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Author Topic: 5 yr conttributor: just sharing some experience  (Read 11759 times)

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velocicarpo

« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2011, 14:33 »
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Item 14 of those same terms states that "...Shutterstock reserves the right to modify these terms at any time and to notify you by an announcement on your login page of the modifications. You agree to be bound by all such changes."

They changed a policy, icholakov was notified, the change was ignored, hence the suspension. More than justified and well within the rights of SS to do so.

I cannot find the lines where icholakov writes about such a notification. Furthermore, I cannot see that this agreement had been modified since the text is still there. Those lines you quote concern general agreement changes they make noticable after login, which clearly did not happen.

Beyond that, I am greatly surprised how much the people on this board here try to devalue their own rights as a contributor just because they are fanboys of company XY or cannot admit errors. One of the reasons I do not participate largely anymore.


helix7

« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2011, 15:34 »
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I cannot find the lines where icholakov writes about such a notification. Furthermore, I cannot see that this agreement had been modified since the text is still there. Those lines you quote concern general agreement changes they make noticable after login, which clearly did not happen...

I would have figured that the policy change was pretty clear when they removed over a thousand images from icholakov's portfolio. The language in the Terms simply states that SS can amend their policies at any time, for any reason. And I think they were fair in their dealings regarding filter forge images. They just removed those images and left everything else online.

To me, if SS removed some of my images I wouldn't just re-upload new versions of the same images, no matter how much more creative I thought them to be. And I certainly wouldn't be surprised if SS was at all unhappy about me ignoring their change in policy and just doing whatever I pleased. But maybe that's just me.

...Beyond that, I am greatly surprised how much the people on this board here try to devalue their own rights as a contributor just because they are fanboys of company XY or cannot admit errors. One of the reasons I do not participate largely anymore.

Maybe your hostility and prejudices have something to do with your unpleasant experiences here. Not sure where you think I ever did any woo-yaying for SS, and I've never been quiet about my criticisms of the company. They have faults, no doubt about it, and I've openly discussed them here. But you'd obviously rather just assume that you know where I stand on those issues instead of actually reading anything about it, calling me a "fanboy" and all that. That's cool. Have at it.

velocicarpo

« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2011, 17:08 »
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I cannot find the lines where icholakov writes about such a notification. Furthermore, I cannot see that this agreement had been modified since the text is still there. Those lines you quote concern general agreement changes they make noticable after login, which clearly did not happen...

I would have figured that the policy change was pretty clear when they removed over a thousand images from icholakov's portfolio. The language in the Terms simply states that SS can amend their policies at any time, for any reason. And I think they were fair in their dealings regarding filter forge images. They just removed those images and left everything else online.

To me, if SS removed some of my images I wouldn't just re-upload new versions of the same images, no matter how much more creative I thought them to be. And I certainly wouldn't be surprised if SS was at all unhappy about me ignoring their change in policy and just doing whatever I pleased. But maybe that's just me.

...Beyond that, I am greatly surprised how much the people on this board here try to devalue their own rights as a contributor just because they are fanboys of company XY or cannot admit errors. One of the reasons I do not participate largely anymore.

Maybe your hostility and prejudices have something to do with your unpleasant experiences here. Not sure where you think I ever did any woo-yaying for SS, and I've never been quiet about my criticisms of the company. They have faults, no doubt about it, and I've openly discussed them here. But you'd obviously rather just assume that you know where I stand on those issues instead of actually reading anything about it, calling me a "fanboy" and all that. That's cool. Have at it.

Never mind, nothing personal...I usually value your comments here alot...

« Reply #28 on: December 13, 2011, 18:42 »
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Item 14 of those same terms states that "...Shutterstock reserves the right to modify these terms at any time and to notify you by an announcement on your login page of the modifications. You agree to be bound by all such changes."

Wow!  A contract between 2 parties where one side can move the goal posts at its discretion.  Suppose they decided to dilute the ownership of images on the site? 

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #29 on: December 13, 2011, 19:39 »
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Item 14 of those same terms states that "...Shutterstock reserves the right to modify these terms at any time and to notify you by an announcement on your login page of the modifications. You agree to be bound by all such changes."

Wow!  A contract between 2 parties where one side can move the goal posts at its discretion.  Suppose they decided to dilute the ownership of images on the site? 

What do they mean by 'you agree to be bound'? Presumably you can always remove your images?

« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2011, 00:47 »
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i guess things are just ironic, if there are an agency suspend one account and hold the funds without communications.. it just doesn't sound right.

We all are bound to the rules of every agencies, because we all have to agree with their terms that is subjected to change anytime, but hold the funds without any communications and update is not a fair way.

It is their company, they write the rules, they can decide what they want to do, but I just think it is not a fair and proper way.

Does it means all my earnings are gone? Does it means my account will resume? how many months are the suspension? Can i re-apply as contributors?

« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2011, 05:42 »
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What do they mean by 'you agree to be bound'? Presumably you can always remove your images?

I believe it means that the contributor agrees in advance to any changes that SS, at its absolute discretion, chooses to make to the contract and such changes are as binding as if in the original agreement.  They could (and I don't believe for 1 second they would) decide that a year's notice is required to remove images ...

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #32 on: December 14, 2011, 06:47 »
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What do they mean by 'you agree to be bound'? Presumably you can always remove your images?

I believe it means that the contributor agrees in advance to any changes that SS, at its absolute discretion, chooses to make to the contract and such changes are as binding as if in the original agreement.  They could (and I don't believe for 1 second they would) decide that a year's notice is required to remove images ...

So here is everyone praising SS to the rafters and they have such a ridiculous clause in their T&C, that you have to agree, unseen, in advance to any change they may make, including the above. Unlikely maybe, but who thought iStock was going to change they way they calculated their %age payouts to contributors. Bet 2 years ago most people wouldn't have believed it.
My acquired cynicism has led me to believe that if 'they' (='whoever') has that sort of clause, they will use it to their own benefit.
I've got nothing against SS, only know what I read here and hear from other people (seldom as rosy as reported here); but like any other company, they could be sold and their new owners might just love that clause.

velocicarpo

« Reply #33 on: December 14, 2011, 08:31 »
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i guess things are just ironic, if there are an agency suspend one account and hold the funds without communications.. it just doesn't sound right.

We all are bound to the rules of every agencies, because we all have to agree with their terms that is subjected to change anytime, but hold the funds without any communications and update is not a fair way.

It is their company, they write the rules, they can decide what they want to do, but I just think it is not a fair and proper way.

Does it means all my earnings are gone? Does it means my account will resume? how many months are the suspension? Can i re-apply as contributors?

I agree. They made an agreement, we agreed, they agreed, and it clearly states that the Contributors are allowed to do things like the OP. I mean, without doubt they have ALL rights to shape their agreement like they want, but as soon as all parties agree, it should be somehow reliable....and they did not modify the agreement...or is it just valid for some Contributors and others not?

I continue with my opinion that their behaviour is unprofessional in this case. Nothing to feel bad about. If a friend of yours makes a mistake we talk to him to...anything else would be ignorant.

helix7

« Reply #34 on: December 14, 2011, 08:55 »
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So here is everyone praising SS to the rafters and they have such a ridiculous clause in their T&C, that you have to agree, unseen, in advance to any change they may make, including the above. Unlikely maybe, but who thought iStock was going to change they way they calculated their %age payouts to contributors. Bet 2 years ago most people wouldn't have believed it.
My acquired cynicism has led me to believe that if 'they' (='whoever') has that sort of clause, they will use it to their own benefit...

Well that clause has been there for a long time and they haven't used it yet. At least not for nefarious purposes.

Most agencies have similar language in their terms, including istock, fotolia, dreamstime, etc. They all word it a little differently, but it's all the same. If you continue to do business with the company, you agree to any changes that have been made. If you disagree, you have to cease business with them. istock does give contributors a bit more notice of changes and the option to wait 20 days to decide if they agree. But in the end it's still the same outcome. Either you agree to the changes or that's the end of the road for you.

« Reply #35 on: December 14, 2011, 09:52 »
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All we need to see from SS is consistency...

I think as long as images of NASA and other public domain stuff is being offered there as RF, I can't see why the excessive use of a filter whose terms allow commercial usage is not ok. If a buyer likes it - money will be made - it's a win - win. No laws broken, no harm done.

I think that is the confusing part that there is no straight line.

Funny enough that images with the famous water ripple plugin kept get featured in their light boxes although it's not very "creative" to use those either or is it?

I have to admit that their behavior is somewhat selective.

I understand, it's still their sandbox and they can do whatever they want.

velocicarpo

« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2011, 10:09 »
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All we need to see from SS is consistency...

I think as long as images of NASA and other public domain stuff is being offered there as RF, I can't see why the excessive use of a filter whose terms allow commercial usage is not ok. If a buyer likes it - money will be made - it's a win - win. No laws broken, no harm done.

I think that is the confusing part that there is no straight line.

Funny enough that images with the famous water ripple plugin kept get featured in their light boxes although it's not very "creative" to use those either or is it?

I have to admit that their behavior is somewhat selective.

I understand, it's still their sandbox and they can do whatever they want.

Exactly. I totally agree.

Beyond that, why do they not simply delete / reject images created by software they don`t want? Why does a account has to be deleted if the Contributor did not violate the Terms? Wha do they have to keep the Money earned by the Contributor?

helix7

« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2011, 10:38 »
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Beyond that, why do they not simply delete / reject images created by software they don`t want? Why does a account has to be deleted if the Contributor did not violate the Terms?

They did delete the images from the OP's portfolio first. He then uploaded more, hence the suspension. You're spinning this like SS just went straight for the suspension without taking any other action first. That's simply not true.

I don't expect that we'll ever agree on whether SS was right or wrong in their actions here, but let's at least be factually accurate in the discussion.

« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2011, 10:39 »
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Beyond that, why do they not simply delete / reject images created by software they don`t want?
Resources. They simply don't have enough staff to go through the portfolios of hundreds of contributors to check every single image if an "illegal" or unwanted filter has been used.

They can change their terms but give the contributors a deadline to get their own portfolios up to the new standard, otherwise they could hand out warnings or something along those lines.

In any case it's always tough to make changes to a collection by banning certain content afterwards. IS for example constantly makes changes to what they accept no matter if approved content from 5 years ago is clearly violating their new terms. Those images though remain on sale. Doesn't make too much sense, does it?

Quote
Why does a account has to be deleted if the Contributor did not violate the Terms?
As said before, his portfolio got cleaned out by SS because of the use of a certain filter. Using that particular filter again is a death sentence. That's a no brainer - just don't do it. He was already on their watch list and he pushed it further. Instead of uploading the image the regular way, he could have contacted support first to have the content management team look at it independently and let him know whether this "improved" usage of the filter would be acceptable. Either way, he knew they don't like the filter (in his case!).

Quote
Wha do they have to keep the Money earned by the Contributor?
That might be written in their terms that they can do that. It's not about why, it's their terms, we signed them so it's "ok".

velocicarpo

« Reply #39 on: December 14, 2011, 11:21 »
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Beyond that, why do they not simply delete / reject images created by software they don`t want? Why does a account has to be deleted if the Contributor did not violate the Terms?

They did delete the images from the OP's portfolio first. He then uploaded more, hence the suspension. You're spinning this like SS just went straight for the suspension without taking any other action first. That's simply not true.

I don't expect that we'll ever agree on whether SS was right or wrong in their actions here, but let's at least be factually accurate in the discussion.

Ohhhh dear, I do not want to get into any discussion that leads to nowhere...however, i did not say they went straight to deletion. But I do say that an account deletion is unnecesary since no terms had been violated and no bad intention was included. At least they should communicate themselves...
« Last Edit: December 14, 2011, 11:25 by velocicarpo »

« Reply #40 on: December 14, 2011, 12:08 »
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Even if we would all agree that icholakov did something wrong, and violated the rules, it is not necessary for Shutterstock to treat him without respect.  He is not a criminal, and even if he was he should be treated with respect by SS, which means :  answer his questions, in writing, by phone, anyway, but just answer the questions he sent 6 months ago. 

« Reply #41 on: December 14, 2011, 12:11 »
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Even if we would all agree that icholakov did something wrong, and violated the rules, it is not necessary for Shutterstock to treat him without respect.  He is not a criminal, and even if he was he should be treated with respect by SS, which means :  answer his questions, in writing, by phone, anyway, but just answer the questions he sent 6 months ago. 

Exactly. I know we haven't heard both sides of the story but I am disappointed in what appears to be SS's actions in this case. Others have reported similar difficulties so a pattern is beginning to emerge.


« Reply #42 on: December 14, 2011, 13:09 »
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I think the agencies need to have some very clear rules - with some way of appealing - for any account closures and/or forfeit of money.  Even though I have never intentionally broken any of the rules at any of the sites, I find it deeply scary that should one be thought to have broken one, the agency would behave like some sort of totalitarian state.

I don't know the details of this specific dispute, but just as I wouldn't want to go back to the times that spawned such idioms as "you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb", I don't like the apparent stonewalling of contributors or extraordinary penalties for what seems like a relatively minor offense.

Remember when iStock went on a rampage to remove cars, guitars and cruise ships? It would be analagous, IMO, to upload a shot that included a car taillight in an auto shop image and find that your account had been closed because you'd uploaded another car shot after having all your isolated cars removed. When the rules change, it isn't always as clear to the contributors exactly what's on each side of the line. I think clarifying that the earlier removals meant no content from this filter ever, not even as part of a collage, no matter how complex or intricate would probably have solved the problem.

When you consider what it would mean to most of us to have our account closed arbitrarily, I think a clear and transparent account termination process is in all of our best interests

« Reply #43 on: December 14, 2011, 13:37 »
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Alamy for example even called me when they had some questions about my pictures, just for clarification purposes.

Communication is key.

With a phone call things could be cleared out immediately.

Also, even SS has a very small office compared to it's popularity as the largest subscription agency in the world. Everyone who works there, works hard 9-5. Additional requests from us to get an answer to this and that will result in messages getting lost/ignored instead of hiring more staff and possibly even cutting our commissions because of that...

« Reply #44 on: January 15, 2012, 09:19 »
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Well, as much as I hate to see it, it happened:
My 1099 MISC for 2011 includes about $500 of earnings that occurred after my account was suspended and the earnings were "withheld" by shutterstock.
 I wish there was a way to dispute a 1099. No reply to any of my faxes yet, no reply to any of emails yet and no reply to any of my written requests yet, although they had "signature required".
Nice job, shutterstock.
---------------------------------




In the U.S., individuals are on a cash basis of accounting.  If you don't receive the cash, then you don't report it as income.  If Shutterstock sends you a 1099 and it does not tie to the cash you have received, then you need to dispute that 1099.  I don't know the tax laws abroad.

If your company is on an accrual basis of accounting, then you have the opportunity to write off bad debts and take them against income - again, not paying taxes on that money.

I'm sorry to hear that your account was shut down and I'm surprised that an account closure at Shutterstock also created an account closure at Bigstock.  That tells me that they aren't running them as two separate companies.  Interesting.

« Reply #45 on: January 15, 2012, 09:56 »
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Well, as much as I hate to see it, it happened:
My 1099 MISC for 2011 includes about $500 of earnings that occurred after my account was suspended and the earnings were "withheld" by shutterstock.
 I wish there was a way to dispute a 1099. No reply to any of my faxes yet, no reply to any of emails yet and no reply to any of my written requests yet, although they had "signature required".
Nice job, shutterstock.
---------------------------------




In the U.S., individuals are on a cash basis of accounting.  If you don't receive the cash, then you don't report it as income.  If Shutterstock sends you a 1099 and it does not tie to the cash you have received, then you need to dispute that 1099.  I don't know the tax laws abroad.

If your company is on an accrual basis of accounting, then you have the opportunity to write off bad debts and take them against income - again, not paying taxes on that money.

I'm sorry to hear that your account was shut down and I'm surprised that an account closure at Shutterstock also created an account closure at Bigstock.  That tells me that they aren't running them as two separate companies.  Interesting.

Indefensible!

jbarber873

« Reply #46 on: January 15, 2012, 10:44 »
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   You can dispute a 1099, just don't contact shutterstock, contact the IRS. They will send a form to SS asking to have the 1099 corrected or justified in it's present form. In the meantime ( the IRS wheels grind slowly), on your 2011 taxes, report the correct amount of income, and keep all your paypal ( or whatever method you used) records to prove the actual income you received. When you file a return, attach a statement describing the dispute and note that a revised 1099 was not received in time for you to file. The 1099s are matched up against your reported income on your tax form at the IRS. Also, this assumes you are above board with all your other aspects of your return. This will put you in the spotlight, depending on your tax status ( corporate or individual) so don't play games.


 

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