May 23, 2018, 05:19:21 AM

Author Topic: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site  (Read 5284 times)

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Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« on: February 05, 2018, 12:40:52 PM »

Professional photographer Zack Arias has posted a rather passionate video about the issues he sees with Unsplash, a web site that gives away photography for free.

“Is this the race to the bottom that we’re all tumbling towards….”

Zack talks about a lot of the issues he sees with Unsplash:

  • There seems to be some legal issues with the site, especially when it comes to model releases for identifiable people, it seems some photographers think the Unsplash license provides this.
  • There is also the legal issues with images that show identifiable brands and property, you need releases for these images.
  • Getting hired because of Unsplash is likely the exception and not the rule, most people just come in, grab a photo and leave. They don’t look at your portfolio or even consider hiring you for commercial work. Obviously, some people have been hired, but again, that’s likely the exception and not the rule.
  • People can take your images from Unsplash and put them in THEIR portfolio, as long as they don’t claim copyright to those images in their portfolio.

Back to the model releases, this is from Carolyn E. Wright from http://www.photoattorney.com

Proceed with caution with dealing with Unsplash. Photographers who contribute photos there may find themselves in a lawsuit for a variety of reasons. While an end user clearly has the responsibility to secure permission for a commercial use of a photo of a recognizable person (as evidenced by a model release), stock agencies and photographers have been sued for right of privacy/right of publicity claims when posting and/or offering for licensing photos of people.

Zack touches on a lot of serious issues with Unsplash in its current form. If you’re posting images to Unsplash, please be careful and be sure you’re getting proper and legal releases. Inevitably, a lawsuit is coming.

Is it really benefiting your business? Zack makes a great point about a Condé Nast publication Bride’s Magazine using an image from Unplash for the front cover of a magazine insert. The cover of that advertising insert likely cost the company that took the image from Unsplash tens of thousands of dollars, how much did the photographer get? Nothing, not even a thank-you.

You can checkout Zach’s interview with Unsplash’s Mikael Cho here.

« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 12:51:29 PM by Canon Rumors »
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Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« on: February 05, 2018, 12:40:52 PM »

unfocused

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2018, 03:09:50 PM »
Don't have time to watch the full videos, but watched enough to get the point.

I'm a bit awed by the audacity of it all and don't even know where to begin to comment.

Something tells me that when the inevitable lawsuit comes, it will be the photographer left holding the bag. On the other hand, I have little sympathy for a photographer who would submit an image of an identifiable person or product to this site without securing a release.

Toward the end, Arias admits that he gives away his work at times, but makes the point that he does so under his own terms and that doing so doesn't negate the need for proper releases when required.

Anyone who submits a photo to this site or uses a photo that has been submitted for commercial purposes is gambling that the subject will either never find out or will be unwilling to spend the money to pursue a legal remedy. That's a pretty big risk to take.

From a broader perspective, this is just one more reason why photography is fast becoming a unsustainable profession. Photography is more popular today than ever before. Yet, ironically, the ability to earn a living in the field has been shrinking for at least the past half-century and is just accelerating. Truly professional photographers are a dying species.

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2018, 04:17:17 PM »
I've tried to have an open mind about Unsplash, but I just can't see the value in giving away work for free. It's like an MLM. Yes, it works for a few people, but most will see no financial benefit.

I to have given images away, but they've been for charitable local fundraising as well as for a few people/organizations I have met travelling. Just like Zack, it was 100% on my own terms and there is zero risk of liability issues.
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brad-man

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2018, 04:56:29 PM »
The Napster of photography...

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2018, 05:02:09 PM »
The Napster of photography...

A bit different, Metallica didn't give Napster their entire music catalog to give away for free and the downloader the right to use the music in whatever way they wanted.
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aceflibble

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2018, 08:02:18 PM »
I've tried to have an open mind about Unsplash, but I just can't see the value in giving away work for free. It's like an MLM. Yes, it works for a few people, but most will see no financial benefit.
A lot of people are desperate. A lot of people think these things work out for more than just "a few people", or that they are one of those few people it will work for. More and more kids these days grow up seeing their dream careers being, at first glance, governed by putting everything out there for free and being "discovered".

Hence everybody is trying to be a big YouTube star.
Everybody is trying to be a big Twitch star.
Everyone wants to be a big Instagram model.
People don't start garage bands anymore because auditioning on X Factor or The Voice is the only way musicians are visibly created.

No surprise photography would follow suit. In many ways this has already been going on for years. Newcomers or those worn down enough will take any job for free. It's happened so much that companies now regularly only offer to pay with "exposure". Unsplash just takes that a step further by taking away the "exposure", too.

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2018, 08:51:10 PM »
...I just can't see the value in giving away work for free...

I don't really mind if people want to give away their work for free. But they should do it from an educated position, knowing what they are doing and understanding the consequences. This business model exploits people who are uniformed and more importantly victimizes third parties who can have their identities appropriated for commercial purposes with no compensation and no recourse other than a lawsuit -- which many people will not pursue because of the cost and because they may never even know their images has been appropriated.

And, if they do find out and seek legal action, Unsplash will walk away leaving the photographer and the end users liable.

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2018, 08:51:10 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2018, 11:36:44 PM »
The issue I have is that someone can obtain a photo lifted from the web by a non-existent photographer and just added because they could.  The person who copies it reads that its theirs free, and never checks until attornies come calling.

I'd stay far away, its better to pay a fee and let someone else fight legal battles.

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2018, 07:26:58 AM »
As a creative professional (not in photography, but the principle is the same) I have huge issues with this kind of thing. There is no benefit whatsoever in giving away work for free. When people choose to do so, they not only devalue themselves, but the whole profession. If your work is good enough to be 'noticed', it's good enough to be paid for. If someone doesn't want to pay to use your work, they're not serious to begin with. There is enough undervaluing of creatives already, without the creatives themselves hastening the process of their own demise. If you give away your talent and hard work for free, you are showing no respect for yourself, your work, or your artform.

LDS

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2018, 07:54:11 AM »
There is no benefit whatsoever in giving away work for free. When people choose to do so, they not only devalue themselves, but the whole profession.

Hope no one of you is using open source and/or free software...

Welcome in the "sharing economy" - when many shares, and a few reap the benefits.

Anyway, it's ironic the interview is on YouTube, another site known for hosting a lot of contents uploaded ignoring copyright, and which pays peanuts to authors and performers - and only if they register and allow YouTube to keep on undisturbed... otherwise you're free to try to play whack-a-mole with YouTube, which hides behind the finger of "user uploaded contents".
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 07:57:44 AM by LDS »

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2018, 10:45:34 AM »
...it's ironic the interview is on YouTube, another site known for hosting a lot of contents uploaded ignoring copyright, and which pays peanuts to authors and performers - and only if they register and allow YouTube to keep on undisturbed... otherwise you're free to try to play whack-a-mole with YouTube, which hides behind the finger of "user uploaded contents".

Valid point. However, there is one significant difference in my opinion (and not defending YouTube): As far as I know, major movie companies, like Sony, Universal or Warner Brothers, do not take YouTube videos and distribute them to theaters across the country under their own name with no credit or compensation to the original creators.

Unsplash seems to be predicated on the assumption that businesses will take the free photos and use them to make a profit without paying the models or photographers a cent. Again, I'm not even that concerned about the photographers. If they want to give away their work that is their own business.  I am, however, much more concerned about the appropriation of the subject's likeness.

While legitimate stock photo agencies may pay only a pittance to the photographers or artists, they make it clear that model releases must be secured for any images offered up for commercial use. It is Unsplash's outlaw attitude toward individual rights that is troublesome to me.

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2018, 11:31:07 AM »
Valid point. However, there is one significant difference in my opinion (and not defending YouTube): As far as I know, major movie companies, like Sony, Universal or Warner Brothers, do not take YouTube videos and distribute them to theaters across the country under their own name with no credit or compensation to the original creators.

No, it's the other way round, usually. Nor I see famous photographers getting images from Unsplash and distributing them under their name (but I'm not sure it won't happen, though...). But we've seen Unsplash people grabbing someone else's image - the Canon/Locardi/Fuji case.

Anyway, do you believe each and every video on YouTube obtained brand/property/model release forms whenever needed? Video or photo makes no difference. And you can make money on YouTube.

Videomakers probably feel a little more safe now because a video is harder to make, and could be less reusable, but I see the same issues.

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2018, 11:46:57 AM »
Does this guy Zack not understand that these photographers are voluntarily sharing their work with the realization that others may/will be using their pics?  Sadly, I sat through this entire video and wasted 45 minutes of my life hearing a guy moan about photogs not getting credit/payment for their work.......No one is forcing these people to upload their pics.  They know what they’re getting into.  Sounds to me that it’s hurting his bottom line and the way to solve HIS problem is by telling others what to do. Forcing people in ‘HIS’ craft to abide by his ethics/morals/guidelines sounds a bit childish, wouldn’t you say?

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2018, 11:46:57 AM »

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2018, 12:57:51 PM »
I've tried to have an open mind about Unsplash, but I just can't see the value in giving away work for free. It's like an MLM. Yes, it works for a few people, but most will see no financial benefit.

I to have given images away, but they've been for charitable local fundraising as well as for a few people/organizations I have met travelling. Just like Zack, it was 100% on my own terms and there is zero risk of liability issues.

You can't see the value in it, others can. Ego and personal well-being are a massive motivation for some so I would ask 'why does reward have to be financial?'

Do programmers have the same sense of indignation when they see people uploading Android apps to Google store for free?

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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2018, 02:09:58 PM »
Does this guy Zack not understand that these photographers are voluntarily sharing their work with the realization that others may/will be using their pics?  Sadly, I sat through this entire video and wasted 45 minutes of my life hearing a guy moan about photogs not getting credit/payment for their work.......No one is forcing these people to upload their pics.  They know what they’re getting into.  Sounds to me that it’s hurting his bottom line and the way to solve HIS problem is by telling others what to do. Forcing people in ‘HIS’ craft to abide by his ethics/morals/guidelines sounds a bit childish, wouldn’t you say?

A big part of his presentation is how many photographers don't have a clue about liability and the legalities of what they're doing. Someone is going to get sued, if it hasn't happened already. Unsplash has allowed them to voluntarily put themselves in big financial risk. That's not a good thing, that's a company taking advantage of people.

The guys behind Unsplash are going to have to monetize this site some time soon, and do you know who won't be getting paid? The photographers.

Unsplash is no risk to the bottom line of a guy like Zack.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2018, 02:12:18 PM by Canon Rumors »
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Re: Zack Arias Talks Unsplash, and Some Serious Issues With the Site
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2018, 02:09:58 PM »