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Posted Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:28AM
Reporting file misuse




From time to time people come across websites that may appear to be using iStock content outside of the license agreement. It's important to say right away that many of the misuses discovered have occurred because someone has acted carelessly rather than maliciously.

We understand that discovering a misuse can be very frustrating and that you will want to take action immediately, but if you come across such a case of suspected misuse, please follow the instructions below:

Exclusive contributors

With iStock as your distributor our Compliance and Enforcement people should handle these cases for you. In order to confirm the usage is not legitimate and to investigate and take action against these, we ask that you do the following:

Create a Support Ticket or send an email to

You need to include the following information:

- The file number of the iStock file you believe is being misused
- Website address that the image is being used in
- URL of web page(s) image found on
- What is the concern - watermark, size displayed wrong resolution,website usage etc.
- Please attach any screen-shots if possible

If you don't provide this information, we cannot take care of these issues for you.

Since the advent of tools such as TinEye and Google's image search, contributors have been able to get a better insight into where and how their images are being used. It's also brought to light that there are a number of images that are being used in a manner that either violates our licensing agreement or being used without having purchased a license.

To be clear, the reason we want these issues to run through us is so we can manage them. There are many reasons for this, including the fact that we may be able to turn some of these into sales. We also want to make sure that these folks aren't actual customers before we send them scary letters. We also want to avoid the possibility of one customer receiving a handful of letters from numerous contributors. It makes us all look bad.

Why we want to manage these issue for you

1. Customers have no idea who you are or that you may be exclusive with iStock. They may consider any contact you make with them as spam or fraudulent which then increases the contacts that we receive here trying to verify things.

2. If a customer has used more than one contributors images, they may receive multiple letters or contacts from different people where we would only contact them once for all of the images. We don't just investigate the one instance we look for more to cover all bases. If all of you are contacting the customers, it won't look professional or respectable.
You may ask, "Well, who cares.They're using my image without a license" Well, there are a large number of cases where a customer uses a watermarked image as a place-holder and inadvertently put it live. It's often an honest mistake and we turn this into a sale and royalties for you.

3. If you have images in the Partner Program, your files on iStock may show zero downloads even if someone downloaded it from the Partner site. When we investigate any licence violations, we look at all avenues to ensure it really is a violation and that no license has been purchased.

4. This reason is the most serious. This morning we were contacted by a customer who received a letter from a contributor threatening them with a lawsuit and demanding an amount in the thousands for the usage of a file they were using 'without a license' This customer actually has purchased the image from us. If we receive contact like this from any more customers and confirm the validity of the conversation with a contributor, we will be taking serious action against that contributor. This sort of behaviour jeopardizes our business and your business and will not be tolerated.

We understand that it can be frustrating to come across cases of apparent misuse but we are working hard to review all of them as quickly as possible.

Non-Exclusive contributors

For our non-exclusive contributors, we would also like to help you the best we can, unfortunately, the only issues we can assist you with are watermarked images because we cannot guarantee the images were purchased from iStock for any other case. If you come across any sites that you believe to be misusing any of your files, please follow the instructions above, providing all the necessary detail for us to investigate.

(Edited on 2014-02-05 07:09:14 by kelvinjay)
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