Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Posts Tagged ‘Creative Commons

The Pixsy Experience

with 2 comments

As a PRO member of flickr (something I pay for) I get a complimentary subscription to Pixsy a service which matches pictures online. It is used to track copyright violations. Some people copyright everything they post online. Other use a Creative Commons license which attempts to restrict some of the uses pictures are put to.

At one time I was posting my pictures directly to this blog – now I try to post only links to my flickr photostream – as everything that is on this blog is covered by my copyright notice. But of course I also use plenty of illustrations from other people. I regret that I was not always as careful as I should have been over identifying the source of the images I used. So in using Pixsy I have discovered not just those pictures that others have used, but also pictures that I should have labelled.

In an attempt to speed up the effectiveness of my use of Pixsy I have now removed this blog as a match in the hopes of removing a lot of duplicates. It would also be nice if I could have got rid of a lot of old matches when I was not bothering dealing with on Pixsy. Unfortunately that still leaves me with a 2,363 matches – or which 2,266 “unseen” that need to marked ignore, approved use or not my image or followed up – send takedown or submit case.

Pixsy also identifies domains that are “not viable for commercial resolution” or those outside jurisdictions that they support . You can send them a takedown notice – which in my experience has been completely futile – although the number of those you can send through Pixsy is also limited. It is also pointless pursuing sites which are simply hotlinking back to another site which hosts the image. In that case you have to go after the not site but the host – which again usually means a takedown – but I have had some success with removing my images from such sites. Not so much in the way of reward for use of course. What is annoying is that it too often takes me time to fill in the necessary details, file a claim and then have it rejected because is in the wrong jurisdiction. It would be far better if their software detected that and did not waste so much of my time.

In fact so far in the course of three years, I have actually been paid twice. Not enormous sums, but worth some effort. Since I only get 1,000 images monitored on my free plan and on flickr alone I have 18,439 images I do want to get rid of the useless ones even if that does take a lot of time. Comparing what I would have to pay every month to upgrade with how much I have been paid in the last three years, I find it hard to justify an upgrade.

There are also many images on my photostream that are very similar to those of others. After most of the places I have visited are now highly accessible and – before COVID19 – everybody now travels and carries a camera or smartphone and often both. So lots of people post pictures that are remarkably similar. Good luck if you can actually demonstrate that your photo of the front elevation of Sacre Coeur is unique – and anyway France is one of those jurisdictions where Pixsy has given up altogether.

But the Good News there are sites which do indeed use my images but comply with the strictures of the Creative Commons license and get the Approved sticker!

POSTSCRIPT

I have also come across sites that go to great lengths to make sure they do not have to respond to DCMA takedown notices. Since these are commercial operations, that go to great efforts to avoid their responsibilities to people whose work they exploit, you have to wonder how they treat their customers. I would not want to spend my money on the services or products of those who have demonstrated such determination to avoid the consequences of their actions.

Written by Stephen Rees

April 23, 2020 at 6:21 pm

Posted in photography

Tagged with

Sharing Photos

with 3 comments

stephy-miehle-57842

Photo by Stephy Miehle on Unsplash location 3900 N Sheridan Rd, Chicago, United States

I had not heard of Unsplash until I read this post on Medium which recommends giving away your photos for free. According to the author, he not only gets lots of thanks but also “substantial monetary gifts from people showing their appreciation for letting them use my work.”

What I do is license my photos on flickr using a Creative Commons license. And apparently I should use a newer version, but I will get around to that discussion later.

Right now I have recently been introduced to Pixsy which is also free which can track just where on the web my flickr photos are being used. A significant number are indeed following the terms and conditions set out in the license. None so far has either thanked me or showed their appreciation in more tangible form.

A couple of commercial users have actually made payments for specific uses of my pictures. But they did that some time ago, asked nicely before they used the picture and then some time elapsed before payment arrived. None of this has anything to do with Pixsy. And by “a couple” I mean exactly that. Two in twelve years.

Pixsy does also offer to help with resolutions. I have had a few hosting sites write to me and tell me that the commercial uses of my pictures that Pixsy found have been removed. Some other sites have simply vanished altogether. But there are a number of ongoing cases – and more that will not be resolved. Here are some of the replies I have had.

Case Update: Not Accepted – Unsupported Country

Dear Stephen,

Thank you for your submission to Pixsy’s Case Resolution Services.

Our Case Management Team identified that the infringing site, in this case, is located outside of our current coverage area.

…[details of my picture and its use here]

As a reminder, pages located in Russia, Africa, Southeast Asia and other select countries are not suitable for Pixsy’s Resolution Services, as we do not anticipate expanding to these jurisdictions soon.

So much for that then.

I have also had a number of responses from site owners like this one

Thank you for your email; however the URL in question [URL appears here] , is not on the [specified] network.

So that goes back to Pixsy and gets a response like this

I’m sorry your Takedown Notice wasn’t initially successful. This can happen when image users move server infrastructure. In this case it looks like they were previously part of the [named] network but are now part of [another named network].
Please try forwarding the original email to [abuse (at) new network]

Some others are still in process and they did tell me how they are doing overall

As 2017 came to a close, we celebrated a number of milestones – including passing 20,000 user signups! We are so thrilled to be helping creators from 72 countries find and fight image theft. Since our launch in 2015, your reactions, support, and trust hascontinued to energize and reinforce our mission to support your creativity and protect your copyright.

Together the Pixsy community has achieved some impressive numbers: (… and counting)

  • 21,951 users from 72 countries

  • 25,342,934 images uploaded and #ProtectedbyPixsy

  • 162,924,315 matches found

  • 35,881 cases submitted to Pixsy for resolution

  • 26 partner law firms

  • 1 dedicated Pixsy team

  • 1 united mission to Find & Fight Image Theft

So that seems like a good reason to hope that we get a bit of result now and then – although the number of successfully completed cases (i.e. where the miscreants actually paid up or took down the image) is missing from the stats.

POSTSCRIPT
I did write to one of the offending commercial sites using the contact form on their web page. Within 24 hours I got this reply

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, the image has been removed. ”

Which isn’t monetary reward but does acknowledge responsibility.

But what I want to know is if there is such a good source of free pictures as Unsplash why do people keep taking stuff which ought to be paid for?

Because I also got

Our Case Management Team identified the site you submitted as a spam or scraper site.

[image and URL details here]

“Scraper” sites aggregate pictures, articles and other copyrighted material from all over the web. Many of these sites do not host the images themselves–they hotlink from third parties– and are often operated by persons or entities outside Pixsy’s current coverage area. For these reasons, they are extremely difficult to track down and hold accountable.

Given the circumstances, the likelihood of obtaining a license fee payment in this situation is very low and we are unable to accept your case.

So when I started writing this I thought that it would help me straighten out my thinking and get me to a decision. You know, like the experience I often have of “I didn’t know what I thought about that until I heard what I was saying.” But I haven’t so I am hoping to see something useful in the comments.

By the way, I also wrote about this on my other blog but I really did not like the way Google’s Blogger handles my pictures – you just get the link not the image

Written by Stephen Rees

January 24, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Posted in photography

Tagged with , ,