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Author Topic: Beware of Shutterstock  (Read 48792 times)

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« on: December 26, 2007, 13:59 »
I received an email on December 14, 2007 telling me someone had claimed one of my photos had a copyrighted design in it.  They told me I had until December 18 to reply or my account would be shut down.

I replied back on Dec 14, 2007 at 2:43 PM and sent another support request ticket again on Dec 17, 2007 at 9:05 PM.  These are all in my email records as well as Shutterstock's.

They never replied back.

I sent another support request asking what was going on and when my account would be unlocked.  They told me they never received an email from me and my account was going to be shut down.

Shutterstock has disabled my account and has prevented me from logging in and took over $400.00 of my earnings.



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« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2007, 15:21 »
If it helps;

Shutterstock Images LLC.
 155 W. 19th St., 2Fl
 NY NY 10011


By Fax

« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2007, 17:39 »
What a shame!!!!  >:( >:( >:( >:(


« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2007, 17:48 »
Wow...that's awful!

« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2007, 18:52 »
Support ticket never worked for me, send me an pm and I give you an email address that worked previously for me, good luck! SY

« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2007, 19:17 »
Hmmm... sounds like a very tall story to me.  Shutterstock are reasonable and professional people; they don't close accounts without good reason.

Typically, guy pops up from nowhere claiming he was 'got at' unfairly; usually in such cases there is much more to the story.

« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2007, 19:28 »
Maybe you could show us the photo in question. Is it online at any other agency? What was the size of your portfolio?

« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2007, 22:34 »
Guys, I have asked them I don't know how many times for them to show me the photo that was not created by me.  They WILL NOT SHOW ME.  I had 400 photos in my portfolio and sold ~2,500 images each month.  I do this to pay tuition for my schooling.

There is nothing else to the story.  I have read their terms of service and nowhere does it mention they have the right to take back earnings from submitters.

« Reply #8 on: December 26, 2007, 22:56 »
Why don't you try the forum at SS? The admins do read the forums there.

« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2007, 23:03 »
They banned me from the forums also.  I would appreciate if anybody could help me find out what's going on - and ask an admin on the SS forums.  I was under the same name there. Crashoran
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 23:10 by crashoran »

« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2007, 23:25 »
Ah, so now we start to hear the real story:  instead of "copyright infringement" we've got "stole someone else's idea or work".  That's a better reason for Shutterstock to ban someone.

Sooner or later we'll hear the rest of the story.

« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2007, 23:33 »
I won't be the judge of anyone here, but this seems to be the story:

You have, with or without knowing it, copied or made identical icons to another user named sodafish. I haven't seen the icons, so I have no idea. The only way for you to clear up the mess, would be to contact admin at SS directly, preferably by phone, and very, very politely.

I've had a look at your portfolio at DT and IS, and if it's legit, you're work is excellent. Still, getting too inspired by others when it comes to vector graphics is not a good idea. I do vectors myself, and know that it's not always easy to see what's inspiration and what's copying.

You can be pretty sure that SS is one safe legal ground when it comes to money. They don't like to take chances (which they showed when they banned you). A piece of advice: go through your other portfolios, and be 100% sure that you have no conflicts coming up there as well.

Good luck.

« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2007, 23:35 »
Hatman12, I'm just telling you what they have told me in their emails.  First they told me a photo had a copyrighted design and then later tonight they sent another email telling me I was selling a photo that was not taken by me.

None of this is making sense to me.  There is no rest of the story...I wish I knew the whole story

Epixx, I can swear that I did not copy or make identical icons from others.   I already know and knew before this that copying other's work would result in being banned.  There are alot of generic looking icons that could have clashed.  I've created all my vectors on my own in Illustrator CS2
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 23:39 by crashoran »

« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2007, 23:47 »
I haven't seen any of the icons in question. It was a claim by Helix7 in a post on 17 December after someone commented that your portfolio was empty.

If what you are saying in your latest post is true, SS is on thin ice here. Firstly, a photo with a copyrighted design should never have been approved by them in the first place, secondly, it's relatively easy to document if a photo has been taken by another person, particularly if the EXIF is intact. Do you still not know what photo they are talking about?

« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2007, 00:04 »
Are you serious epixx? I looked through his entire portfolio and I don't know what he was talking about.  None of them look like mine.

Can you please ask him which photo he made the claim against?
I have never heard of this person and have never seen any of his images before

« Reply #15 on: December 27, 2007, 00:12 »
He didn't talk about his own portfolio, but the icons of sodafish. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I'll post a few questions at the SS forum, and see what kind of responses I get. Hope they don't ban me then   :D

« Reply #16 on: December 27, 2007, 00:27 »
I see they have locked your post.

They say they will take care of it through their support, but they dont respond when asking for the photo

Something is going on here...
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 01:43 by crashoran »

« Reply #17 on: December 27, 2007, 00:39 »
Wow... that was fast. Oh well, they are probably reading this thread anyway.

I'll leave it for now. Give some feedback when they have reached a conclusion. Could be interesting to hear what's behind all this.

« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2007, 00:46 »
I really just want to continue submitting on Shutterstock, It's been working out really well for me and I sell a couple thousand photos each month on there.  I wanted to continue building my portfolio higher and higher. :(

Ill let you know what happens

« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2007, 12:02 »
Shutterstock are reasonable and professional people; they don't close accounts without good reason.

Sorry hatman can't agree with that - I do not call people professional if they never reply to support inquiries. I emailed support multiple times, tried to PM admins on reviews issues, I never got any reply. Either they have a problem with their support email, or they simply ignore emails from contributors. In any case, professional this is not.
I don't know what the story is here, but the contributor definitely deserved a better explanation, as do all of us by the way. If they post something here or on their forum explaining the incident and show us the photos/images in question, then I'll call them professional.
But my impression about them is they don't care about individual contributors at all.... like 'we'll have people submitting to us no matter what we do".


« Reply #20 on: December 27, 2007, 12:26 »
That's strange. I recently had a problem connecting to SS. I emailed support ([email protected]) and they replied within 24hrs. We corresponded a few times and they solved my problem within 48hrs.

I have a puny port with puny sales yet they got back to me within a reasonable time frame. I would think they would offer the same courtesy to the OP especially if his sales are as high as he says they are.  :-\

« Reply #21 on: December 27, 2007, 16:34 »

Here is the email I sent last night


That email was not sent to me on December 19.  Please respond to each statement I have numbered.

1. Shutterstock never showed or told me which specific photos that I had allegedly stolen, therefore I never got a chance to show my side of the claim.  The e-mail wanted to hear my side of the claim, I responded, and never heard back.  This is in violation of my rights as a submitter according to your own terms of service.

2. Please SHOW ME which images I submitted that were not created by me.

3. Furthermore, I will need my earnings from this month sent to my PayPal address at *********@gmail.com"

Here is their response:

"Hello Nick,

This issue was handled by the head of the review department who is no longer with us.  I cannot deal with this matter any further.  The email WAS sent to you on December 19, though you may not have received it for whatever reason.

I have been notified that this case is closed."

I find it highly coincidental that the head of review person just now happened to no longer work for them.  All I want is an explanation.  Shutterstock will not answer the questions in the email, will not cooperate with me, or even return my phone calls.  I have lost faith in shutterstock, and what they are doing is a little something called internet fraud by taking my earnings.  They will receive notification concerning my remaining earnings through a small claims lawsuit. 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 17:21 by crashoran »

« Reply #22 on: December 27, 2007, 19:58 »
Crashoran: I received a mail from Seth today that they will look into your case again.


« Reply #23 on: December 27, 2007, 21:58 »
Yikes!!! Cashoran, please keep us posted on this. If that "professional" email you posted would be the last thing you hear from them, that is scary stuff!!! Basically telling you to bugger off without any reasonable explanation. If they don't show you the images that they think you copied and don't let you defend yourself (what if the accuser stole your images and decided to get rid of the competition??) then ya I'd take them to court too.
About technical support - they may have decent technical guys dealing with connectivity issues etc, but anything related to content.... what can I say can be much much better.

« Reply #24 on: December 28, 2007, 13:25 »
Phew - they showed me which image was in question and I'm not worried at all. I'm waiting to hear back with their decision.  It was an icon set by sodafish - I can tell he thought that some of them looked similar - especially a briefcase icon.  But none of them are identical to mine


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