As this is our first blog post I feel its fitting to talk about something that is rife in social media and something we have found that is quite common among less reputable social media management firms. Stealing stock art, its a little bit like piracy, a lot of people do it, its easy to do and of course there are varying degrees of it.
“theft” and theft:
Lets start by outlining the different degrees of stock art theft and why some people are doing it without understanding why it is wrong and why people assume it is easy to get away with.There are countless websites that offer “free” vectors, art and icons Flaticon and Freepik immediately spring to mind as we use both of these sites through our paid accounts when creating content for our fans. Its easy to understand why some people mistake free for use with attribution with free to copy since Freepik literally has free in the name. What this is called is using stock art that requires attribution without attributing it. So yes they are free to use as the site says but they require you to place an attribution in the HTML code, and to no surprise most people don’t. This is a very silly mistake to make because they can easily crawl the web for their photos (hell even Google images can do it) and then see that the photo has no attribution and then smack you with a hefty bill which usually heavily outweighs the cost of just paying for the picture or attributing it. Now because it can happen doesn’t mean it will happen, I have seen it happen a lot but have only heard of a few cases of people getting in actual trouble for it. The real trouble usually comes when you are a marketing firm (like we are) and you steal pictures that you then use on other (sometimes multiple) accounts and websites.
This is where you can get yourself into serious hot water if you steal these pictures. Sites like Istockphoto and Shutterstock sell premium pictures ranging from roughly 10 dollars to 30 and they are well worth the price and beautiful pictures taken by serious photographers. Stealing these pictures is hard because they have a watermark on them which is really ugly and impossible to remove but it is still possible if you take it from a website that has already paid for it and re-upload it to your own. This is just as easy to check if the content is stolen and believe me they do check. I have seen someone get fined $4000 for one stolen picture.
In conclusion its not worth it folk, don’t use dodgy marketing companies and certainly don’t steal art. It is not only morally wrong but hurts the photographers financially and will likely eventually come back to haunt you. We here at Market Tank have a corporate Shutter Stock account so you can sleep easy knowing that your social pages are managed with only the best royalty free pictures.