Current Google Controversy
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.
Camera equipment: New and Old