The Solid Stock Art Story
Cliff notes: I almost lost my job for "wrongfully" using a stock photo at work. My name is Taylor Hinton. The legend of Solid Stock Art begins as a result of a letter sent to my company threatening a lawsuit over a stock photo copyright violation. Angry and frustrated, I wanted something better for both customers and stock artists. I created a stock art company that is fundamentally different!
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I was the Senior Web Designer at a tech research company purchasing stock art on a daily basis for corporate marketing projects. We purchased the stock photo in question but I had used it for our header at a very large size thus breaking the stock image license agreement. Lets face it, reading the "terms" of any purchase these days is rare and I had become a victim of assumption. I assumed by paying good money to use the photo on our website was safe. Little did I know the standard stock photo license is purposely made to be violated. It's limited by size, it's limited to one use, for one person. You may not make a copy, you may not store it on company network or intranet, and it has limits on how many views or prints.
Not only was I the Sr. Designer – someone who should know better – but I had been moonlighting as a weekend stock photographer. I loved creating stock photos that people around the world purchased validating my creativity and earning extra cash. Here's the kicker: I was supplying art to the very company that now threatened a lawsuit against the company I was working for. Awkward!
While researching options to combat this threatening letter I learned that this was common practice and thousands of similar letters are sent every day to stock art customers. Don't take my word for all of this. Google, "extortion letter". You'll find thousands of people willing to speak up about the subject.
The last proverbial straw that broke the camels back; later I found out the stock artist, wasn't getting any compensation from legal action when a person/company violated the stock license terms. Yet the legal action was all in the name of protecting the artist's work.
What a sham.
This revelation made me mad and I started to wonder if all designers and graphic artists misuse stock art and shell out thousands in settlement claims? I suspected other graphic artists weren't deeply educated in stock art licensing terms, but I was not prepared for the truth: all of my close friends were misusing their purchased stock art. A later poll of hundreds of graphic professionals confirmed my earlier findings.
I got serious in 2010. About changing the stock art industry. It all started with five core changes… First, artist payouts. Stock artists invest a lot upfront in, cameras, lenses, lights, props, models (the model's time) and countless hours. As a contributing artist, I was only getting 15% - 25% of every sale which is fairly standard in the industry. At Solid Stock Art we pay out 50% to our uploading artists, the highest in the industry.
Second, eliminate the legal tangles that tie up customers. At Solid Stock Art, our one and only license is an extended license and works just like you'd assume: you buy it, it's yours. Unlimited prints, unlimited views, unlimited re-use. Practically the only thing we do not allow is reselling or sharing our artists' images.
Third, offer only the highest quality, practical, usable images. We've hand-selected the best stock artists, an army of passionate crusaders. Not just anyone can upload with Solid Stock Art.
Fourth: removed the confusion of credits, bundles, and subscriptions. At Solid, we've made buying stock art so easy you can even check out as a guest. You're here to buy an image, not sell your soul.