Current Google Controversy

posted on 18th of january, 2013

Many of you may be aware of the recent controversy that has come up regarding images provided via Google Drive. If you have not yet heard about this, please do some reading as the outcome may have wide reaching effects throughout the microstock community. In very quick summary, the situation involves numerous images that were licensed to Google by a stock agency. The images are now available to all Google Drive users for free with unlimited usage (commercial and non-commercial) on items created on Google Drive. Some of the images normally sell for several hundred dollars per download; contributors received a one time payment of either $6 or $12 per image in this deal. Many contributors fear that their images have been devalued, and that they will have trouble selling these images in the future now that they are freely available to anyone with a Google Drive account. Further, all meta data and attribution to the contributors has been stripped from the images, and many now appear to be "public domain" imagery.

If you are a photographer, illustrator, graphic designer, or a Google Drive user, you may find yourself affected by this situation at some point in the future. For more history and information, read Sean Locke's article on the situation. You can also follow ongoing discussions on the topic at the Microstock Group forums. There are numerous other articles appearing across the Internet.

Comments (24)

Posted by Enigmacypher on February 11, 2013
Things just became even more ... er .... interesting....

Sean Locke - A Change in Things

Thins recent development may shake things up a bit more than they already were.
Posted by Eclecticelegance on February 10, 2013
Wow...that sounds like a major problem.

Love the pitchfork image that accompanies this. ;-)
Posted by Jdfoster on February 07, 2013
Looks like its time to file a class action lawsuits against **/** and google over this.
Posted by Enigmacypher on February 02, 2013
It looks like Deactivation Day (aka, D-Day) is well underway for contributors at that other agency. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Posted by Wordplanet on January 28, 2013
I've been following this closely - it's a terrible disregard of photographer's rights and the rights of their models as well.
Posted by Icefields on January 24, 2013
It could make sense for DT to set up a kind of special welcoming program (or at least some kind of communication) for former IS exclusives, before other microstock sites take such an initiative .
Posted by Enigmacypher on January 22, 2013
It looks like Google Drive now has over 12,000 stock images. If you have images uploaded with any site owned by GI, you may want to search for your username and see if any of your images are included. I have no idea who is maintaining this site: Google Drive Stock Images
Posted by Peanutroaster on January 22, 2013
Thanks for the heads up on this!
Posted by Enigmacypher on January 21, 2013
Susan, the URL was modified by DT since it contains the name of another stock agency. Try using TinyURL to convert it to a shorter URL that will not get edited. Thanks.
Posted by Inyrdreams on January 21, 2013
if anyone would like to read more about this,. here is a wonderful site with a lot of great feedback! so glad im not on that site... dreamstime, you are doing a lot of right things! thank you
Posted by Tazzymoto on January 21, 2013
I have images with ******** through Flickr but only one on the Google drive so far. I feel sorry for the photographers who's children family or friends images have been uploaded to this drive where anyone can download a high res image for free (11800 images and counting). Many photographers from ******** (owned by ********) are jumping ship to other agencies. Feb 2nd is deactivation date. It will be interesting to see what happens. Other than that there is nothing anyone can do.
Posted by Laurasinelle on January 20, 2013
Thanks for sharing, I didn´t know about this!
Posted by Egomezta on January 20, 2013
Thanks for sharing, I didn't know this. What can we do?
Posted by M4rio1979 on January 19, 2013
very useful article, I did not know this until now. Thanks!
Posted by Solidsdman on January 18, 2013
If non-exclusive images are part of this Google drive deal, and the images sold to Google are on other sites such as Dreamstime, I would think that Dreamstime would be very concerned that images in their collection are now floating around as free images. Who would buy those images from Dreamstime when you can shop the image for free? Plus GI/IS have hinted that they are considering more "Deals" in the future. This may have some far reaching consequences.
Posted by Jsnover on January 18, 2013
Independent photographers, macro and micro, are caught up in the Google Drive giveaway. It was the Microsoft promotional deal (pretty bad, but not as bad) that was exclusives only.
Posted by Lebenszyklen on January 18, 2013
from what i've read in a 30+ page long thread on the subject, apparently images of non-exclusives were also part of the package.
Posted by Solidsdman on January 18, 2013
I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) the images used by GI/IS for this Google Drive deal are only from contributors who are Exclusive to GI/IS.

Still, this deal making by the stock agencies has me concerned as I consider whether or not to go exclusive to any one agency. I think I'll hold off for now. Keep my eggs in multiple baskets.
Posted by Colette6 on January 18, 2013
Images seem to be from GI/IS/TS/Z/BI/JI/SXP/IMS/VS and so on!
And they gave away what they do not own: the copyright belongs to the photographer!
They only have the right to sell a license to use the image, not the rights of the image itself.
They don’t care at all.

There are no RM images in the deal, only RF afaik. And when you are exclusive to DT it will not affect you (for now).

When you are independent and they don’t make this thing right, there’s only one way to protect your images from this: removing them all from GI/IS/TS and all agencies that are bought by GI.

But I don’t think the actions of individual photographers will make a difference to their behaviour. They are too big and have shown in the past that they laugh about contributors and their protest. Perhaps over a longer period of time when every photographer is leaving slowly. Some photographers are bound by hands and feet for now. This slowly leaving is already happening over the past two years....(More)
Posted by Jsnover on January 18, 2013
Get the word out to any photographer you know who has images on GI (can be via other agencies such as B1end 1mages, 1mage 3ource or V2tock, as examples) or on TS - and the Hemera collection is the old SXP content as well as IS 2oonar and others.

Groundhog Day is D-Day (for deactivation day) - see MSG for more.

The images need to be kept out of GI's hands as once licensed, getting them back from Google may be hard
Posted by Zenpix on January 18, 2013
Ok....So what is the solution? How can we (every) stock photographer fight this?
Posted by Enigmacypher on January 18, 2013

"There are images on the list from Yuri Arcurs, Andresr, Monkeybusiness and many other well known contributors. Macro- as well as Microstock. All high quality and added from different agencies."

Just to clarify - the different agencies these have come from are all part of the same larger agency (GI). At least, that is what I have read thus far.
Posted by Colette6 on January 18, 2013
The stars mean GI/IS. You can replaces the name of the agencies here. Sorry didn't think about that DT would remove the names!
Posted by Colette6 on January 18, 2013
“Controversy” seems a too weak word to me.
With ******** Images/******** saying that they are planning more of these type of “deals” in the future!
Where will this end when they are not stopped?

This way ******** Images has placed a bomb under the whole stock industry. Macro- as well as microstock.
Everyone will perhaps be affected in the near future when they don’t stop this mess. Stockagencies as well as contributors.
Every image from your portfolio added to this ‘public domain Google collection’ has become worthless.

There are images on the list from Yuri Arcurs, Andresr, Monkeybusiness and many other well known contributors. Macro- as well as Microstock. All high quality and added from different agencies. You can find links to the list on the MSG forum and see for yourself.

And the worst of all will perhaps be the fact that everyone now totally has loose controll about how these images are being used or manipulated. No model release will help here. Exclusive photographers...(More)

Comments (24)

This article has been read 2727 times. 7 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Mike Heywood.

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