours haven't been replicated already, they will soon.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 13:33 by rcherubin »


Snow

« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2020, 13:33 »
+6
Some people are still on the fence about deleting their ports. Well, if you are, here is another reason why you should do it.

Years ago, I scored a hit with one particular photo and a set of illustrations. The reason why they did so well is that there were no other images like these at the site. Before you think I'm being a braggart about being an original; I'm not. I registered and started submitting images to SS in 2005, so some of my images were the first and only of their kind.

Anyway, I did really well with these images for a very long time. Then I noticed several years ago that for no explicable reason downloads were down. Upon further investigation, I learned that the reason why this was happening is that contributors were making their own versions of my illustrations, except in vector format.

I didn't worry about it at the time. I thought, I'll just beat these idiots at their own game; I'll submit more of these types of images. But guess what? When I tried, SS blocked me, claiming it had "too many on site". I then had to do nothing except sit back begrudgingly watching contributors continue to make vector versions of my images. In some cases, some of these contributors were allowed to submit a lot more than I was able to.

Fast forward to 2020, and now there are dozens upon dozens of exact replicas of my illustrations in non-vector format-- but most importantly, an exact replica of my most successful photo, right down to color, composition, lighting, format.

So, ironically, in deleting my portfolio, I didn't get the last laugh.  SS got the last laugh on me and others like me. It's almost as if SS realized long ago that it could always risk losing its best images if contributors quit for whatever reason, so started covering its bases by encourage plagiarism.

The moral of the story is: don't let this happen to you. Don't "stick around" SS thinking that if worse comes to worse in the future, you'll be able to "stick it" to SS by deleting your best images. There's no question that SS is surreptitiously encouraging "copybots" (plagiarizers) to methodically replicate the site's best selling images and that if yours haven't been replicated already, they will soon.

Makes sense!
I always wondered why they gave copycats and spammers a free pass!

« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2020, 14:30 »
+8
Tolerating plagiarism is just despicable. I think it's particularly bad in the illustration area - many of my photos can't easily be replicated even if someone wanted to, but people can, and do, copy illustrations.

When I was wandering through the misery of new uploads at Shutterstock yesterday I found a portfolio full of badly auto-traced and outlined photos. One has to hope that it was the contributors' own photos that he/she vandalized like that.

Don't know if you ever submitted illustrations to iStock, but I had to show any photo reference I'd used - it had to be my photo - as part of uploading. For a while, it looked as if Shutterstock was going to take standards - including keywording standards - seriously, but they clearly just don't care about that beyond policing trademarks in keywords

« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 15:15 »
+2

Makes sense!
I always wondered why they gave copycats and spammers a free pass!

On top of that, SS also allowed hacks free reign in the forums to "derp" about how there was a fine line between inspiration and plagiarism and how "there's nothing new under the sun."

I can't help but wonder if some of those people weren't trolls working on the inside to encourage this type of behavior. For example, years ago I remember how there would be so many incidents involving a photographer who complained about a contributor replicating shots. This person would post his/her port and the offender, and when you looked at both, it wasn't even a question that she/he was plagiarized. (How many people could independently come up with a picture of, say, a wire fox terrier wearing an Elvis Presley jumpsuit and pompadour wig backed by a crushed blue velvet curtain??? :o)

It would be so obvious, yet many posters would dismiss the complainer with stuff like, "Oh, just because you have a white dog in your photo doesn't mean any photo with a white dog is a copy." Or maybe they'd call the copycat photo "inspiration" because the copybot changed the curtain from blue to aquamarine and put the terrier in a James Brown jumpsuit.

Again, I can't help wonder if some of these posters were insiders, because the dismissals weren't reasonable arguments; they were arguments designed to gaslight. It's one thing to argue that two photos of a rainbow overlooking a field of red tulips were probably similar by accident. It's another thing if the photos were shot using the exact same composition and famous local windmill int he lower left hand corner.

« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2020, 15:44 »
+1
Tolerating plagiarism is just despicable. I think it's particularly bad in the illustration area - many of my photos can't easily be replicated even if someone wanted to, but people can, and do, copy illustrations.

I don't want to depress you (I tend to have that effect on people, LOL), but you would be surprised. Just as there are people who are talented at forging paintings, there are people who are talented at copying any photograph, no matter how unusual, creative or "lightning in a bottle." As soon as they see a photograph, they're able to pick the brain of the photographer, as well as figure out the crucial compositional and lighting elements that "makes" it magical and replicate the image with ease. To make matters worse, they don't even mind going through all the hard work, either (hiring the same or similar models, traveling to a remote location, etc.).

An infamous example of this was exposed in a PetaPixel article awhile back. Italian photographers back in 2019 went through a lot of trouble scouting out locations at particular times of day and during particular lighting + weather conditions. Unbelievably, someone went out and duplicated their shots with near exactness:  https://petapixel.com/2019/09/30/is-this-plagiarism-or-crazy-coincidence-in-landscape-photography/

This is how far the rabbit hole now goes in the era of Instagram. An entire generation of young people who came of age on that platform have learned how to not only plagiarize photos but even go through extreme lengths to do so.

« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2020, 19:26 »
+2
Tolerating plagiarism is just despicable....

Don't know if you ever submitted illustrations to iStock, but I had to show any photo reference I'd used - it had to be my photo - as part of uploading. For a while, it looked as if Shutterstock was going to take standards - including keywording standards - seriously, but they clearly just don't care about that beyond policing trademarks in keywords

 fwiw, SS does ask for a photo reference - they just don't do it consistently (as w all their standards)  - i've had it applied when i submitted illustrations based on my images

« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2020, 19:51 »
+2

An infamous example of this was exposed in a PetaPixel article awhile back. Italian photographers back in 2019 went through a lot of trouble scouting out locations at particular times of day and during particular lighting + weather conditions. Unbelievably, someone went out and duplicated their shots with near exactness:  https://petapixel.com/2019/09/30/is-this-plagiarism-or-crazy-coincidence-in-landscape-photography/

interesting article -- but not too unbelievable! i have similar shots from many of those locations without having seen those photos, so mine have different lighting  (and those sites are easily approachable on a day hike )

another possibility is that after taking the shot from a known location, the copier used a program like landscape pro to fix lighting, tone, etc

of course, none of that matters in the question of plagiarism (there was a famous case of a lawsuit by Galen Rowell against someone who had duplicated his shot from a viewpoint in Yosemite[?] )

« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2020, 13:22 »
+1
I wanted to post pictures of what I was talking about in my OP, but couldn't figure out a way to do it because I had deleted my entire port. But then browsing a website, I saw my images in its ads feed, so was able to get some screenshots showing the originals and copycat versions:





Keep in mind that I have no issues with "inspired" images. The issue here is that Shutterstock blocked me from adding more versions of my images to the database...while allowing dozens of contributors to create versions that were more similar to my original designs than the ones SS rejected.


 

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