1. Advertising
    y u no do it?

    Advertising (learn more)

    Advertise virtually anything here, with CPM banner ads, CPM email ads and CPC contextual links. You can target relevant areas of the site and show ads based on geographical location of the user if you wish.

    Starts at just $1 per CPM or $0.10 per CPC.

Is pixsy real or scam?

Discussion in 'Legal Issues' started by matt_62, Oct 14, 2022.

  1. #1
    I previously contacted a image hosting website, and was told that I can legally use the free stock images while building a website, flyer, other, and buy the images once I have decided / settled on design.

    This is normal and common. I often get flyers from designers with stock images, and buy the license and they replace the image with the high res version once the license is paid.

    pixsy just sent a "letter of demand" for a stock image I had on my website when it was in the initial design stages. All stock images where removed once we had decided on the ones to purchase, removed 3 months ago. The stock images were only on during the initial design of the website.

    I have asked the image hosting company to put into writing that I can use the free images during initial design of a website, but any advice on what to do with this?

    Currently, they are asking $350 for the image in question.

    Its possible, I had more then 20 images from stock website during the initial design, but all the images we liked were purchased before the website started being promoted / advertised, and all unpaid images were removed.

    Im in Sydney Australia if it makes a difference.
     
    matt_62, Oct 14, 2022 IP
  2. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

    Messages:
    28,049
    Likes Received:
    4,362
    Best Answers:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    665
    #2
    I don't know about Pixsy but we've been targetted by Getty - just the once, but once was enough.

    If Pixsy were able to search for their images and find them online being used without permission they're not going to care if it was on a draft site, or prior to promotion. Their legal team will send out demands to see who bites. If you negotiate you might get the $350 down, Getty dropped their price for us.

    The Pixsy lawyers will be on retainer and will probably have a KPI relating to how many demands they send, how much they recover, and how many they take to court.

    If you were in a less reputable country you might be able to dodge the fee however in Australia you are extremely accessible and can be sued. Talking to your lawyer about fighting this will probably cost you more than $350, so you can get your lawyers to send a letter and see if that works - lawyers love sending letters even if they think your claim won't win. Sometimes it comes down to who has the biggest legal budget rather thank who is right.
     
    sarahk, Oct 16, 2022 IP
    matt_62 likes this.
  3. matt_62

    matt_62 Prominent Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    515
    Best Answers:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    350
    #3
    Hey @sarahk, Is it common to have demands to prove licensing for stock images? I do buy licenses for every image I use, (just not the ones I dont use), and I'm wondering if I should change where I buy my image licenses from as the onus of pixsy is to "prove license ownership or pay a fee. "

    Like is there a place where I can buy images, and put in the url where each images will be used, so that pixsy doesnt contact me again.

    Currently for every image in my account that I have legally purchased a license for, there doesnt really seem to be a license. The receipts I have are $$ per month for xx downloads, there are no individual receipts.
    In the interim, I have had to ask freelancers to stop work on all projects until this is resolved. I dont feel like using buying stock images if I am going to get demands of proving a license.

    I am hiring someone to look over the TOS of the image hosting website where it was sourced, (to see if myself, or anyone who worked on my site has made an error), and to help draft a formal response. This will likely cost me more then fee pixsy is demanding. :(
     
    matt_62, Oct 16, 2022 IP
  4. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

    Messages:
    28,049
    Likes Received:
    4,362
    Best Answers:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    665
    #4
    I don't do enough with purchased images to comment - we've only been hit once. There definitely needs to be a better way of managing things.
     
    sarahk, Oct 16, 2022 IP
  5. matt_62

    matt_62 Prominent Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    515
    Best Answers:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    350
    #5
    I've been obsessively reading about pixsy and a number of other things, and I came here to warn people that alot of people here, are unintentionally breaking the law, and its a potential disaster waiting to happen.

    How many design competitions does this forum run? Every single one is illegal.

    For anyone that has hired a graphic designer. You need to demand where each and every asset came from, that includes images AND fonts.
    Buy a license for each and every single asset, and ensure that your use of the assest is allowed. Ie. Is that asset allowed and licensed for print? for logos? Its likely you could have a business card designed, and licensed that is permitted for web use, that cant be printed.

    I have literally hired dozens of designers and never once had itemized where each asset was from. Honestly, its the last thing on my mind. Every single one, illegal.

    The more I read about pixsy, the more I feel like the entire industry is a scam. Ever wondered why those images are free? Its not because people do so out of the kindness of their hearts. Its because content creators can now earn a fortune by releasing content for free under creative commons, and have pixsy punish users.

    Pixsy went after one user, that designed using canva. That is a popular tool for many artists on fiverr, and here. They have different image access depending on their account. One user was forced to prove licensing and was unable to do so -> imagine how much harder it will be for her clients to prove a license when they dont have canva.

    TL/DR: if you hired a graphic designer to make your content, be afraid. be very afraid.
     
    matt_62, Oct 18, 2022 IP
    sarahk likes this.
  6. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

    Messages:
    28,049
    Likes Received:
    4,362
    Best Answers:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    665
    #6
    Back when my kids were little, 20ish years ago I used a free logo creator to do a logo for our local tennis coach who wanted a website on something like GeoCities. 10 years later a friend of his got in touch, the coach is being sued for copyright. This is a guy with zero tech skills who just wants to earn his living teaching kids how to bash a tennis ball . I'm all protection of intellectual property but it seems onerous to have to prove where every image comes from. What if the site ceases to exist? If they get sued, should I be sued too?
     
    sarahk, Oct 18, 2022 IP
  7. matt_62

    matt_62 Prominent Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    515
    Best Answers:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    350
    #7
    I think the whole system is ridiculous.

    Like to me there is a very big difference between a photo that was never for others to use (ie, private facebook photo), vs breaching creativecommons license vs breaching a royalty free license vs licensing for images that were used in logo making software.

    I also find the entire royalty free licensing system is BS.
    So on one hand, I have heard that users login to pixsy and find "10,000" infringements of their own hard work. Some are licensed users (some are the authors images on his own website). So if pixsy IS real, and wants to make a difference, then where I buy images from should have a place where I can add in company name, url, and if its for web, or print use for each image. Pixsy then needs to connect to stock images sites via api and cross check that information and remove licensed instances. So instead of "10,000" infringements, it might be "1", or it might be "9,999".

    When buying licenses, one site gives me an actual license per image, that I have to print out and keep forever, while another site, its just in your account. There is no proof.

    One thing I did notice, was that my website was cached on the wayback machine, and its possibly the only way that they got an old screenshot of the website, so I have since had my site removed from wayback.

    For anyone with a questionable logo, or any image that was on the site when you brought it, or had it made, I recommend dropping it like a hot potato, and take steps to remove your site from the wayback machine.

    - for wordpress get a plugin to block wayback from crawling
    - contact wayback.
    Tell them the url to exclude ie. yourwebsite.com.
    Tell them how long you have owned the domain for. ie. purchased this date, domain expiry this date.
    Tell them date range you need removed from their servers
    Add a text file to the public html folder for your website, called waybackverify.txt (I recommend putting your email address here, the same one you are contacting them from), and be sure to link to the file, ie yourwebsite.com/waybackverify.txt

    Ideally to verify ownership, it makes it easier if you email from and if this is publicly visible as contact details on your website, and in the who is information.

    Takes abouts up to 2 weeks, and its gone.
    Im thinking of checking for other waybackmachines, but im just so tired from all of this.
     
    matt_62, Oct 18, 2022 IP
  8. sultanofseo

    sultanofseo Notable Member

    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    404
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    265
    #8
    This is very concerning. I have always used royalty free images and never had any issue. I still use free images from unsplash these days that says "download free" and "Free to use under the Unsplash License"

    Previously I used different sites but I always download images that are royalty free. Also, I always rename the images for SEO reason. Not sure I need to be worried now.
     
    sultanofseo, Oct 20, 2022 IP
  9. sarahk

    sarahk iTamer Staff

    Messages:
    28,049
    Likes Received:
    4,362
    Best Answers:
    123
    Trophy Points:
    665
    #9
    Renaming isn't enough. A reverse image search will find your images even if they're cropped. If you open an image you'll see stuff like this at the top ⬇️ and you have to make sure your editing removes it.
    <x:xmpmeta xmlns:x="adobe:ns:meta/">
        <rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#">
            <rdf:Description rdf:about="" xmlns:photoshop="http://ns.adobe.com/photoshop/1.0/" xmlns:Iptc4xmpCore="http://iptc.org/std/Iptc4xmpCore/1.0/xmlns/"   xmlns:GettyImagesGIFT="http://xmp.gettyimages.com/gift/1.0/" xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" xmlns:plus="http://ns.useplus.org/ldf/xmp/1.0/"  xmlns:iptcExt="http://iptc.org/std/Iptc4xmpExt/2008-02-29/" xmlns:xmpRights="http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/rights/" photoshop:Credit="Getty Images" GettyImagesGIFT:AssetID="1365601180" xmpRights:WebStatement="https://www.gettyimages.com/eula?utm_medium=organic&amp;utm_source=google&amp;utm_campaign=iptcurl" >
    <dc:creator><rdf:Seq><rdf:li>izusek</rdf:li></rdf:Seq></dc:creator><dc:description><rdf:Alt><rdf:li xml:lang="x-default">Fashion portrait of handsome young man wearing white coat, turtleneck and black beanie knit hat, sitting on chair in studio and holding cup of coffee. Studio shot on beige background.</rdf:li></rdf:Alt></dc:description>
    <plus:Licensor><rdf:Seq><rdf:li rdf:parseType='Resource'><plus:LicensorURL>https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/1365601180?utm_medium=organic&amp;utm_source=google&amp;utm_campaign=iptcurl</plus:LicensorURL></rdf:li></rdf:Seq></plus:Licensor>
            </rdf:Description>
        </rdf:RDF>
    </x:xmpmeta>
    
    Code (markup):
     
    sarahk, Oct 21, 2022 IP
    sultanofseo likes this.
  10. Terry ML

    Terry ML Peon

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    2
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    #10
    Hi Matt,

    You need a license to use images, and don't get confused between free stock images and royalty free images, It is copyright infringement to use images that you have not been granted usage rights to, as well as using them in ways that exceed any license agreement.

    Pixsy is a company that detects images on the internet, they are not lawyers, but they work with law firms in many international jurisdictions, photographers use their services to find their images on websites, and in exchange for a 50% contingency fee of any money they recover from you through the court or through any settlement.

    I have moved to (Sydney) Australia few years ago with my wife, and I had a similar copyright situation with a photography company (Sam Mugraby - Boxist.com - Based in Chicago, United States), they have sent me a letter of cease and desist and they wanted to recover a license fee of 270$ that should have been paid prior to the usage of their image on my business website, now because the photographer is located in another country and I have found the image on google I believed that I am innocent and there is nothing to worry about and I didn't thought that they will invest money going after me for just an image or for 270$, so I have removed the image, and I never replied to the photographer, and hoped for the best.

    A year later I have received a new letter form (ImageRights International, Inc. - based in Boston, United States) for the same issue, and they are a similar service to (Pixsy) they said they represent Boxist stock photography and they are demanding 2000$ to settle copyright infringement before they go court, I have decided to listen to those who advised me to (ignore them and they will do nothing), so after about 90 days I have been hit with a lawsuit in the Federal Court of Australia, they was retained by an IP Law firm here in Sydney, so I had to hire a lawyer and to go through a long and expensive nightmare, and at the end I had to settle this matter out of court based on my lawyer advice with about 10,000$ plus court costs and fees.

    What happened to me is definitely injustice, but this is how the law works, so be warned that this could happen to you too, I don't know the details of your issue, stop wasting time and go to get advice from a real copyright lawyer before making any decision, your situation can escalate dramatically and quickly, Pixsy wants you you to reject the settlement of 350$ so they can use that in court against you and to recover more damages and money from you, and the litigation under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 will lead to compensatory damages and additional damages.
     
    Terry ML, Oct 22, 2022 IP
    matt_62 and sultanofseo like this.
  11. sultanofseo

    sultanofseo Notable Member

    Messages:
    9,930
    Likes Received:
    404
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    265
    #11
    I used some images from flickr before and filtered the search only to use the creative commons images. Now I see even creative commons license may have some restrictions like giving credit and no mods.

    I see flickr has an option to search for "Commercial use & mods allowed" images. Anyone has any take on this type of images on business site?
     
    sultanofseo, Oct 23, 2022 IP
  12. matt_62

    matt_62 Prominent Member

    Messages:
    1,826
    Likes Received:
    515
    Best Answers:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    350
    #12
    Hi, yes, I have licenses for every image on my website, just not during the initial construction, but wow, thats insane that they made you pay that much.
    It seems most people when they settle, dont reveal the costs. Im seeing alot of people "talking tough" replies, but then in the end everyone asks "what happened" and its just silence -> same goes for people that were potentially covered under fair use.

    I did hire someone to help with legal, just hasnt moved forward. Things take time.

    Hey, thankyou for sharing your story. I appreciate it.
    I shared mine with a few friends in a few places. On one hand, it might be good to hide mistakes... but I found by sharing it, i look bad, but it starts the discussion, and found many people admitting they just used images from google for products they were selling... so by starting the conversation, it does help people.

    So, if you can, share it. You spent $10k on getting that story, so get your moneys worth!
     
    matt_62, Oct 28, 2022 IP
  13. RFCLLC

    RFCLLC Greenhorn

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Best Answers:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    11
    #13
    I got burned by pixsy over a "free" image hosted on flickr. I'm pretty sure the photographer reposted the image which broke the attribution link. Pretty crappy way to make money by threatening people who use an image advertised as free. so I started my own stock image website. Use the pictures however you want, no strings: www.rightclickforbidden.com
     
    RFCLLC, Nov 13, 2022 IP