Alamy Revises Contributor Agreement after Photographers sent in complaints


This just in. Alamy has revised its contributor agreement after receiving stinging criticism in regard to how it pursues copyright infringements. The original terms were sent in February and was all ready to go live in April, 2015. But photographers started to protest some of the amendments to the previous terms and this started the ball rolling for a change. Shooting stock is a very difficult trade. You can spend thousands shooting images which you hope to sell only to see a similar offering for Royalty Free licensing. 

Contacting the customer to check on copyright usage was one of the critical issues that led to an amendment. On the left hand side is the original usage and contributor agreement terms and on the left, you have the amendment. 

In the original revised terms sent to contributors in February, 2015. Alamy wanted photographers to stay the hell away from customers. I mean, who wants their customers hounded by photographers? Unfortunately, this didn't go well with contributors who say that Alamy just wants to protect copyright abusers by buying the least costly license for a photo and using it verbatim on every single imaginable print and web collateral. 

The problem is still Alamy's stand is on its own pursuant of the copyright infringer. Here, it is closely worded to imply that if they do take action, the nett amount recovered from the offender will be first used to pay of its own legal team before handing any residual amount due to you. 

In other words, if you spend most of your time combing the net for people who use your photos without paying, then you could ranking a huge bill of your own. Apparently, Alamy will have to determine if the offending party was a client or customers of Alamy when this all happens. No where does it say that it will pursue the offender for leaked images. 

How does a Photo Leak into the Mainstream?

Alamy has a distributor network, who in turn help to market your photos to countries where it is not reaching out to. It is through here that the leaks will happen. High resolution images could be passed on for customer validation and rejected, and later used in customers collaterals. But Alamy also has its own preferred client list, who may in turn have those photos picked out, paid for and later used in other marketing collaterals where the original licensing does not cover. 

For example, for print use and for web use. People can easily scale a web quality for use on print. It's not rocket science. This is done on a everyday basis for photos which do not have the resolution to meet the demands of the print industry. 

Just because someone buys a medium quality image for use does not mean it can't be upscaled to print use. 

Print is very difficult to pursue. Unless you have a printed copy of the offending collateral, chances are you don't have a chance in court regardless of where you sold your license. 

How can I protect My Images from such Infringements?

Technically, you can't. If you find one on the web, you could issue a DMCA on a web host where the site resides. It won't work if the offending server or web host in located in a country that have very different copyright laws than the one found in the US of A. 

When an image leaks onto the Internet, chances are it's a done deal. Your only hope is to petition Google with a DMCA to take down photos which appear on their search engine so that the you have some control over the spread of the wildfire. 

Google images can be your best buddy if you want to find stolen pictures but you have to be Internet savvy to know how to issue a take down. 

For example, a Fortune 500 company residing in Europe might use your stolen image in a slider, you can have that offending site taken off the Google search results. This will impact the offending party's capability to have a page rank and this is probably your best bet. 

Those mom and pop stores? Well you could do the same if you have the time but you have to show that you own those pictures (having a stock image agency link to the stolen photos can help). To know more about how DMCA works on the Internet, you can go to Chilling Effects to get a better picture.