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Thieves May Be Selling Your Photos on Shutterstock

While looking at my own images on Shutterstock, I noticed the Shutterstock algorithm was suggesting my photos as “similar” images. I thought it was a bug on the Shutterstock website until I noticed that others had downloaded my photos from other sites then uploaded them to Shutterstock. Shutterstock’s similar photos algorithm then noticed this and suggested the stolen photos along with my photos.

After a little research, I found that this has been happening for at least 8 years and it doesn’t look like Shutterstock has done more than deleting the offending photos when found, but more just get uploaded. However, with Shutterstock’s new machine learning similar photos feature, it is now easy to figure out if others have uploaded your photos to Shutterstock.

In the following video, I walk through how to use the Shutterstock similar photos search to figure out if copyright thieves have uploaded your photos to Shutterstock and how to send a DMCA takedown notice to get Shutterstock to take down the photos.

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