Pixabay Knowingly Distributes Stolen Images For Free

Posted on 11/4/2020 by Robert Kneschke | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Why photographers give away their pictures on platforms such as Pixabay remains mostly incomprehensible to me even after this article.

Sometimes, however, the authors do not even know that someone else is illegally offering their images for free.

So today I came across this profile on the free image platform Pixabay. The user with the number "18371568" offers 47 images, mostly illustrations and vectors, but also some photos that, according to Pixabay, have been downloaded over 159,000 times so far, although all images were only uploaded between October 7th and 18th, 2020.

Image 1

As you can see from the icon at the top left of the images, 43 of the 47 images were even "featured" by Pixabay, that is, prominently advertised on the start page etc. and preferably displayed in searches.

Image 2

The only stupid thing is: This account cannot possibly be the author, because the pictures belong to different artists, who usually offer their works on microstock agencies for payment.

I only found out the respective authors of the first 12 images by means of a five-minute Google Images search and placed them as names over the images (see above).

Here are the links to the originals in the first three rows from the top left:

https://www.istockphoto.com/de/foto/versorgung-von-produkte-auf-bestellung-oder-spende w% C3% A4hrend-ein-epidemie-gm1221417252-358023543

It is reasonable to assume that Pixabay is aware that something is wrong here, because the uploader is marked as an "Inactive account". However, this does not seem to prevent Pixabay from illegally offering the images for free and thus distributing them more than 159,000 times.

(What exactly an "inactive account" should mean if the images are still freely available, I asked Pixabay by email. So far there has been no answer, if one arrives, I will submit it here.)

[UPDATE 11/4/2020: Pixabay answered my question: “Hello Robert, Most of their images were copied from other sources. Hence, we had the account de-activated. Regards "

This means that it is official that Pixabay deliberately offers images for download that they are not allowed to offer. That's why I changed the heading from a question to a statement])

The most popular picture at the top left alone has been downloaded almost 10,000 times. The advertisement for iStock, which ironically appears under the image for the financing of Pixabay, already seems like a mockery.

If you actually download an image, the information comes that you can voluntarily use the name "B Ban" as a source:

Image 3

Wikipedia already knows in their Pixabay article how such image thefts can happen:

The images are uploaded by anonymous users. There is therefore the risk that the uploader does not even have the copyright. Pixabay does not guarantee that the uploaded images are free from third party rights. Since the upload is anonymous, users who have been warned cannot make recourse to this person and are therefore left with the costs of the warning”.

This example shows once again why free images must be met with more than a clear portion of skepticism.

Copyright © 2020 Robert Kneschke. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz


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