01 Jul 2015 Shutterstock Updates Contributor Terms of Service

Shutterstock has announced some changes to their contributor Terms of Service, with the changes detailed on their contributor blog.

Here’s the highlights:

Lower Payout Threshold

The new minimum balance to withdraw royalties (and referral commissions) is $35, down from $75.  This means newer and smaller contributors can receive payments more regularly, and will reduce the royalty debt that Shutterstock carries on the books.

With the huge quantity of contributors that Shutterstock have, there’s likely a large portion who will benefit from this change.

Buyers can Use Editorial Content Commercially, When Appropriate

In “certain circumstances”, including where a buyer has obtained all necessary clearances (for people and property that appear in an image), Shutterstock customers can use content marked as Editorial Use Only in a commercial way.

This is likely only intended for serious photo buyers who understand the relevant laws and know how to obtain clearances.  Given Shutterstock’s customer base is skewed toward serious buyers – at least in comparison to other microstock agencies – it does make sense.

New Requirement to have Shutterstock Manage Misuse

Shutterstock is now requiring that you inform them of any misuse of the content you have on Shutterstock before taking any legal action.

This is an interesting requirement for a completely non-exclusive agency where contributors have no idea which agency was the source for misuse.

Pitched in the blog post as an offer of legal assistance, the actual terms state it as a requirement, presumably opening contributors up to a breach of contract situation if they don’t let Shutterstock handle all their misuse cases.

13. B. In the event that you believe Content has been misused, you shall take no action without providing notice of such misuse to Shutterstock and receiving Shutterstock’s prior written consent to such action.

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