Artist Release/Permission???

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  1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
    DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years ago

    I have an account at Shutterstock, where I submit photos for use, and which pays (will pay, once I'm established) when someone wants to use my images.  They are as strict as HP when it comes to copyright, and also posting personal information.

    I am having a bit of a battle with them on two images.  On one, they claim there is a trademark (I've looked at it under extreme magnification, and don't see what they're talking about);  the other, posted here, they are insisting on a release from the "artist." 

    I believe this is BS--what graffiti "artist" even wants to be found?  They are engaging in vandalism.  They don't sign their work (unless you happen to be on the inside and know any "codes" they might use).
    Besides, it would be impossible to know where this even happened--it could have been anywhere across the country!  Not only that, but by placing their "art" in such public venues as they do, to be seen by one and all, and probably photographed by many, it would seem to me that it has been de facto placed in the public domain.

    I'm wondering if HP would be such a stickler about this particular image?

    This photo I've titled, "Rail Cars on a Smoky Day."

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      You have to go by their rules, whether you agree or not.  HP has warned against using trademarks and even photos of people's faces, but HP is not the problem.  The problem is that if you use images that are not public domain, the photographer (or company) can sue you.  I have a friend who took photos of his new slide in camper for me to use in my articles.  I had to black out the name of the company on the RV where it showed so that I could use some of the images.  Fortunately I was able to make the blackout appear as if it was another window or would not have been able to use the photo.  Don't want to be sued!

      1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
        DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I understand that completely.  But then there is getting ridiculous about it;  graffiti?  Come on! 

        And, I know that HP is not the problem here; I was just wondering if they were that "anal" about "artwork" as to think that graffiti qualifies as "art" and want a release form...which is obviously impossible in this situation.

        1. Venkatachari M profile image85
          Venkatachari Mposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          But why do you say that graffiti is not an art work? Do you think that anyone can or everyone of us are able and capable of doing the graffiti?

          1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
            DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            It may be considered "art" by those doing the painting, but in point of fact, if they want it considered as true art, it should be done on either their own property, or on canvas, wood, etc.
            As it is, it is illegal, and is vandalism of private property (in this case, the owner(s) of the shipping containers).  THAT is why it is not "art" in this situation.

            1. Venkatachari M profile image85
              Venkatachari Mposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              Is it not possible that they might have employed that graffiti artists to do that?

              Anyway, art is art as far as I believe.

              1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
                DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

                No, this is NOT commissioned artwork.  This is straight up vandalism, as the figures used often include gang-related "tags;" in fact, much of this IS gang tags as a whole of the piece.  It is ugly, it defaces the containers, it is private property, and therefore, not "art."

          2. ziyena profile image89
            ziyenaposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            I wrote an article about the graffiti artist 'Banksy' and apparently many famous people follow and purchase his art.  Some of his art has been removed and housed in distinguished museums around the world - simply because of his anonymous prankster style.  Had he not cloaked his identity, I doubt he'd be so famous.  So yes, some Graffiti works are considered ART whether one likes it or not

            1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
              DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

              Banksy is a little bit different.  He does large pieces, people KNOW about him, and how to contact him for any needed permissions, and he does actual artwork with recognizable subjects.
              What we are talking about here are jumbled up letters and (often rude and crude) words, and it is done under cover of night when they can sneak away without being caught.

    2. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      The problem here is that the name of the train company appears on the cars.  They want you to get a release from the photographer, aka artist, to make sure he holds the rights to the photo.  Sometimes a company commissions a photographer to take photos but the company does not own the rights to the images.  Sometimes they do.  Frankly, I don't think it's worth the hassle to deal with this type of thing when there are so many other images you can use.

      1. theraggededge profile image97
        theraggededgeposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        It's Dzy's photo. The problem is with either the graffiti, or, as you say, the trade name. As they are talking about the 'artist', then it's most likely the graffiti.

      2. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
        DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Agreed, it's not worth the battle. However, they never mentioned the container logo; only the so-called "artwork."  Crazy.  Who knows who could have tagged these containers, and where?  "Getting permission from the artist" in the case of graffiti is an impossible request!

  2. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 5 years ago

    It's not worth arguing with Shutterstock.  They have rules that are applied in a literal way.   Artworks need released, no release no acceptance.  The reject stuff for showing a vase or a building.

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
      DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Hi Penny--
      So I'm discovering.  Stupid!  I also pointed out that graffiti is not "artwork," it's vandalism!  Sigh.

      I had another pic rejected for showing a trademark, and "sensitive" information. It was a very generic photo of waiting room chairs.  Slightly visible in the upper background was a public notice of California's "Prop. 65" warning about hazardous materials in use--in a Spanish translation.  There was also an area thermostat.  My bad for not noticing the tradename on the latter.
      But they insisted that "sensitive" information was displayed, and I told them that because of the HIPPA privacy act, no such thing is displayed in waiting rooms.  I fail to see how a notice required to be displayed by law comes under "sensitive" information.  But they held their ground on that as well.  Sheesh!
      I've cropped the photo down to eliminate the "offending" elements, and we'll see what happens next.

  3. psycheskinner profile image83
    psycheskinnerposted 5 years ago

    I've had similar go-rounds with them.  I got in a loop with wanting artist's releases for my own artwork and eventually I made one where I gave me permission to use my work.  Weirdly this seemed to work.

  4. MizBejabbers profile image87
    MizBejabbersposted 5 years ago

    Am I understanding you correctly? Shutterstock is saying that the graffiti on the train is artwork? First, the "artist" would have to prove it was his or her work. Second, the artist probably doesn't read books, magazines or other things in which your photo would appear, so how would he know that your photo featured his artwork. Cities are beginning to use street artists to spruce up their buildings, and I can see needing a release to use that type of photo, but graffiti on a train, Jeez!

    I've heard a lot of complaints that photos are being used without permission in online articles, so I guess they are just trying to CTA, but I think that is going overboard. Can you find a more accommodating place to place your photographs?

  5. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
    DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years ago

    Hi MizBejabbers!

    I agree that this is going overboard and well beyond the pale! However, I have plenty of other photos to submit that won't offend their delicate sensibilities.  I'll just move forward, and chalk this up to experience.

    I can use the pictures elsewhere, or delete them entirely from taking up space on my computer.  I took them specifically for that site, so I really don't need them otherwise.

  6. ziyena profile image89
    ziyenaposted 5 years ago

    There are so many unbelievable restrictions across the world when it comes to the rights of any person, place, or thing.  For instance the image of the Eiffel Tower photographed at night with its lights cannot be sold and distributed without permission.  Such a very slippery slope when it comes to intellectual property rights.  I'm sure you've done some research on the issue with the said artwork or the railway line photographed but just in case this link might help you or anyone else who's curious: … h&pn=1

    1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
      TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      The Eiffel tower is a public monument.  Photographing it is not the same as photographing a can of Campbell's Soup with the label showing.  Those restrictions are there to protect company logos, etc.  We all scream when someone steals our articles, but using someone else's work without permission is the same thing.  I hear a lot of complaining from RV owners about the fact that they can't park their coaches on their own land.  They don't "get" that this is because of zoning restrictions, and that those restrictions are there to protect the public.  They think it's unjust, but it isn't.  It's the law.

      1. ziyena profile image89
        ziyenaposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Even though the Eiffel Tower is a public monument  … its lighting design at night is protected from Commercial Use … as per Shutterstock:  "Cityscapes will be considered as long as the Eiffel Tower (lighting design) is not the primary subject of the image. These images will be evaluated on a case by case basis"   

        So, I'm guessing the lighting design on the Eiffel Tower is trademarked?  Things that make you go Hmmm.  Just thought I'd share to show that slippery slope.  Never knew that about RV owners and zoning restrictions.  Bummer

        1. TIMETRAVELER2 profile image85
          TIMETRAVELER2posted 5 years agoin reply to this

          Interesting...lots of things are bummers these days, but to survive and prosper you have to learn how to play the game.  There's a line in Call of the Wild that says "...a man with a club is a lawgiver".  That's the bottom line.  They're in charge. We choose to use their services, so we must abide by their rules or get clubbed!

          1. ziyena profile image89
            ziyenaposted 5 years agoin reply to this

            And exactly the reason I posted the link to Shutterstock … to help pass along more info about intellectual infringement for those who might be interested.  I'll bet very few here knew about the lighting design on the Eiffel Tower or RV zoning issues until now!  HP Forum smile  LOL  Cheers

      2. wilderness profile image95
        wildernessposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Never heard that about RV's (in the US), as long as they are licensed and registered.  Many towns don't allow "junk" cars on private lots, but if the RV has a current registration it's OK.

        But most Home Owner Associations do not allow it unless view from the street is blocked by a fence.  Most don't complain with a 6' fence, even though the top of the rig can still be seen.  It isn't zoning restrictions, then; it's about HOA rules and regulations.  And many owners refuse to buy in a HOA because of that rule; they don't want to pay for a site somewhere else, and do want the RV at their home.  I'm one of them.

        1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
          DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I live in a city that has exactly such zoning rules/restrictions on boats and RVs...nothing to do with HOAs--they have their own (and probably similar) rules, but this is city-wide where I live.

    2. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
      DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      What a ridiculously long list of "prohibited" scenes, cityscapes, and buildings!   Especially public buildings!  I have NO clue why those should be forbidden!!

      1. ziyena profile image89
        ziyenaposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Yes … it's not easy being a photographer now days.  I hope you get the issue cleared up with Shutterstock.  Good Luck to you

        1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
          DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

          I'm just not continuing the fight on this one; logic is falling on deaf ears.

  7. eugbug profile image96
    eugbugposted 5 years ago

    I had an issue with a picture of a roll of solder with the name of the manufacturer printed on it. I'm not sure which stock photo agency was involved (possibly StockPhotoMedia), but I airbrushed out the brand name and they were happy.
    Could you do that, or is the graffiti an important feature of the photo?

    Edit: Technically it would be difficult, because it's spread so much over the corrugations of the containers, but maybe it could be blurred?

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
      DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      The graffiti was just there; frankly, I wasn't paying much attention to it, because it was not the subject of the photo.  And you're right; trying to blur it out would be difficult, and also would result in a sub-par photo quality that would be rejected anyway for being "out of focus."

  8. eugbug profile image96
    eugbugposted 5 years ago

    Isn't the graffiti incidental to the photo though? It's not as though you're trying to sell photos of the artists work.It's a photo of shipping containers on a rail track.

    1. DzyMsLizzy profile image85
      DzyMsLizzyposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly!  I pointed this out to them in a couple of exchanges.  I'm done arguing with them.  Not worth my energy. 

      The whole point of this thread/question, was whether HP has any such restrictions on this kind of "incidentally just there" on photos, so I don't fall into a similar trap here.

      1. chasmac profile image90
        chasmacposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        I'm not sure if you got the answer already, but I can tell you from experience that Shutterstock and all other stock libraries are far more strict than HubPages regarding photo content. Here on HP, we can include logos, trademarks, IP protected buildings and identifiable people provided we have the right to use the photo. In other words, HP only care about copyright violations but not intellectual property right violations. On your train photo, I'm surprised Shutterstock rejected the grafitti, but the train or container company name/ logo is a definite no-no on Shutterstock.

  9. CYong74 profile image95
    CYong74posted 5 years ago

    I've been selling stock images for 10 years now, so perhaps I can share some relevant information. I'm with Dreamstime, by the way.

    Under the Dreamstime system, there are two types of submission.

    Commercial: Anything that doesn't contain a logo or identifiable artwork. If there's a human in the picture, you must provide a model release form. Some locations require property release forms too. (I'm not sure about property; I don't do such shots. I assume it applies to private property)

    Editorial: These can contain logos and people and private locations, and you wouldn't need to provide release forms. However, the buyer can "only use" these pictures for editorial purposes. Such as magazines writeups, news articles, etc. Strictly no usage of these images for commercial packaging, integration into other commercial artwork, etc.

    Of note, some logos can never be in any picture no matter the nature of the submission. For example, Starbucks. Supposedly, it's trademarked.

    As for the graffiti in discussion here, this is a new requirement. In short, artwork cannot be in any submitted image. I know this sounds silly, but it's not the stock libraries who are demanding this. There have been incidences of artists suing for infringements, including graffiti artists. There are also quite a number of well-known graffiti artists throughout the world. While the one in the case of Dzy's image is very likely just a punk, the stock libraries cannot make an exception. it complicates the laws for everyone. Not to mention, the vandal can actually sue for compensation under some circumstances. He would likely be fined for his act. But he can still sue.


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