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I'm a bit hesitant to broach this subject. However, it's something that intrigues me. How prevalent is copycatting on Alamy, and how ethical is it? By "copycatting" I don't mean looking at other contributors' images in order to get ideas. Most of us do that now and then, and it strikes me as being perfectly legit. We learn a lot from each other, and I'm all for sharing knowledge and expertise. Rather I'm thinking about situations where contributors go out of their way to create (or try to) almost exactly the same image as someone else. In the past, I've seen what I believe was evidence of intentional copycatting, not by regular forum contributors of course: we're all too upstanding for that. ūüėŹ

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Well, when I'm keyword-searching for my content to see my placement, sometimes it's a bit challenging to pick out my own--but that's when it's a famous site with obvious positions and angles for the money shot. But I don't think that's what you're talking about, John.

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Some of them even copied my name in the keywords, not just the subject and the location.

I have one really nice image that made it into a great cover once and was banned (for totally wrong reasons), but some of the copycats are still here.

So yeah stuff happens. Not a lot that you can do about it. Except making images they will never be able to replicate.

 

wim

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I haven't done much still life, but one of my best selling shoots was copied on another site years ago, back in the day when they would share top sellers via twitter and facebook every day. I would guess that with travel photography it is less likely, although if someone lives near a place you've shot or is traveling there, it certainly could happen. I had work in a show once with a photographer friend who told me he had been fighting with a large reputable site because he was convinced that the rather prosaic shot he had in the show of a building in Ireland had been stolen. I suspected that it wasn't even a copycat, but that someone else had been there around the same time he was and took the shot. It was beautiful, but the framing wasn't unusual. There is always the fear someone will steal your unusual angle, but I don't really know how you prevent it. I've been in the same position as Bill a couple of times, doing a double-take thinking a photo is mine and then realizing it's just very similar. 

 

It's funny, back in 2011 I traveled around Scandinavia with a former member of this forum. She and I spent much of the 9 days of that trip together. One day we spent the entire day together, first on a tour boat and then on Gamla Stan, the old town. We both shot so many images and yet none of our photos look alike. It's really surprising that more travel photos don't look the same, but I don't think either of us had any preconceived ideas about what to shot there. On the other hand. I shoot many lighthouses and there are a few famous ones where I will sometimes do a double-take when seeing a shot similar to one of mine taken from the most obvious angle. I think you're more likely to see something similar when it's a well-known landmark, perhaps because there are so many thousands of photos that it is bound to happen or perhaps because people have seen it in photographs and it colors the way they shoot the scene, whether subconsciously or consciously, maybe a little of both. 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, wiskerke said:

Some of them even copied my name in the keywords, not just the subject and the location.

I have one really nice image that made it into a great cover once and was banned (for totally wrong reasons), but some of the copycats are still here.

So yeah stuff happens. Not a lot that you can do about it. Except making images they will never be able to replicate.

 

wim

 

Wow! Copied your name even. So we can now add possible identity theft to copycatting. ūüôĄ

 

I confess to having copycatted an image I saw -- and really liked -- in a travel guidebook once. It has never been zoomed or sold. Bad karma, I guess.

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I've seen my keywords here copied including misspelled keywords - but your name - wow! It would be nice if people could think for themselves. 

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Posted (edited)
22 minutes ago, John Mitchell said:

 

Wow! Copied your name even. So we can now add possible identity theft to copycatting. ūüôĄ

 

I confess to having copycatted an image I saw -- and really liked -- in a travel guidebook once. It has never been zoomed or sold. Bad karma, I guess.

 

4 minutes ago, Marianne said:

I've seen my keywords here copied including misspelled keywords - but your name - wow! It would be nice if people could think for themselves. 

 

It gets worse: I now seem to have really bad images on SS and similar sites which come up on Google Images. Yuk.

https://www.shutterstock.com/search/wim+wiskerke

https://www.barewalls.com/posters-art-prints/wim-wiskerke.html

 

wim

 

Edited by wiskerke
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, wiskerke said:

 

 

It gets worse: I now seem to have really bad images on SS and similar sites which come up on Google Images. Yuk.

https://www.shutterstock.com/search/wim+wiskerke

https://www.barewalls.com/posters-art-prints/wim-wiskerke.html

 

wim

 

 

That's very upsetting and weird. I guess there's not a heck of a lot you can do about it, though.

 

I suppose you should even feel complimented in a strange way...

Edited by John Mitchell

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Insufficiently famous to have fallen foul like Wim, but one of my regular selling photos was replicated, probably/possibly innocently, by a more successful contributor (never seen on the forum) and hasn't sold since, while their version prospered!   It was never posted here, but of course people do survey the competition when looking at a new location. 

 

If I have a photo of marginal worth I often look to see what the competition has to offer and don't bother to upload if it's never going to sell.

 

More recently I posted a successful sale in the Images sold thread and was rewarded with second, albeit not so remunerative, sale. So, on balance, it may be better to show off your wares in public.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Bryan said:

Insufficiently famous to have fallen foul like Wim, but one of my regular selling photos was replicated, probably/possibly innocently, by a more successful contributor (never seen on the forum) and hasn't sold since, while their version prospered!   It was never posted here, but of course people do survey the competition when looking at a new location. 

 

If I have a photo of marginal worth I often look to see what the competition has to offer and don't bother to upload if it's never going to sell.

 

More recently I posted a successful sale in the Images sold thread and was rewarded with second, albeit not so remunerative, sale. So, on balance, it may be better to show off your wares in public.

 

I don't think that anyone would bother hijacking a generic WASPy name like mine. ūüėĄ

 

You're probably correct about the possible benefits of airing one's successes. However, exercising a certain amount of discretion isn't a bad idea. It's easy to trigger a stampede these days... ūüėě

Edited by John Mitchell

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This is good topic.  I won't talk about obvious flagrant thefts, but some borderline issues which is what John probably had in mind.   Here's personal example, just now:

 

I am going over some travel images from last winter & found nice photo of some cathedral in Panama City.  Except for vague recollection where it was taken (not Casco Viejo) I remembered nothing about it.   So I did search on Alamy for  "Panama City Cathedral" and right away several images of "my" cathedral came up.  Here's one (not my photo obviously, putting it here as example of search result):

 

don-bosco-minor-basilica-calidonia-panam

 

It was identified as "Minor Basilica of Don Bosco".  Further google search revealed some other details, that were sufficient to come up Description and Keywords.  For keywording I also used AI suggestions from micros.   After coma separated list was compiled, I peeked into keywords on this photo & found 1 or 2 that were also relevant but not in the list, so I included these as well.

 

So my question is:  Is the above workflow acceptable, or was there at least some minor intellectual "theft" involved? 

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4 hours ago, Autumn Sky said:

 

So my question is:  Is the above workflow acceptable, or was there at least some minor intellectual "theft" involved? 

 

Sounds kosher to me. I imagine that everyone "borrows" a few keywords now and then.

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Posted (edited)

Although I would be proud to have Wim's name in my tags, I don't go to Alamy contributors' caps and tags for information. Very often it's wrong with mistakes and misspellings. Since I only shoot common-access editorial subjects, I'm bound to have some "copycat" looking images. And since everyone on Planet Earth is a photographer now, I spend more time doing Level Two subjects than landmarks. Odd "creative" angles too often look . . . more odd than creative.

Edited by Ed Rooney

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I'm always surprised when new contributors seem to have never looked at what other people are doing with their captions and keywords. Before I started at Alamy I read the forum frequently and I looked at images and their captions and keywords. I still look a bit when I am adding keywords to a creature I haven't uploaded before. There is just a lot to be learned. Of course it is important to use your own research and judgment but it's not that hard to see which photographers of a subject know what they are doing.

 

Paulette

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6 hours ago, NYCat said:

I'm always surprised when new contributors seem to have never looked at what other people are doing with their captions and keywords. Before I started at Alamy I read the forum frequently and I looked at images and their captions and keywords. I still look a bit when I am adding keywords to a creature I haven't uploaded before. There is just a lot to be learned. Of course it is important to use your own research and judgment but it's not that hard to see which photographers of a subject know what they are doing.

 

Paulette

 

That's right. There's a big difference between ripping off someone else's keywords/captions and gaining some insight from what others have done. Human beings would be in big trouble -- even more than we are now -- if we stopped learning from each other.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

It pays to be a little wary of making deliberate copycatting accusations - not saying it doesn't happen but it is possible for it to be totally accidental
https://petapixel.com/2018/03/07/two-photographers-unknowingly-shot-millisecond-time/

 

Interesting story. With everyone snapping away almost non-stop these days, it's inevitable that this sort of unintentional "copycatting" will happen.

Edited by John Mitchell
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8 hours ago, Starsphinx said:

It pays to be a little wary of making deliberate copycatting accusations - not saying it doesn't happen but it is possible for it to be totally accidental
https://petapixel.com/2018/03/07/two-photographers-unknowingly-shot-millisecond-time/

 

Now that is an amazing story! Thanks for posting it!

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Interesting. My husband took the picture of the firefighter/baby at the Oklahoma City bombing. He stood with a wide angle lens on a Nikon camera. Over his shoulder and back, another man took the identical shot with a zoom lens. My husband’s was cropped and used for the cover of Newsweek magazine which made it look blurry, but the whole shot was inside the magazine, sharp.

The other guy’s was on the New York Times newspaper (?) and won the Pulitzer because of the newspaper connection.

Neither guy was a professional. The other guy walked out of his downtown office, my husband worked for the natural gas co. and went downtown to make sure it wasn’t a gas explosion.

Betty

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Copying is the sincerest form of flattery.

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2 hours ago, Bill Brooks said:

Copying is the sincerest form of flattery.

 

Copying is the sincerest form of flattery.

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This thread inspired me to finally email Alamy about a few zebra illustrations where my keywords had been copied including my name. This is their reply.

 

We feel sharing and utilising others tags is now commonplace. However, we will remind the contributor to refrain from using tags irrelevant to the subject, i.e. other contributors names. Your name will be removed from the tags.

 

Paulette

 

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8 minutes ago, NYCat said:

This thread inspired me to finally email Alamy about a few zebra illustrations where my keywords had been copied including my name. This is their reply.

 

We feel sharing and utilising others tags is now commonplace. However, we will remind the contributor to refrain from using tags irrelevant to the subject, i.e. other contributors names. Your name will be removed from the tags.

 

Paulette

 

 

Looks like they have opened the doors to a free for all.

 

Allan

 

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I don't think it is anything new, Allan. Just the way is is.. 

 

Paulette

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