I recently discovered that someone is selling my photo on Etsy.
Let’s start from the beginning: I upload my favourite photos to a website called Unsplash which offers free do-whatever-you-want high resolution photos. One of the reasons I love contributing to Unsplash is because I use it all the time! Creator + Director Patrick Tomasso published an article called “Why I give my photos away for free” and it really resonated with me. In fact, reading his article inspired me to check out my Unsplash stats and do a reverse image search to see where my photos were being used.
Taken at Alice Lake Provincial Park in Squamish, British Columbia
My most popular image has nearly 900,000 views and has been downloaded more than 4,000 times. Through the reverse image search I discovered that one person was using it for his social media marketing company, and someone else was using it for their website building templates. It was so dang cool to see my photo being used on so many websites! After a few minutes of digging, I found someone’s Etsy page—she was selling my image.
It’s actually a pretty neat graphic IMHO, but obviously I’m biased.
While technically legal, it’s definitely frowned upon according to the Unsplash FAQ page where they state, “Legally, the CC0 license allows you to sell the photos posted on Unsplash. However, the Creative Commons and Unsplash communities are pretty vocal in their dislike for this.” C’est la vie! I never intended on pursuing it legally, I just wanted to see if I should bother reporting her for being uncool.
I still plan on contributing to Unsplash. While I may not be as experienced or talented as photographers like Patrick Tomasso, I love that my images are featured on websites around the world. I love that entrepreneurs and small businesses can use a dope-ass image instead of some stuffy stock photo. So if you want to reconfigure my image into a different shape and sell it for $4.07 USD a piece— go for it. You’re allowed to, but you’re still a douche.
Alex Geerts is a creative, detail-oriented digital marketer with an insatiable thirst for adventure and storytelling. She’s an explorer, animal lover, photographer, and still uses the word “kewl.”
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