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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!
  • Watching: Stranger Things
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:icondeena-lee-sauve:
Deena-Lee-Sauve Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So Sorry!! You have always been so generous! Stuff like this is supposed to happen to bad people not good ones! :hug:
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
thank you Deena, I appreciate the support :hug:
Reply
:icondeena-lee-sauve:
Deena-Lee-Sauve Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Of Course!! You are so generous and giving!♥!
Reply
:icontheheek:
theheek Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2017  Professional Traditional Artist
that is so wrong iam so sorry my friend
Reply
:icondigitalbutterflyy:
DigitalButterflyy Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2017  Professional Photographer
Has anyone been able to tell others on pixabay (and even unsplash) about this thread and get their reaction? Pixabay's response is quite clear and I'm wondering how many others realize they have actually lost their full rights to each image they've uploaded. I'm not sure everyone (even myself, and I know how to read the fine print, which I did on pixabay and I missed the FULL concept) would grasp that they can never remove their stock once they 'give it over' to pixabay. I guess unsplash.com and pexels.com work the same way.

It is really a shame that they won't allow you any control at the very least to remove it from their site. I believe you can remove your photos from WikiMedia if you want to.

Thank you for posting this information. I love to start hearing what other Pixabay contributors say to the response Pixabay has given you clearly in the comments.
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
There was a thread started on Pixabay about this and you will see Simon one of the owners/founders say I was initially blocked because "We didn't get a reply to that email. Maybe it got lost somewhere on the way - but even when searching now in my email client, I cannot find any message from her." I have provided dated and timestamped evidence from my e-mail that I did. i.imgur.com/ueAScIc.jpg An answer like that coming from the head (or one of) of Pixabay is unprofessional and already paints them in a bad light, if e-mails from their registered accounts can just 'get lost on the way' like that.

He also has a few replies to concerns in the comments of this journal if you'd care to have a look, he insists the inability to remove images is put there to protect the people who come to Pixabay to download stock and have a means to prove where it originated from, should they ever need to. However my question on the rights of their contributors remains unanswered, and my opinion is they deserve to be protected more than those that come once, take stock and never look back. 

I'm not the only one who feels slighted by their policies and more people are picking up on it, some speaking up, some not. Their forum is public and you can browse and read to your hearts content without needing to sign up. I still browse ocassionally and see contributors concerned with their stock getting taken off Pixabay and sold off on Getty or Dreamstime with no appeal because it's Public Domain, so anyone grabs and does whatever they like, including sell in its original form.

Here's someone having their work sold off on FineArtAmerica pixabay.com/ro/forum/chitchat-… And the first reply perfectly captions what Pixabay facilitates "when you sign up and upload to Pixabay you are agreeing with the terms of service. Which means someone can sell your art, without asking for your permission or giving you credit. [...] there is nothing you can do". 

I've also seen occasional complaints from people coming to report on having their likeness portrayed in photos on there because Pixabay doesn't require a model release form for any individuals that may appear in photographs. 

It's been a great learning experience for myself and I'm a lot more inquisitive in regards to both where I get my stock from and where I post it too. I'm at peace with it now and I'm actually in the process of uploading my stock that Pixabay retains to any and all public domain image databases so Pixabay can't take the credit on them exclusively at least, especially with my account there being just digits since deactivating it. 
Reply
:icondigitalbutterflyy:
DigitalButterflyy Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2017  Professional Photographer
Wow! I am personal VERY grateful for your sharing this information!!! I can't thank you enough. I have used Pixabay for images several times. And with the ad that asks for a few of my images I have often felt since I use pixabay then maybe I should add a few of my own out of gratitude for the free stock.

My stock is very important to me also and I enjoy haveing the choice of letting people use it free of charge here on DA, even for commercial purposes (as long as it is not Dark Art, my personal request). But, I always have the control over this account and my other pro stock account. But, my goodness, for them to TAKE your work.... my heart goes out to you. May peace come back to your heart as soon as possible.

PS... your stock is always wonderful!! Thank you :nod: :)
Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017  New Deviant
Hello everybody,

I'm Simon, one of the founders and developers at Pixabay.com. Let me help to clear this up.

frozenstocks has uploaded some of her images under Creative Commons CC0 on Pixabay. That means Andreea allows free usage worldwide without any conditions. You may use these images for derivative works and all Pixabay user may also use them for basically anything they like. The core idea of Pixabay is offering a legally safe source for free quality images. And what makes them legally safe is CC0.

And here's a very important fact about CC0 - and all other Creative Commons licenses: they are *irrevocable*! And of course they are! Because it wouldn't make any sense to first allow free usage - and then, later on, make up one's mind and revoke the granted permissions. And that's why we usually do not remove any published and downloaded images from Pixabay. If *you* were an image user, would you like to have your legal reference removed, so that the image author can sue you (illicitly) for infringing upon their copyright? Sure not.

So, before publishing any images *anywhere*, one should always make sure to know what one is actually doing! In the end, Andreea herself contributed some of her images to the *public domain*. And now she's unhappy with Pixabay, because a few of her images got rejected due to not fulfilling our quality guidelines.

dofaust: You don't seem to know much about image licensing and legal matters. Why do you think you can give advice. Basically everything you say is off.

lrafael98: What exactly are you talking about? What do you think is so bad?

Cheers,
Simon
CEo Pixabay.com
Reply
:icondofaust:
dofaust Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017
I stand by my rather neutral
advice/observations regarding the
abuse of intellectual property.
Luckily, aggrieved citizens can take
their cases to court, where laws
and due process will be applied.
And, plaintiffs can get representation/advocates.
That's all. 
Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2017  New Deviant
I do understand, but the thing is: There are two side to the story - image authors and image contributors; and both have rights. And when a contributors releases images free to use (e.g. under CC0), the image users do rely on this. It would be a legal problem if contributors could change their mind afterwards. So, on Pixabay we try to find the best path in between. If images have not been distributed a lot, yet, we remove them on request immediately. But if images have already been downloaded and spread a lot, we don't take image removals lightly in order to protect the users.

Chees
Simon
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2017  Professional Digital Artist
Isn't this nice? One of the founders of Pixabay making a deviantart account just to clear the air on the matter. I'm impressed, seeing I wasn't offered this much attention when I wanted my stocks taken down, everyone just brushed me off. Regardless, moving on. You insist your contributors have rights, but what rights are those exactly? From the point of view of a former so-called contributor, I'd say they have no rights. They forfeit any rights to their own photography/designs the second they upload to Pixabay, given your statement. Is this untrue?
Reply
:icondofaust:
dofaust Featured By Owner Edited Jan 24, 2017
Consider checking in detail the original agreement they showed you.
If they can't or won't provide that, you can commence legal action.
Of course, if they are breaching the original agreement, you may also 
commence legal action. Intellectual property lawyers love these situations.
I observe that their agreement does not discuss their intentional misuse
of your property. Be sure that you communicate formally  the withdrawal of your property
from their domain/purview/site/pages....
The EU has severe punishments for intentional misuse, etc..
Good luck. 

I notice also that pixabay is in deutschland. The strongest intellectual property
laws in the EU, possibly the world. This will please your lawyers. If you are in the
right, especially if the culprit has deep pockets,
most personal injury lawyers worldwide will be happy to take you on,
gratis, for a percentage of what they are likely to recover...

pixabay.com/en/service/about/
....

Braxmeier & Steinberger GbR (VAT Reg.No.: DE297456622) 
Hans Braxmeier, Donaustraße 13, 89231 Neu-Ulm, Germany 
Phone: +49 (0)731 / 800 1660, info@pixabay.com

Contact  |  Privacy Policy  |  Terms of Service

Hans Braxmeier, Founder, and CEO

Hans is the founder and CEO of Pixabay - currently living abroad in Switzerland. He has always been interested in new technologies, studied computer science in Ulm (Germany), and has launched several web projects. Hans likes sports, especially running, mountain-biking, and hiking. He is always on the lookout for new challenges.

Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017  New Deviant
You really have no idea about this matter. So, please don't give such incorrect advice. First read, learn, understand - then talk! Please!
Reply
:icondofaust:
dofaust Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017
I stand by my comments.
Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2017  New Deviant
"Be sure that you communicate formally  the withdrawal of your property from their domain/purview/site/pages"

-> As expalined in my other posts, with CC0, withdrawal is legally not an option. And even if we would remove such images from Pixabay, they would remain available under CC0 on any other site where they have been "redistributed" to.
Reply
:icondofaust:
dofaust Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2017
Thanks, but I'm neutral in this. ....recommend you save your explanations for court...
or preferably, seriously consider alternate dispute resolution (ADR) - judges love
it when you have attempted this. 
Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2017  New Deviant
CC0 is a *very* solid public domain dedication by Creative Commons. And that's why we chose it for all Pixabay images. Creative Commons does nothing else than designing such licenses and deeds. So, good luck with that - the court, I mean!
Reply
:iconlrafael98:
lrafael98 Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Woah. This is strong. I mean, I can't even imagine how bad you have to feel about this. I would be mad as hell if I were on your place. I've never been in a situation like that before so I can't... I just can't believe that a place like that exists. I've heard of it but I've never heard about anyone having this type of problem. It's really rude and wrong on their part and I'm glad that you shared this with us. It's important to let people know of things like this because it starts with one person and the next thing you know a thousand artists could be losing their material just because they wanted to help. It's horrible and degrading. I can't believe people would do such a thing!
Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017  New Deviant
If somebody contributes anything to the public domain (CC0), it's an irrevocable process. One cannot first say "Hey, you can use my images for anything you like" - and then change one's mind and take it back. Doesn't make any sense to people who are already using these images - maybe even on printed products.
Reply
:iconpixabayrocks:
PixabayRocks Featured By Owner Edited Oct 10, 2016
Maybe this can clear up your issue.

pixabay.com/en/forum/questions…
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
It helps to know where they (you?) stand, but no, it does not really help me. Those posts look like trying to save face to me. I have proof of responding to the e-mail confirming I was the owner of the stock, e-mail dated 12 Sept imgur.com/ueAScIc
Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017  New Deviant
So? You've contributed your images under Creative Commons CC0. Please read:
creativecommons.org/publicdoma…
Do you understand this?
Reply
:icontheguineacats:
theguineacats Featured By Owner Oct 7, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you for sharing this info! I have used some stocks from them (there's not a lot of free guinea pig stock, and they had some really cute ones on there) but as I am not a photographer, have not uploaded anything. I checked the photographer whose guinea pig stocks i used and reverse image-searched them, and they seem legit. Still I am reluctant to support a site with such shady practices and I will try to limit my use of their stock from now on.
Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2017  New Deviant
What exactly do you mean with "shady practices"? Please explain...
Reply
:icongestandene:
gestandene Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ich schreibe jetzt einmal in Deutsch, da es leichter für mich ist. 
Selber habe ich auch einen ganz kleinen Bestand auf Pixabay und kann die Aufregung hier nicht so ganz nachvollziehen.
Es gibt dort ganz genaue Nutzungsbedingungen. Auch für das Hochladen von Bildern, die man sich vorher durchlesen kann/sollte. :-)

pixabay.com/de/service/terms/#…      --  pixabay.com/en/service/terms/#…  

Lädt man bei Pixabay Bilder hoch, werden sie automatisch "gemeinfrei". So wie z. B. auch teilweise auf Wikipedia.

creativecommons.org/publicdoma…  ---   creativecommons.org/publicdoma…

Auf jeden Fall unterliegen sie dann der Creative Commons CCO. Ich verliere also das Recht auf das Bild.
Noch zum Löschen:
Auch bei mir wurden Bilder nicht angenommen und alle diese Bilder konnte ich dann sofort löschen, was ich auch getan habe.
Sie wurden zusammen aufgelistet und ich gefragt, was damit passieren soll. 
Also keine Probleme.  
Eine Profi-Kamera besitze ich nicht, biete hier auf DA aber doch eine Vielzahl von Stocks an, die fast "alle" unter CC laufen. 
Warum? Weil mich tausend verschiedene Stocks-Roules einfach total nerven, wenn ich ein Bild erstellen möchte. Sorry. :D 
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I'm truly sorry but I don't speak German :(
Reply
:iconsimonpx:
SimonPx Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2017  New Deviant
Use Google Translate - simple as that.
Reply
:iconannajon:
ANNAJON Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2016
May I share this on facebook?
Reply
:iconannecullen3:
AnneCullen3 Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2016
i was actually thinking of using pixabay images O.o
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
You still can, although I would think it's a bit risky. I'm sure you could find similar looking stocks on more reliable sources. 
Reply
:iconannecullen3:
AnneCullen3 Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016
let's see,but thanks for replying c:
Reply
:iconbranka-johnlockian:
Branka-Johnlockian Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for this info. I was thinking of start looking around at
Pixabay, because I saw some stock I like from photo manips here
on dA but then the credit says "Pixabay". After reading this, I won't
go near them.

This is unacceptable keeping your stock images after you deleted your
account AND they have the audacity to add your rejected images now that
you are no longer with them :(
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
Yes I truly advice to be cautious with this website. I had some stock downloaded when I joined but deleted everything once I deactivated. Glad I never got a chance to use any of it in my art.
Reply
:iconbranka-johnlockian:
Branka-Johnlockian Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, I will be cautious, or better yet, I'll
stay away from it :nod:
Reply
:iconcheerfuloptimistic:
CheerfulOptimistic Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2016
That's crappy of them. I'll be staying away from them now.
Reply
:iconladycarolineartist:
LadyCarolineArtist Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2016
Wow... Just... Wow.
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I know, it all sounds surreal but yet I'm living it.
Reply
:iconmontygm:
montygm Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2016
Thanks for info hun. I checked out their site and it looked like they have some great content on there which I was interested in downloading, however after reading your experience with them I am staying way clear...what a nasty scam their company is getting away with. Sorry to hear you had to go through such an ordeal. I hope you get this fixed soon.
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
thank you for your support, it means a lot
Reply
:iconddimitri16:
DDimitri16 Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2016  Student General Artist
Thank you very much for the information.
Would morguefile free photos work the same way?
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I honestly don't know for certain. Morguefile back when I was using it, 5-6 years ago was similar to sxc where you could use stock but were still subject to the submitter's copyright and the resulting use must be a modified version of the original stock. I see they still have that in place, they say they are a platform to display and distribute stock. With Pixabay if you actually browse their forums you'll see posts of some photographers who found their better photos taken off Pixabay and sold on Dreamstime or Shutterstock, simply because the Pixabay sketchy terms of service allows people to get away with such things. Morguefile also has a 'License After Removal' clause where those who downloaded stock can still use it after the owner deletes the files, which is fair, and implies anyone joining as contributor can at any time choose to delete their images from Morguefile. Pixabay as evidenced by my case, will not allow the files to be deleted altogether. 

The place where it gets confusing is the subscription system that Morguefile seems to have nowadays. It looks optional but I'm not sure where that comes into play from a submitter's viewpoint, as the terms would seem to suggest they can't make any claims to payments or royalties, so what does subscription money go towards and why still eludes me. They tentatively call this extra service 'Quest', seems to be an on-demand stock deal where someone may request a specific stock and the submitter can choose to participate, maybe akin to a commission, but it doesn't stipulate anywhere whether the submitter gets paid for filling in that request or not.

It's a long read but worth checking for yourself, you may find something I missed morguefile.com/terms
Reply
:iconddimitri16:
DDimitri16 Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2016  Student General Artist
I'll sure read. Our teacher told us to never use any photo from Google.
But that morguefiles was a good site to use free photos from.
But I was there lots of stock photograph from people on dA. So I asked them about the rules to use their stock.

As far as Pixabay free photos, I'm very confused to find there a lot of photograph from my Photoshop creative magazine.
I pay the magazine 9 euros a month. But most of their photos are on pixabay for free.

Thank you very much for all the information.
Have a nice day
Reply
:icondmorganajonz:
dmorganajonz Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2016   General Artist
Thanks so much for the info.  What an awful experience!  
Reply
:icongloriagypsy:
gloriagypsy Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2016  Professional General Artist
You definitely need a lawyer. 
Reply
:iconbabsartcreations:
babsartcreations Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
I am so sorry this happend to you :hug:  Thank you for sharing your story so other stockhoulders and artists will be aware of this.
Reply
:iconwdwparksgal-stock:
WDWParksGal-Stock Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
That is just wrong! Thanks for the tip, because I certainly won't join that site.

I invited this into DevNews, Stock-For-Premades and Fantasy-Stock-Group to help get the word out!
Reply
:iconfrozenstocks:
frozenstocks Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2016  Professional Digital Artist
thank you, it'll reach more artists through the groups :hug:
Reply
:iconwdwparksgal-stock:
WDWParksGal-Stock Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Very true! It is important to get the word out :cuddle:
Reply
:iconreddawgi:
Reddawgi Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2016
OH my... This is pretty awful. I've only JUST learned of Pixabay and have thought it pretty cool but after this sad experience you've shared-I'll be boycotting. Thanks for the info, keep on keepin' on. Have a Lovely Day by KmyGraphic  
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