For anyone who hasn't found about Pixabay it's a free stock photography database that's been garnering attention lately. I wasn't aware of its existence as for my art I either create it all from scratch myself or use paid stock from Fotolia or Shutterstock to avoid restrictions. I was introduced to Pixabay by a friend who praised it for the quality, variety and ease of access, actually called it 'best stock website' since the late sxc.hu. I loved and used sxc stocks frequently in my art in the early days, so Pixabay seemed like a blessing when I heard of it.
So I looked around, was impressed with the quality of some of their stocks and signed up. Once you download a few images you will be met with a message that says ads will be removed once you contributed 10 photos to the database. I had just turned a majority of my stock here to Unrestricted so I uploaded a few of the files in my gallery here, there. It was pretty successful, good acceptance ratio, even received an accolade in the form of an Editor's Choice front page showcase on one of my 3D rendered backgrounds. There's a 'Buy Coffee' donation button for every contributor profile which could be linked to a Paypal account, but I had no intention to monetize my unrestricted stock there, just like I am not here either.
A few days later I went back to upload some of my textures, around 15 at once, and had all rejected within a matter of minutes, with a mail asking if the stock was mine. I replied politely that it was, explained that I had this account, provided a link and told them this was the sole place I shared the same stock, if they found it somewhere else, it wasn't me, nor done of my accord. I've had my stock distributed without my permission before so it didn't seem all that far-fetched that they could've found it somewhere else on the internet. It was only 2 days ago I saw my Tears Brushes stolen and distributed on a Photoshop resources website, file and preview picture with my actual name on it included. Went back, reuploaded my textures and was told they don't meet their quality standards and was also notified my account had been blocked from submitting any more files as a result.
That didn't sit well with me. I am sharing free stock on a free website, some of my well-received stock here, including a DD texture, and my stock is not good enough for them, so yesterday I wanted to simply close the gallery and continue sharing my stock within the Deviantart community. I went into my control panel and had no option to erase ANY of the 25 files I had submitted and got approved. I asked on the forums what the proceedings were for someone to remove their gallery and was told there's the option to deactivate the account. Here's where it gets shady. I went to erase my profile information, subsequently deactivating my account, and I'm met with a message that says doing so I lose any photo I submitted to Public Domain, because they remain in the database whether I like it or not! Nowhere during the upload process does it say you lose any and all rights to your photos by submitting them, nor that you can't choose to erase them at any given time if you so chose!
And it doesn't end there. This is the remnant of the account I had pixabay.com/en/users/3209107-3…
if you look in the top right corner you'll see the 'Coffee' button. If anyone were to click on it and make a donation because they like my stock currently on that page, it goes straight to them instead, it even says 'Pixabay' on the checkout to Paypal. They are currently monetizing off my stock and that's just wrong.
I've been a stock artist for about as long as I've been an artist. My 10th dA anniversary at FrozenStarRo
is rounding up next month, I've had this stock account for over 7 years, and the 3 years before that I ran the collective stock account ro-stock
with 2 of my photographer friends. I've always strived to provide the best stock I could, as others have in turn done before me with the stocks I used in my art. But never in these 10 years have I felt this hurt, humiliated and helpless all at the same time.
This was posted as a cautionary tale, whether you're an artist using Pixabay stock or a prospective contributor. I can't stop artists from using the stock there but perhaps this can raise some awareness regarding the origin of some of the stock you may be using. For all you know the original author could be someone like me, who was denied the option to erase it. For anyone contributing, your stock is worth more and you shouldn't have to cease all rights to that stock when you upload it.
It's late now. Sorry for the wall of text on this subject but I consider it an important matter that could affect a lot more people than just me and shouldn't be kept quiet. I'm sitting here at 3:49am because the situation is bad enough I can't sleep. It'll pass with time, and my stock remains here for you guys to use. I will add some new stock soon but I need to get a fresh perpective and let go of this first. UPDATE 19.09
With my account now deactivated for several days, they have gone back and published 3 more of my previously rejected files, making that 28 files they are currently holding and monetizing. This is freaking unbelievable!