Are Thieves Selling Your Photos on Shutterstock?

I recently found that copyright thieves had been uploading my photos to Shutterstock. In this video, I talk about how to find if your photos have been uploaded to Shutterstock and how to get them taken down with a DMCA takedown notice.

Also, here is a followup video about the response from Shutterstock:


19 thoughts on “Are Thieves Selling Your Photos on Shutterstock?”

  1. I also had this happen to me, I found one of my images simply reversed and uploaded. I tried following the format on the Shutterstock website for filing a DMCA, but it's not very clear. They emailed me back that my request was not written correctly but they did take down the image. Sad to say, their account, which was full of images from free image sites, is still there..minus my image. Thanks for the template link. I will surely put it to good use in the future.

  2. You have a good point. Shutterstock could actually create software that automatically checks every uploaded photo for copyright infringement and prevent the upload from happening.

    I also came across a video that teaches people how to download images from Shutterstock for free. They basically take the Shutterstock photo URL and paste it into another sight that then removes the Shutterstock watermark from the photo and provides the option to download it without the watermark.

    Do you think Shutterstock could make it more difficult for people to actually steal photos this way?

  3. You can attend the annual meeting by buying a few shares of stock. The ticker is SSTK. You can then submit this request be put to a vote. I’m not sure of the exact procedure, but I believe it is doable… Good luck with this. And thank you for the video..

  4. you can make a video about shutterstock server problem that have soo many people last days including me.
    we cant conect with http://ftp.shutterstock server from filezilla and with any FTP client.
    we cant upload footages anymore and the responce of their service is crap.
    they send answers to us like we are 10 years childs.
    so how can someone trust them when they behave like that. search it if you like and youll see that is true

  5. Thanks for this… I found a bunch of my images are currently infringed on Shutterstock! I'll have to painstakingly go through my entire portfolio instead of just my top sellers

  6. I am curious to hear if this happens to stock photographers who shoot models, editorial, lifestyle etc. Since I know you are asked to submit a sign release form. Thoughts?

  7. Great video, thank you. I am currently dealing with a number of stolen photos and have sent a takedown notice to Shutterstock (both their regular contributor contact e-mail and their copyright infringement department). I have followed up multiple times, but they are simply not responding, at all. It's been about 9 days now since I sent the first e-mail. What would you do if the DMCA takedown notice is simply ignored?

  8. I have reported my design thief to Shutterstock a week ago. And until now there is no action from Shutterstock.

    The thief is still free to sell my work in his account.

  9. You don't need, and can't make use of the Shutterstock "similar" algorithm for your app. Because that algorithm relies on having access to all the images to compare to. So you'd need to download and process all the images on Shutterstock. They DO provide a "list similar images" API endpoint at "/v2/images/{id}/similar", see their API documentation. Looks like you upload an image and then run this request. Why doesn't Shutterstock use this algorithm to find violations? It's more complicated than you imagine, I think: They need to regularly crawl the web, download every image, process it, search, verify that it is really the same image, verify that the site they got the image from is licensed from shutterstock or the user that uploaded to shutterstock, and then figure out how to report the possible violation to the person running that website. Unless I'm missing something…

  10. There should be a way to get money from shutter stock if they make money off your stolen work. DMCA is good, but DMCA with fines paid to the victim is justice. Shutter stock needs to automatically offer compensation to anyone they rip off. LOL, I'm a developer too. Companies using the "technically too hard" excuse are just making excuses cause they don't want to solve the problem cause they make money from it. Excellent argument for subscribing! I want to find out if they really ban the users too. Nice defense of Shutterstock as good and bad at the same time and status quo business practice of seeking money first and only.

    ps. Imagine if you could sell your photos at lower prices to poor people and higher prices to rich customers at the same time and make a a profit too? Imagine if shutter stock allowed you to optionally offer people or companies that were poor or deserving or wonderful to get price discounts on stock images? You could raise your price for stock photos very very high for corporations and scammers with bad reputations, but lower your prices for small non-profits or public good or individuals or friends and family at the same time. If you're interested in this idea to make more profit from your photos and try out a new price system that makes you profit and reduces poverty at the same time, then Google, "the hOEP Project" to find out more. The hOEP(hOurs Equals Price) Project is a crowdsourced public domain collection of research into the behavioral economics of shopping and purchasing.

  11. Thanks for your video. But you know what is even more crazy thing that happens on Shutterstock? I got a DMCA takedown notice from Shutterstock and my account has been blocked for more than 2 weeks after a thief reported my original image as a stolen image. After I sent them several emails with screenshots of my raw images from my lightroom catalog. They could see the same image in the unedited version and with the exact date. Only after this they reactivated my account and deleted the image of the thief who started the DMCA takedown against me. This is absolut madness. Also the Shutterstock support seems super slow and I had to explain the problem over and over again to different support people from India. I have the impression that most if not all people who work for the Shutterstock support team are from India. And also the thiefs I have the impression are mainly from there.

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