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Update to our graffiti policy

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We are no longer accepting images or footage for editorial use in which isolated graffiti artwork is the only or primary subject. This type of material can be accepted for commercial use only with a property release from the graffiti artist. Submissions where graffiti or street art is present but not the focus of the content may be accepted for commercial or editorial use on a case by case basis.  Please note that we are not currently accepting submissions of isolated graffiti or street art for either commercial or editorial use where the content has been shot in San Francisco, California.

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Okay, I am still bugged by this. How can the graffiti "artist" claim copyright by committing an unlawful act (vandalism)? I thought the rule is you cannot benefit by the commission of an illegal act. Shouldn't the property release be from the property owner?

 

The exception would be those artworks done at the behest and approval of the property owner, the guy who owns the wall, building or sign.

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Okay, I am still bugged by this. How can the graffiti "artist" claim copyright by committing an unlawful act (vandalism)? I thought the rule is you cannot benefit by the commission of an illegal act. Shouldn't the property release be from the property owner?

 

The exception would be those artworks done at the behest and approval of the property owner, the guy who owns the wall, building or sign.

Strange as it may seem but some graffiti is commissioned by groups, businesses and even cities. It then is the owner of the artist. Of course most is the illegal type. The problem is knowing which is the legal type and which is not.

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We are no longer accepting images or footage for editorial use in which isolated graffiti artwork is the only or primary subject. This type of material can be accepted for commercial use only with a property release from the graffiti artist. Submissions where graffiti or street art is present but not the focus of the content may be accepted for commercial or editorial use on a case by case basis.  Please note that we are not currently accepting submissions of isolated graffiti or street art for either commercial or editorial use where the content has been shot in San Francisco, California.

What about (editorial) footage which has been submitted PRIOR to this policy change? Is it going to be rejected? I sincerely hope not, because it's been submitted before author (in this case, me :D ) could have known that this is coming...

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copyright protection ultimately protects an artist's rights to profit from their work. 

 

graffiti is not a profitable creative work. 

 

in most cases, it is very unlikely that using stock footage of graffiti would be infringement because it does not deny income to the original artist. this does not apply to graffiti artists who resell prints of their work.

 

US copyright law is VERY SPECIFIC in that it can only be infringing if it creates a FINANCIAL LOSS to the original artist. if there is no financial loss, it is **NOT** infringing.

 

secondly, 99% of stock footage is never infringing for the same reason. infringement is based on the impact on the market (the general public). selling stock footage does not impact the market, it is the people who broadcast the footage that run into issues with liability. in general, you can film and sell almost anything as stock footage unless it were filmed illegally (such as a hidden camera in someone's home). the copyright infringement risk is taken by the buyer of the stock media, not the seller.

 

ultimately, any stock media can fall under the US Copyright Act under "Fair Use" simply by being used for commentary purposes. this alone legalizes 99.9% of all stock footage. anyone can take any stock footage and make a commentary on it. therefor all stock footage and stock media has a legal non-infringing use (except when filmed unlawfully). this was upheld in the US Supreme court case (Betamax vs VHS)

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What about (editorial) footage which has been submitted PRIOR to this policy change? Is it going to be rejected? I sincerely hope not, because it's been submitted before author (in this case, me :D ) could have known that this is coming...

 

Yes, the writing was on the wall.

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copyright protection ultimately protects an artist's rights to profit from their work. 

 

graffiti is not a profitable creative work. 

 

in most cases, it is very unlikely that using stock footage of graffiti would be infringement because it does not deny income to the original artist. this does not apply to graffiti artists who resell prints of their work.

 

US copyright law is VERY SPECIFIC in that it can only be infringing if it creates a FINANCIAL LOSS to the original artist. if there is no financial loss, it is **NOT** infringing.

 

secondly, 99% of stock footage is never infringing for the same reason. infringement is based on the impact on the market (the general public). selling stock footage does not impact the market, it is the people who broadcast the footage that run into issues with liability. in general, you can film and sell almost anything as stock footage unless it were filmed illegally (such as a hidden camera in someone's home). the copyright infringement risk is taken by the buyer of the stock media, not the seller.

 

ultimately, any stock media can fall under the US Copyright Act under "Fair Use" simply by being used for commentary purposes. this alone legalizes 99.9% of all stock footage. anyone can take any stock footage and make a commentary on it. therefor all stock footage and stock media has a legal non-infringing use (except when filmed unlawfully). this was upheld in the US Supreme court case (Betamax vs VHS)

I can't really agree with everything you are saying. First as I mentioned before there are many instances where graffiti is commissioned by different entities. I had to look into this matter when I was an investigator for the police department I worked for. I found that throughout the country, city and county boards hired graffiti artists and paid them to produce graffiti images in different areas of the cities. This entailed contracts which were drawn up and satisfied.

 

It is not only graffiti on walls but using such designs and transferring them to other materials such as clothes, umbrellas, tents, and so on. The potential case regarding this is the Roberto Cavalli case where the designer took images from three artists and put them on his clothes and accessories. Many agree that it was a blatant infringement .

 

The second section of the Copyright Act of 1976, 17 U.S.C. 102, states, in part:

 

 

Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories:…pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works

 

It also covers the destruction of graffiti such as when a "work of art" is part of a building and the building is to be destroyed. Does the construction company have the right to destroy the art as well?

 

When it comes to the Betamax case that was mainly about time-shifting and allowing people to record a show for future watching. The court was so divided in that case the dissent opinion judge also drew up one for the majority because times and information were changing so quickly.

 

As to fair use it is when a work is used "for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, . . . scholarship, or research." It does not cover the ability of one person or a company to sell it and make a profit.

 

So images of graffiti can cause a financial loss to an artist. Granted the vast majority of of graffiti is not done in this manner and is illegal and is not protected but SS does not know which is which. Copyright laws are very complex and ever changing. They are also not the same from country to country. Shutterstock decided to err on the side of caution in order to reduce the likelihood of litigation. There is no one set rule and the circumstances of copyright protection can change like the wind. SS has every right to take this type of action.

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Will all the current content be removed?

What about this clip of mine which shows multiple different graffiti art on the same stretch of wall. it's primarily graffiti but not isolated to just one or 2 artists but perhaps 5-10 independent works of art..

 

http://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-13180514

 

http://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-13165709

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What about (editorial) footage which has been submitted PRIOR to this policy change? Is it going to be rejected? I sincerely hope not, because it's been submitted before author (in this case, me :D ) could have known that this is coming...

Unfortunately it most likely will be rejected if the graffiti is the primary subject in your clips. We apologize for this inconvenience

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Will all the current content be removed?

What about this clip of mine which shows multiple different graffiti art on the same stretch of wall. it's primarily graffiti but not isolated to just one or 2 artists but perhaps 5-10 independent works of art..

 

http://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-13180514

 

http://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-13165709

Existing content that does not meet current restrictions will be audited and re-evaluated by our Compliance team and in certain instances may be removed. These types of content will be evaluated on a case by case basis.

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What about a tag name on the Statue of Liberty or any other national monument? Is it an ART WORK or a pure act of VANDALISM? I would say that most of the graffiti in our cities is pure vandalism which should not be rewarded with property releases and the like.

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Unfortunately it most likely will be rejected if the graffiti is the primary subject in your clips. We apologize for this inconvenience

Okay, thank you for the answer.

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What about a tag name on the Statue of Liberty or any other national monument? Is it an ART WORK or a pure act of VANDALISM? I would say that most of the graffiti in our cities is pure vandalism which should not be rewarded with property releases and the like.

Are you asking Admin that question or just stating an opinion? Yes most typical Graffiti is vandalism but as I mentioned graffiti is so much more than just some numb nuts spray painting on walls. There are artists that do graffiti and as I mentioned in my previous post the boundaries of graffiti go much further than just a tag on a wall. Legitimate graffiti art is being taken and used in other mediums without the artists permission. That is why SS wants to go the safe route because they have no way of knowing what is just illegal graffiti and what is legitimate art.

 

If you were asking Admin that question I think it was answered in the original post.

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I have some friends who get paid major money to do the sides of Buildings. Im talking 10/12 story buildings in LA and NEW YORK. Graffiti artists. I agree with the new rules. Someone created this work weather anyone agrees or not about it's value. There company is called the seventh Letter, Which stands for Graffiti and Gangster. I'll tell ya they sure know how to throw a great party. LOL

 

The leader is the son of my most Popular Model.

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Hi.

I usually upload images of mural paints (old, very old mural paints...)i'am resident in Florence, Italy, and the city and the streets are really full of ancient churches and religius places with 600 years of age. I can't find the policy of shutterstock with those pictures. They usually accept the images as editorial, but the review proces is ramdom... i upload 4 murals as editorial and i recived these refuse reason "Unacceptable for Commercial or Editorial -- We cannot accept this image for commercial or editorial use"....terror...i have about 150 pics to upload!

So...Ancients mural paints have the same review policy of the grafitti? i can't upload those pictures as editorial?

Thanks.

   

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