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Copyright infringement or not?

Community Beginner ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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This site is displaying my photography from Adobe Stock. Is this a copyright infringement? 

https://www.wallsheaven.com/wall-murals/autumn-day-reflection-B443487849

 

P1130183.jpg

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correct answers 3 Correct answers

Adobe Employee , Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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Enthusiast , Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

I believe their business model is based on Adobe Stock product.  When one of their customers orders a wall mural or print, part of the cost is the licensing of the image.  I see they are giving you credit for the image as part of your portfolio and they also state that the Adobe Stock watermark will not be on the final product.  I have done searches and found my work available on their website too.

 

I personally don't consider it copyright infringement because I believe they are advertising for

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LEGEND , May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

As I understand it, you should find ALL of your work on the site. Adobe offer a service called the "Adobe Stock API", described here https://developer.adobe.com/stock/docs/getting-started/

This gives people like print-on-demand companies access to the image database to show preview images on their own site (the same ones as on the Adobe Stock site). They aren't likely to have a copy of your images anywhere to be deleted.

 

The API also lets the company license an image if one of their customers cho

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Adobe Employee ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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I believe their business model is based on Adobe Stock product.  When one of their customers orders a wall mural or print, part of the cost is the licensing of the image.  I see they are giving you credit for the image as part of your portfolio and they also state that the Adobe Stock watermark will not be on the final product.  I have done searches and found my work available on their website too.

 

I personally don't consider it copyright infringement because I believe they are advertising for me and potentially getting me more sales.  I think it would be different if they were trying to claim the work as their own. 


Rob R, Photographer

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Community Beginner ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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Thank you for the response. I had a sense they were not breaking the law but was not sure. Other sites are using my work also. When someone buys my photos for pennies through Adobe and then uses them for their own commercial profit it is somewhat disconcerting. They are making more money from my photos than I am.

Thomas

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Enthusiast ,
Mar 02, 2022 Mar 02, 2022

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I do understand.  I suppose though it wouldn't be different than any customer licensing one of our images and then taking it to a print shop.  It is probably the same amount of money for us either way.


Rob R, Photographer

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LEGEND ,
Mar 03, 2022 Mar 03, 2022

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People can license your pictures and use them, for example, to make a building size mural, a million dollar advertising campaign for a big company, or as covet Illustration in a book selling 400,000 copies. That's the deal you sign up for with microstock  - same price in all cases. In that scale of things, the 'order this picture for your wall' companies seem a pretty good deal - at least they are promoting your work without charging you for it. 

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Explorer ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Thanks for this information. I had just discovered a lot of my work on this site as well, and I have to say I'm really not happy about it. It would be one thing if they had already paid for the image licencing, but most of the images I'm seeing displayed on their site have never been purchased by anyone on Adobe Stock. Yes, they are crediting me and the displayed images do have the Adobe watermark (though barely visible), but I feel like they should not have the right to sell any of my work on merchandise until after they have purchased extended licences for my work. I'm really not okay with this. I was hesitant about putting my work on Adobe stock to begin with, and if there had been any indication that this sort of thing could happen, I would never have uploaded my work at all.

Do you know if this is a partnership that they've specifically worked out with Adobe Stock and Adobe has given them permisson to do this? I'm guessing there's probably no way to opt-out, but I'm probably going to have to contact either WallsHeaven or Adobe Stock to make sure my work won't be displayed anymore if I remove it from Adobe.

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LEGEND ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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As I understand it, you should find ALL of your work on the site. Adobe offer a service called the "Adobe Stock API", described here https://developer.adobe.com/stock/docs/getting-started/

This gives people like print-on-demand companies access to the image database to show preview images on their own site (the same ones as on the Adobe Stock site). They aren't likely to have a copy of your images anywhere to be deleted.

 

The API also lets the company license an image if one of their customers chooses the print on demand product, then they (the company, not their customer) get the full resolution image. I don't know what they pay, since they are producing a single item, not the rights to make an unlimited number, which is what an enhanced license gives. 

 

So, while it may be startling to find your work there, you may be able to see it as a way that Adobe extend the reach of their image library, far beyond the sort of people who directly buy stock, which can only increase your sales. 

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Explorer ,
May 06, 2022 May 06, 2022

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Thank you for the information. So if it's an API thing, then removing my work from Adobe Stock should automatically remove it from sales listings like this even if it took a bit of time to update?

And while I understand that something like this could give me increased sales, it is not something I'm okay with, and again I never would have uploaded my images on Adobe Stock if there'd been any clear indication that this could happen. Back when I took an art marketing course, I expressed concerns about images I sold on stock image sites possibly being sold on POD sites. This was something I very much wanted not to happen because I want to sell my work on my own POD accounts like RedBubble, Society6, etc so I wouldn't want other companies selling my work as print-on-demand products in competition with that. The instructor told me that the possibility of that happening was probably pretty low since an extended licence would be too costly to make print-on-demand profitable, but it suddenly becomes much more viable if they don't have to pay for a licence until after they make a sale.

If I wasn't trying to sell my work on POD sites myself, then I probably wouldn't have an issue with it, but I am, so I don't want this kind of accessibility for other companies to do that with my work through Adobe Stock. So I think I'm going to take down most if not all of my images on Adobe Stock. I may still sell animated versions of my work as stock video on Adobe Stock in the future, because that's something where there'd be much less overlap with what I'd personally be able to use it for.

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Community Expert ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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quote

Thank you for the information. So if it's an API thing, then removing my work from Adobe Stock should automatically remove it from sales listings like this even if it took a bit of time to update?

By @Ascension Vibrations

Yes.

quote

And while I understand that something like this could give me increased sales, it is not something I'm okay with, and again I never would have uploaded my images on Adobe Stock if there'd been any clear indication that this could happen.

By @Ascension Vibrations

It's part of your contributor agreement that you probably did not read:

Abambo_0-1651958129958.png

 

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Explorer ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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What you have quoted from the contributor agreement and especially the highlighted portion in no way indictates that I should have expected my work to be listed on print-on-demand sites to be available to buy as physical merchandise before any extended licence for my work had been purchased. I don't think any reasonable person would have known that's what to expect from what was written. Most people are not well versed in the convoluted legalese language that is used in these agreements. So you can go over it with a fine-toothed comb and still not fully understand every aspect of it.

 

From what is written there I thought it just meant that my work could be displayed on other sites in order to facilitate the purchase of licences to use my art. As in purchase the digital files. I'll reiterate that nothing written there indicates, in plain English, that I should have expected my images to be made available for purchase as print-on-demand products, without needing an extended licence for my work beforehand. So if wallsheaven.com was just facilitating the purchase of the licences to use the digital files, I'd probably be fine with it. It's the print-on-demand aspect with no extended licence purchased befhorehand that I'm not okay with.

And I read the terms of the standard and extended licences for image files multiple times, and those show that only an extended licence gives someone the right to sell my images on merchandise. I don't think I'm an idiot for in no way being able to anticipate this sort of situation was a possibility.

Since there doesn't appear to be any way to opt out of this sort of thing, I ended up deleting all of my images off of Adobe Stock last night. I may still do stock video in the future, but only because I can't think of any way that could be utilized in print-on-demand products.

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Community Expert ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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quote

From what is written there I thought it just meant that my work could be displayed on other sites in order to facilitate the purchase of licences to use my art.

By @Ascension Vibrations

But that is precisely what happens. The buyer buys a licence and orders a print of the licensed item.

 

Basically, the one using the API to access the Adobe stock library does so because he has an added value business. The only application I can imagine is to have a print on-demand business.

 

I understand, however, that if your main business is not stock, but the print on-demand business, that you are unhappy with this competition. If you have your stock assets in a second library, check with them if they also have such an API service. I could imagine, that it is common business practice.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Explorer ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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Well all I can say is again that the contributer agreement in no way made it clear that print-on-demand was a typical or possible application of the API access. If it had, I would not have uploaded my images in the first place. I do not want my art listed as a print-on-demand sale until/unless an extended licence has been purchased behforehand. In my opinion, this way of doing business is shady and unethical. I'll bet that the majority of artists that have work listed on wallsheaven.com and other sites like it have no clue their work is being sold in this manner, and I feel that this is something that every artist has the right to be made aware of and decide for themselves whether it's something they're okay with or not.

Thank you for your concern, but do not have assets for sale with any other stock image company. My intent was to sell stock assets exclusively on Adobe Stock so I'd have a better chance of qualifing for the bonus program that would earn you free subscriptions for Photoshop or other software if you get enough downloads. So it made no sense to give people the option to buy stock assets from me for commerical use anywhere else. Again, I'll probably still do stock video in the future with animated versions of my art. I'm less concerned with competition there because video can't be used for print-on-demand. The only application I could see myself using the video for at this time is as a visualization for meditation videos, and even if other people use it for the exact same thing, there will be different audio to go along with it. So yeah, I'm not leaving Adobe Stock. I'm just limiting what I use it for now.

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Community Expert ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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If you don't understand what you're agreeing to in microstock parlance, you should probably consult with an attorney who does.  All the major microstock agencies like iStock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock, etc.. operate in much the same way. 

 

If Adobe didn't didn't make their their inventory available to other sites to promote, you wouldn't sell anything.  Remember 25% of something is still better than 100% of nothing. 

 

If you remove your images from Adobe Stock, those assets can't be sold.  But people who already purchased a license can keep using the assets.

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Explorer ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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It's easy to say that, but I thought I did understand what I was agreeing to. The agreement was not at all clear or transparent in this manner. If you think you understand something, then you have no reason to consult with anyone about it. In any case, most artists just starting out, including myself, would not be able to afford to consult with an attorney. Sometimes you just don't know that you misunderstood something until new information is brought to your attention.

Also, I don't know how many times I have to say it. The issue is not about Adobe making the inventory available to other sites. I think I was under the impression that the API would be used for something like affiliate marketing, where the affiliate would get a cut of the royalties for asset licences. And I would have been fine with that if it generated more sales. The only thing I have a problem with is sales listings being made for print-on-demand physical merchandise before an extended licence has been bought, because having an extended licence is the only place on Adobe Stock that I could find any reference to people having the right to sell your work as phsyical merchandise. So that's what I thought I was agreeing to. Someone buys an extended licence first, and only then is able to sell your work as physical merchandise. Being able to make sales listings for print-on-demand before a licence has been purchased are not terms that I am at all okay with, which is why I decided to pull my image assets from Adobe.

I am fully aware that anyone that has actually purchased my work through Adobe Stock prior to this still has permission to use those assets, but thankfully the amount of sales generated before I became aware of this situation is relatively small, and thankfully nearly all of the purchases were not for extended licences.

One thing I will say is that I was actually already on the fence about removing my images from Adobe Stock because I really didn't like the idea of selling extended licences for my image assets at all. At the very least I probably wasn't going to upload any more image assets and just stick to video assets. So I'm actually happy that I found out about this because it made it super easy for me to make the decision to pull my image assets when I think that was what I really wanted to do deep down anyway.

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Community Expert ,
May 08, 2022 May 08, 2022

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OK.  You think you should be paid up front before any sales are made.

 

Unfortunately, that's not how Print on Demand dealers stay profitable.  If they pre-licensed every item in advance of sale, they would end up with too much unsold, licensed inventory and soon be out of business.  

 

Conversely, if you retract the asset from Stock, POD can't sell it even if someone wants to buy.  So the knife cuts both ways.

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Explorer ,
May 08, 2022 May 08, 2022

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I think you're missing the point, and perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I don't want print-on-demand sellers to be able to use my art like that through Adobe Stock period. The fact that it wouldn't be profitable for them to have to buy the licence up front and would be a deterrant would be desireable as far as I'm concerned. And that is exactly what I thought the situation was when I signed up, that anyone purchasing licences for my art would be highly unlikely to use it for print-on-demand. I was even advised this was the case by an instructor I took an art marketing class from, but apparently his information must have been outdated.

 

When I do print-on-demand I want it to be through sites that I choose and I create the listings myself. Having more control over which sites I'm selling on is much more important to me than increased revenue through Adobe Stock via print-on-demand listings. For someone that wants a more hands-off approach, and doesn't care as much about how their art is sold, this may be more desirable, but it's not how I want things.

And yes, that's exactly why I deleted my image assets from Adobe Stock, so the POD sellers using Adobe's API can't sell my work anymore. This is probably for the best since I was never 100% comfortable with the idea of selling extended image licences to begin with.

Since I've already pulled my image assets from Adobe, and plan to only do video assets in the future, this conversation has probably become rather moot.

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Community Expert ,
May 08, 2022 May 08, 2022

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This topic may help other Stock Contributors.  So I'll leave it unlocked in case other community users have questions.

Goodbye & good luck.

 

 

 

Nancy O'Shea, Product User & Community Expert
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Expert ,
May 07, 2022 May 07, 2022

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I moved this to the stock contributor forum.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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