Current Google Controversy

Angry villagers with pitchforks

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.

Photo credits: Mike Heywood.
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February 11, 2013

Things just became even more ... er .... interesting....


Thins recent development may shake things up a bit more than they already were.


February 10, 2013

Wow...that sounds like a major problem.

Love the pitchfork image that accompanies this. ;-)


February 07, 2013

Looks like its time to file a class action lawsuits against **/** and google over this.


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.


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.


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 .


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: ***.com


January 22, 2013

Thanks for the heads up on this!


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.


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********-hands-google-users-free-commercial-images-photographers-get-12/


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.


January 20, 2013

Thanks for sharing, I didn´t know about this!


January 20, 2013

Thanks for sharing, I didn't know this. What can we do?


January 19, 2013

very useful article, I did not know this until now. Thanks!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

I have always said that it is difficult to build up a good name and when you loose it you never can get it back! That’t what GI is doing, but they don’t seem to care…

This deal on itself is a small loss for individual photographers. But when GI goes on to help Google build up an image collection this way, it is not difficult to see which way this will end…
The bigger this Google collection will grow, the bigger the losses for indidual contributors and all the other agencies. Some of these images seem to be already downloaded more then a million times.


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