Keywords Copying - Is It A Crime?
Well, from legal wiewpoint - there's no law about words copyright. "Titles, names, short phrases, and slogans; familiar symbols or designs; mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring; mere listings of ingredients or contents" are NOT eligible for federal copyright protection, stands on webpage of the U.S. Copyright Office. ( http://www.copyright.gov)
You can't own keywords, you can't copyright them, so there's no legal base for punish people, who copy keywords. From ethical viewpoint - is it right thing to do? Everyone can decide. But let's consider another viewpoint. Buyers viewpoint.
So, if we are thinking from buyers side, the more unity we have in keywords, the better it is and the more happier buyers are. The more happier buyers are, the better reputation site has. The better reputation site has, the more buyers we have. The more buyers we have, the more happier we are. So, there's a conclusion - IT'S NOT BAD AT ALL TO COPY KEYWORDS. Of course only when they are RIGHT and RELEVANT keywords.
But - if we are thinking like sellers, who hate competition and want only OUR images into search results, then of course we protect jealously our rights on words. But the point is - if we have good images and buyer get them on search results, then he definitely notice them and buys them, but if we have average images, but good keywords, and buyer gets only our images on search results (because creators of good images on this topic don't speak English or are not clever enough to think up those keywords like ours), then maybe buyer buys our average image, and we are happy, but it could be the last purchase of that buyer on this site, because buyer gets impression, that we have only average images online. And maybe he decides not to be returning customer.
We are not here because we have great verbal skills, we are here because of our images. And buyers are because of our images. So really - all keywords are irrelevant... only images matter.
Keywords are mere means for buyers to find images THEY need, and our job is to provide those images, and use such keywords, what help buyers find what THEY need. That's stock industry about.
PS: OK, after reading some feedback, I correct some things what I previously said and take back my words "everybody can copy my keywords". I still wouldn't be mind, but I can see, it's not acceptable on Dreamstime. So, please don't do it. Though I still think it could be a good thing for buyers and site in the long run.