iStockphoto.com - need for photo ID

  hexane 08:33 15 Mar 2007
Locked

On pages 128-130 of the May edition of PC Advisor, James Nolan advises how to sell photos online using iStockphoto.com. As James points out, in order to be accepted as a seller you must upload some photo ID to iStockphoto. Examples mentioned on the iStockphoto website are a passport or a driver's licence.

Perhaps I'm paranoid, but the idea of uploading such ID doesn't appeal to me. I've never come across this requirement on any other website where I've registered as a seller (eg, eBay).

It seems to me that the risks associated with providing photo ID are higher than providing, say, credit card details. If my credit card details are fraudulently misused I should get reimbursed by my bank but who would compensate me if my photo ID is stolen?

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Cheers, Roger

  Kate B 10:08 15 Mar 2007

My only thought is that I'd be disinclined to make my work available at such a low price, though I can see the benefits of istockphoto to, say, the small web developer or publisher and there are some very nice images on the site. And one good thing is that it does at least encourage people to pay for copyright material if it's accessibly priced rather than nick it.

  hexane 10:51 15 Mar 2007

So you wouldn't have any security concerns over submitting photo ID over the internet, Kate?

  Kate B 10:52 15 Mar 2007

No more than I have qualms about submitting any other info, no. Why don't you Google and see if there are any other remarks about this issue? You could search on Technorati, too - if it's an issue the blogosphere will almost certainly have picked it up.

  PCA ArtDirector 11:46 15 Mar 2007

This is an issue that I am currently in talks with istockphoto about and how the whole registration process could be improved, so I will post their reply as soon as I have it.

But from what I know about the legal black hole that is copyright law istockphoto are simply watching their own hinds. If any copyright infringement law suites comes their way they can deflect them onto the person who uploaded the images claiming them to be their own personal work. (and by plagiarizing or stealing someones creative efforts for a quick buck deserve everything they get.)

But if however istockphoto cannot prove that this member exists then they are seriously up the proverbial creek without a paddle.

  hexane 12:17 15 Mar 2007

Thanks. That certainly explains where they are coming from and I look forward to seeing their reply.

Based on what I know at the moment I won't be joining iStockphoto. At a time when we are being warned to be wary of ID theft I think it would be irresponsible to supply this sort of information without knowing what safeguards are in place.

If something were to go wrong it would be difficult to seek recompense because the contract with iStockphoto is subject to Canadian jurisdiction. Furthermore, the onus would be on me to prove that iStockphoto was at fault. With my credit/debit card fraud, the onus is on the bank to prove negligence on my part.

  hexane 12:28 15 Mar 2007

Let me change "With my credit/debit card fraud, ..." to "With credit/debit card fraud, ..."! The former sounded like I was committing fraud - which I'm not!

  Kate B 12:50 15 Mar 2007

I'll be interested to see what they say too, PCA Art Director. Canadian jurisdiction doesn't worry me too much - that's hardly bandit territory.

  PCA ArtDirector 13:09 15 Mar 2007

To be fair to istockphoto, I have on occasion had to use Royal mail to post a photocopy of my passport, birth certificate etc. I feel much safer emailing it off.

and Kate B, please call me james

  hexane 13:15 15 Mar 2007

Fighting any legal case outside the UK is difficult for practical reasons. Also, Canadian jurisdiction is similar to US in terms of the costs involved.

  PCA ArtDirector 15:49 15 Mar 2007

I have heard back from iStockphoto and this is what they had to say:

Of course only contributors are required to provide ID.

Contributors are entering into a legally binding contract with us, as we are with the end user of the image. We MUST know that the person supplying the image is real and on the up-and-up.

Here's the answer from our FAQs:

We understand and appreciate your concern about providing
confidential personal information. The challenge we have as a company is really the flip side of your concern. Our business model is such that anyone who uploads content that is subsequently accepted to our collection stands to receive a cheque from us, and we have many people who are receiving royalty cheques for thousands of dollars each month.

Because the content is digital, it is difficult to protect against the possibility of someone supplying content to us they do not legally own. Our clients download the image and expect to be able to use it as per the Content License Agreement that purports to govern it, and they hold us accountable for the consequences. If the content is infringing on a copyright, we could be held liable for significant damages, even though we receive only a few dollars for each image.

Ensuring that people are who they say they are is one of the ways we have of dissuading would-be defrauders from participating in our community. We have had several instances of stolen images in the past and invariably, we have discovered that the name and address of the member is fictitious, and the email address useless.

Which is a long way of saying that we're sorry, but we must insist on you providing verification of your identity if you want to upload content.
________________________________
Kelly Thompson
Executive VP, Marketing
iStockphoto


It's pretty much as I thought, hope this helps.
James

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