Lady Gaga shares watermarked photo, Shutterstock responds. Then Twitter exploded

Jan 26, 2020

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Lady Gaga shares watermarked photo, Shutterstock responds. Then Twitter exploded

Jan 26, 2020

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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It sometimes amazes me how big artists can be ignorant of copyright laws. Take this latest incident with Lady Gaga from earlier this week.

Lady Gaga tweeted a short “can y’all stop” message. Now, this message would have been a no-story unless it was accompanied by a photo of a masked girl wearing headphones. Headphones and a Shutterstock watermark.

Shutterstock replied to that tweet with a link to the image page on Shutterstock, a message about supporting the artist and a winking smiley: “.@ladygaga We hear you! We like artists to be paid for their work too. Here’s a link to the photographer’s work where you can license these quality images: shutterstock … and shutterstock … ?

Funnily enough, that tweet was Lady Gaga’s response to her new song that was leaked – Stupid Love. According to some sources, this is Lady Gaga’s way of saying stop stealing my song.

Lady Gaga’s fan went right into attack mode, here is a nice sample batch:

Some fans (well, at least one) seem to get it:

And then, even the photographer chimed in with a non-marked photo :)

I have a few questions to all parties involved. None of them look particularly good here.

Lady Gaga

So, this is obviously not a money issue for Lady Gaga. The largest available download on Shutterstock is 2592×3872 pixels. More than enough for twitter. Five images are $49. Let’s say $25 an image. I am assuming that Lady Gaga will not use the rest of the bundle here.

Now, I didn’t really look into Lady Gaga’s bank statement, but I think it’s safe to assume that $49 is pretty much less than she spends on her average breakfast. The only two options I see here are either the person who handles the Insta account did not know better, or they didn’t care. To be honest, it does not really matter. Both options do not reflect well on her.

I would love to see Lady Gaga come out and apologizes publicly. Maybe with a set of a flight and tickets to one of her concerts.


Now, Shutterstock are really not handling this the best way in my opinion. To understand that, let’s look at Shutterstock’s role in the stock photo echo system.

First, Shutterstock are big. Huge. How big? According to Shutterstock, they have over 250,000,000 images with 201,800 new images added daily. They have over 650,000 contributors and sell to over 150 countries. I know this because they say it on their about page. The company is traded on the New York stock exchange with a market cap of 1.57 Billion Dollars. They are not small and they have resources.

Then, let’s look at the role of Shutter Stock in the microstock food chain. (I am not taking any sides here with the is micro-stock good for the industry debate, It’s a worthy debate, but it’s irrelevant to the points I am making). Shutterstock acts as a middleman between the artists and the buyers. There are some intricacies here, but from a birds-eye, Shutterstock license images from the artists and then sell licenses to potential buyers. For the most part, the sums are small (hence the name micro-stock) and you need to sell a lot to create a decent revenue stream. On the low end, a single image on a subscription download will get you about a quarter, while a rarer special license/terms can score up to $120.

As I said, it’s not a lot of money per image. This is where Shutterstock’s community and umbrella come in. Shutterstock’s power comes from numbers, all those 25 cent downloads build up.  And Shutterstock are able to reach those huge numbers because they are big. They are the big player in town and if you, as a photographer, want to play, they hold the best odds. But with great power comes great responsibility. And with those numbers Shutterstock is making an implicit promise, it is promising its suppliers, its creators that it will be on their corner. Shutterstock will manage the infrastructure, take care of distribution, marketing and also collection. So for the photographer, it makes sense. Put your stuff on Shutterstock and Shutterstock shall provide.

This is not the case with the Lady Gaga tweet. At least not publically.

Lady Gaga is in err. To my un-lawerish eye, she is also at fault. What does Shutterstock do? Reply with a Tweet and a wink. This, of course, creates a big ripple and a nice buzz, but at front and center are Shutterstock. The photographer, dragon_fang, is not getting anything from this. So, not only, Lady Gaga used his image without him getting his two dollars or so, Shutterstock is having a publicity round on the back of those images without the photographer getting any compensation as well. (at least not publically).

What Shutterstock could have done better? Well, they are a 1.57 billion dollar company, they could have done quite a bit. For once, they could have reached out to Lady Gaga’s entourage to demand compensation for the unauthorized usage. They could also probably sue Lady Gaga, and establish a hard non-compromising line on artists using Shutterstock photos without compensating the artists. Lastly, they could have done better with putting the artist front and center on their response to Lady Gaga.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Did Shutterstock do well in this case? Were they right with their tweet? Should they have done anything differently?


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Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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117 responses to “Lady Gaga shares watermarked photo, Shutterstock responds. Then Twitter exploded”

  1. David Burko Avatar
    David Burko

    the irony that she appears to be using the image to speak against content theft, by stealing content…smh

    1. Nicole Avatar

      You clearly didn’t get the joke.

      1. kingof9x Avatar

        You clearly don’t get copyright law or hypocrisy

        1. Ky Christensen Avatar
          Ky Christensen

          That’s the point she is making…she is driving it home by intentionally using the water mark…..

  2. Marco Peixoto Avatar
    Marco Peixoto

    Taken into account she must be one of the most pirated artist alive… she didnt stole anything technically. Watermark was there and according to several comments the photographer got known.

    1. Kevin Johnson Avatar
      Kevin Johnson

      Marco Peixoto Legally, using a watermark photo is the same as using an unwatermarked photo. Therefore she used it without authorization or compensation. Which is also known as stealing. If we allow celebrities to steal photographers photos with the rationale that it will make them known, why the hell do we even have copyright laws then??

    2. Kok Yoon Lee Avatar
      Kok Yoon Lee

      We don’t need to get known. We need to get paid. So, being rich and famous makes it ok to be a thief? Stupid cow!

      1. deavery Avatar

        So true

    3. Marco Peixoto Avatar
      Marco Peixoto

      Those that never posted images or gifs from copyrighted movies raise your hands…

      1. Huge Dom Avatar
        Huge Dom

        The difference is we don’t use it as a tool to market our latest product.

        1. JR H Avatar
          JR H

          Neither did she as her product isn’t even out for consumption. Plus this hokey image is a piss poor way of trying to sell something anyway.

          1. Huge Dom Avatar
            Huge Dom

            She or her team picked the image and look up what Marketing means, it doesn’t even have to be a real product.

          2. JR H Avatar
            JR H

            You’re mistaken on the intent. The image was chosen based on a tweet someone shared bragging about their own piracy of her song. They used this specific image first, watermark and all. This image in itself was not for marketing, nor is it even effective for marketing anymore than her tweet without the image would have been.

      2. Drew Rick Avatar
        Drew Rick

        Copyright has certain provisions for derived works with the purpose of reporting or satire. You could argue memes are satire. This here was neither.

    4. Dave Watling Photography Avatar
      Dave Watling Photography

      So if I illegally download one of LG’s songs, as long as I give her credit, then I haven’t done anything wrong? I haven’t “Stole anything. I gave the artist recognition”.

      You need to understand the copyright laws.

    5. Kevin Johnson Avatar
      Kevin Johnson

      Marco Peixoto using an image from a movie by an individual falls under Section 107 of the Copyright Act covering Fair Use for the public. Lady Gaga, a public figure, using an stock image that is expressly meant to be licensed for a fee is not Fair Use.

    6. Branin Podolski Avatar
      Branin Podolski

      Exposure doesn’t pay rent bud.

    7. Dimitris Sdougkos Larsson Avatar
      Dimitris Sdougkos Larsson

      Marco Peixoto let deposit all this publicity into my bank account….

      Sir you will have to pay for that meal! Aw you’re the photographer, Lady Gaga didnt pay for? Here’s your free food sir!

    8. Tim Gould Avatar
      Tim Gould

      Marco Peixoto Technically that is stealing.
      If I take, use and keep your car without your permission or payment, is that stealing? What if I tell everyone it’s your car, is that different?

    9. Marco Peixoto Avatar
      Marco Peixoto

      First you cannot compare the situations… second im sure by now the photographer got his 10 cts for the pic and shutterstuck their 50 or 100 dollars… last but not least… would love to see your HDrives mp3 folders and movies… your YT playlists and ohhh and dont forget that you are watching stolen content everytime you go on Pornhub… did i touch a nerve there?

    10. Tim Gould Avatar
      Tim Gould

      Marco Peixoto First, if you take/use something without payment or permission when you should pay or get permission, then it is comparable in principle. The comparison is being made to help explain why Lady Gaga’s use of the image was wrong, not to suggest they are equal situations in law or severity.
      Secondly, you may be sure that payment has now happened but there is no evidence of that in the article. I’m inclined to agree with you but it’s just supposition. It also doesn’t matter. Lady Gaga should have paid up front for commercial usage. Posting later because you were caught out does not absolve you.
      Last, my actions are not relevant. Lady Gaga and Shutterstock do not refer to me for guidance. The contents of my hard drives are absolutely nothing to do with this story.

    11. Marco Peixoto Avatar
      Marco Peixoto

      Tim Gould my “show me your HD” example was just an example and an analogy… we are all guilty of something… I work an a very Artistic environment… on where everybody used (or uses) not so much legal things. They get images left and right from the internet or songs (streaming too) without thinking twice… but “God Forbid” someone one day shares they “Artwork” made with pirated software

      Sorry for not being so naive as some of you seem to be or try to pass that image.

      Did she do the right thing? No… most certain it wasnt eve her… but lets all forget we have Glass Roof and throw stones.

  3. Kok Yoon Lee Avatar
    Kok Yoon Lee

    so it is also ok to pirate her works? Stupid cow.

    1. JR H Avatar
      JR H

      Don’t take your weight issues out on others.

    2. Kiah Alpen Avatar
      Kiah Alpen

      No, it doesn’t give her the right to steal others work though. Stupid cow.

  4. Caio Vita Avatar
    Caio Vita

    Imagine complaining about watermark on a meme hahaha

    1. Jack Oliver Petch Avatar
      Jack Oliver Petch

      Caio Vita oh to be a watermarked image, shared by the many, not by the few.

  5. Lady Warrior ?? Avatar
    Lady Warrior ??

    Lol… gosh I love a funny story

  6. Janice LeBlanc Avatar
    Janice LeBlanc

    Shutterstock went about this all wrong. If anyone should sue anyone, the photographer should go after Shitterstock.

    They did not protect the photographer’s property.

    Also, there must be a way for shutterstock to stop their photos from being public in a google search. IMO, they are the ones putting the photos out there to be stolen (watermark or not). They are using google searches to freely promote there site. They have a budget for marketing, I’m sure, but they choose the free and easy way to promote their business and it’s the artists who pay the ultimate price.

    The way they went about it (comment and a winky emoji) shows that they are not willing to back up their contract with artist.

    Shutterstock is at fault here, 100%

    1. Scott Peterson Avatar
      Scott Peterson

      It’s called taking a screenshot with your phone. No way Shutterstock can stop that. Good grief!

      1. Steve Thorpe Avatar
        Steve Thorpe

        The ourtage toward Shutterstock is not about them failing to prevent the use of a watermarked image (which they obviously cannot do) but about their insipid response, and not even mentioning the photographer.

        1. Scott Peterson Avatar
          Scott Peterson

          My response was to Janice LeBlanc comment above (3rd Paragraph) not the article itself. I do not agree with Shutterstock’s actions but they have no way of preventing a screen shot from a phone.

    2. pincherio Avatar

      So how did Shutterstock fail their client? In making that comment to Gaga, they also included a link to the photographer and his work, garnering him huge publicity, worth much, much more than whatever monetary consideration he would have received if Gaga paid for the photo. They also drew attention that photos on Shutterstock are NOT FOR FREE. They are notifying the public that they should not be sharing these photos without compensating the artists, no matter who they are. So what if they didn’t take legal action? What would that have achieved? $25 for Shutterstock and a quarter for the photographer? By doing what they did, they achieved so much more. Just because Udi Tirosh thinks Shutterstock is at fault here doesn’t mean he’s right.

  7. Don Navarro Avatar
    Don Navarro

    There could be more to this story that we don’t know. Perhaps LG paid for the stock image but shared the watermarked image instead? Maybe this stunt has caused multiple people to buy their own versions of the image boosting the photographers sales. We don’t know the whole story. And a bunch of free publicity is happening right now. For all parties.

    1. Joseph Gottlich Avatar
      Joseph Gottlich

      Exposure doesn’t pay the bills. “It’s good exposure” is never an acceptable response. If it was paid for; state that. Bringing in all of your entitled and choosey beggar “fans” to shout down a wink and nod to remind to pay for all creative works, just lessens your own argument. So now I’ll just go ahead an torrent LG’s music that I have never bought, because it’ll be Good Exposure for her.

  8. jeff k Avatar
    jeff k

    Never heard of an echo system

  9. M.Smith Avatar

    Again the ignorant join with the Celebrity not knowing that they are principally hurting themselves. The ignorant don’t know the law, and in some cases don’t care about it as they steal images all the time.

  10. JR H Avatar
    JR H

    From what I read, another Twitter user used that watermarked image to brag about their own listening of the leaked song first and she just based her tweet on that. At least the image has a watermark to make it undersirable for official use, whereas her music can’t–it’s just stolen.

  11. Frankie Avatar

    As an artist who has images on Shutterstock I am very disappointed in them. We get 0.25 dollers per download(depending on the type of download). Its basically nothing if you get few downloads per month. Lately I have been seeing a lot of people including celebrities post watermarked images. Shutterstock should do there job and protect their artists and sue these people, its not fair to hardworking artists to have their images used for free. If we wanted our images to be free, we would put them on a free stock platform. For some, those images are their living…. smh. So disappointed. She cares about her stolen music? but not stealing? To a photographer a picture is like what a song is to her.

    1. PattyMcBride77 Avatar

      If you only get 0.25 per download (depending on the type which in my opinion is just insulting), and Lady Gaga ‘steals’ your photo and posts it to her LARGE audience perhaps, and just perhaps, that could be free publicity and end up licensing more images than you would otherwise. So what… you’re out $0.25! You could probably find a quarter on the street if you looked hard enough. Yes, content theft is wrong… but this is almost like free publicity. It’s social media. It’s not like Old Spice stole a watermarked image and used it in a printed campaign (that’s wrong). Copyright law needs to be rewritten. It’s not black and white in this day and age.

      1. pincherio Avatar

        It only became “PUBLIC” because Shutterstock called her out on it, which is why they did it. They didn’t sue her. If they didn’t call her out, then her monsters wouldn’t give a whit about that photo so, I guess, Shutterstock handled that pretty well, getting their client more than just the 25 cents he was entitled to. As for the photographer who got “robbed,” he came out publicly and offered Gaga use of the image for free, probably cause he recognized how much publicity he’s now getting. No legal actions were brought against Gaga, just a snide suggestion that she practice what she preaches.

      2. Nicolas Racine Avatar
        Nicolas Racine

        Free publicity for whom? Where do you see the name of the photographer on the image? Lady Gaga using an image without a licence is not “free publicity” it’s an endorsement to her millions of fan that it’s ok to take what you want without paying.

        Of course $0.25 is a laughable amount, but it is the principle behind the act that is important. The amount itself is another debate entirely.

        1. FrogLuvR Avatar

          My same thought,,,, publicity for the photographer? I did not see the photographer’s watermark.

      3. timothyf7 Avatar

        You obviously don’t produce anything. Otherwise, you’d not even try to defend this issue.
        But we’ll assume you have something for sale displayed in your yard. Let’s say you had a car for sale in your driveway. You have a big For Sale” sign in the window. Someone comes and takes your car without permission. They drive it around town and put it back in your driveway when they are through with it, with no damage and only a a gallon of gas used. Would you call the police? ” …but this is almost like free publicity.” Would you press charges? After all, they gave you free advertising all around town, as they drove it. This is basically your stance. Regardless of the value, if you use someone else’s property without their permission… it is theft. It shouldn’t even need to have a Copyright at all, in my opinion. Unfortunately, it does for the exact reason shown here. Someone that could throw away a hundred dollar bill and not flinch, took the lazy way out with their “I’m more important than you” ideology. Ironically, she did the exact same thing that the person that leaked her song did. They took her property without her permission.

  12. Tumo Fotografix Avatar
    Tumo Fotografix

    None did well. Handlers of Lady Gaga cannot claim ignorance of the copyright law neither should Shutterstock take for granted an intellectual property of a hapless photographer .

    As for the Photographer, l will advise him to contact both party and in the event of failure, sue them both. He is not sueing for the cost of the picture “stolen” but for not giving him recognition. Breach has been established. And it has to be corrected.

    1. Zachary Stone Avatar
      Zachary Stone

      You don’t win lawsuits against billionaires.

  13. Smitsbox 9 Avatar
    Smitsbox 9

    I don’t know about you but when the shutterstock got the free publicity they should have purchased the licence themselves. I mean that will be the smart thing to do to avoid all the troubles and still be considered a good company.

  14. Get real Avatar
    Get real

    Nobody respects photographers. Everyone thinks we should “Work for the exposure” I’ve had several clubs tell me that having me there would get my name out etc. I usually tell them “Great! I’m also planning on having a little get together of 100 or so friends at my place soon, if you could come and bring all the booze and music for free it sure would help to get your name out there!”

    1. F1SpeedPhoto Avatar

      Gotta respect yourself first. Maybe consider a new focus instead of club photography if they’re not able to understand. Unless you’re bringing something unique to the client they can easily treat you as disposable. Just the way it is unfortunately.

      1. Zachary Stone Avatar
        Zachary Stone

        The truth isn’t popular.

      2. Albu Emil Avatar
        Albu Emil

        You can be the best photographer there’s always going to be an idiot asking you to make free photos for “exposure”, like you could pay your bills with exposure.

  15. Sir S3 Avatar
    Sir S3

    Which part of it is “unauthorised usage”? The watermark written “shutterstock” can be read miles away.

    1. Dave Watling Photography Avatar
      Dave Watling Photography

      You have to pay for copyrighted images in order to use them. Whether there’s a watermark on it or not. That image belongs to someone. They used it without paying for it.

  16. William Calderwood Avatar
    William Calderwood

    Twouldabn a great album cover with the watermark. Call the album Irony.

  17. Nicole Avatar

    The blatant overreaction, lmao. It’s not like she was fuming over people pirating her music, she was obviously joking about one of her songs getting leaked. That exact image became a meme a long time ago, it’s used daily on Twitter. The low quality and watermark makes the meme even funnier. Plus, as mentioned, even the photographer got the joke and played along.

    1. kingof9x Avatar

      You clearly don’t get hypocrisy or copyright law.

      1. Brad Redford Avatar
        Brad Redford

        Ah. Another case of the “You clearly’s”.

      2. Nicole Avatar

        You seem stressed, sweetie. Are you stressed?

  18. F1SpeedPhoto Avatar

    Give this man his $2!

  19. Michael Lombardi Avatar
    Michael Lombardi

    Shutterstock should drop the full amount ($25 or whatever) into the photog’s account and be like “this is from us for Lady Gaga. She didn’t pay us but we got free advertising and you didn’t.”

    1. Tim Gould Avatar
      Tim Gould

      Michael Lombardi No, Lady Gaga should do the same, for the free publicity she got from a) illegal use of copyright work, and b) the additional publicity caused by Shutterstock’s response.

    2. Michael Lombardi Avatar
      Michael Lombardi

      Tim Gould everyone should give the guy 25 bucks! But no one did. ?

    3. Matthew Parrish Avatar
      Matthew Parrish

      Shutterstocks payout is only 25 cents, not 25 dollars.

    4. Michael Lombardi Avatar
      Michael Lombardi

      Matthew Parrish no, what the buyer pays not the few coins the content creator gets–because the 90% take is what Shutterstock gets, but in this case, they didn’t do anything to sell it (it got stolen).

  20. Kathleen Avatar

    I totally agree. Flaunting the law with both parties is pathetic. The Photographer should be compensated immediately.

  21. Nubie Avatar

    Loooooool, this is just a meme you dummies

  22. Hybrilynx Avatar

    Shuttersotkc* ctrl+f

  23. hammerhead ✓loves covfefe Avatar
    hammerhead ✓loves covfefe

    There is a simple solution here. If you are a photographer, don’t ever post your photos on the internet.

    Problem solved!

  24. Poo Tang Avatar
    Poo Tang

    Make her pay that way the Trumptards can’t whine and whine about stars and their special privileges. I’m actually sick of stars and musicians and athletes thinking they have a free pass to be DBs!
    Make Lady Jar Jar pay so everyone learns how this entertainment thing works. Can we get Lady Jar Jar to perform not pay her but just hang a clear watermark in front of her on the stage. Would you go to a watermarked concert event if it was free?

    1. dogstar76 Avatar

      You’re really proud of that “Jar Jar” Moniker aren’t you? So you don’t like Gaga … we get it.

      1. Poo Tang Avatar
        Poo Tang

        Poor Lady Jar Jar

  25. dogstar76 Avatar

    Gaga usually fesses up and makes things right when she or her staff make a mistake like this. I’m sure she will here. Needless to say, she has dozens of photographer friends (heard of Annie Leibovitz?) who will give her sh*t about this. She should’ve known better.

  26. Poo Tang Avatar
    Poo Tang

    Lady Jar Jar should have a Madonna watermark wherever she goes since she basically copies Madonna from the get go.

    1. JR H Avatar
      JR H

      Ha! Madonna is a chameleon and always has been. She jumps on whatever is trendy, even down to religion. Gaga writes her own stuff, plays instruments and can actually sing. Keep dreaming.

      1. Kok Yoon Lee Avatar
        Kok Yoon Lee

        One is also a thief! :-D

        1. JR H Avatar
          JR H

          You and Poo Tang must have come from the same laboratory…

      2. Poo Tang Avatar
        Poo Tang

        You’re an idiot. Madonna has been doing all that same stuff her entire career. Pay attention idiot or you just make yourself look even dumber. Um and Lady Jar Jar is the definition of a charlatan. Been copying Madonna from the get go. Photos and videos to prove it too. Pull your head from your arse.

        1. JR H Avatar
          JR H

          Sorry twerp, but you have no idea what you’re talking about. Why don’t you just stick to complaining about Donald Trump (anyone with a functioning brain can do that). Leave anything deeper to the adults.

    2. Louie Abegail Delos Santos Avatar
      Louie Abegail Delos Santos

      Ha! Ha! Do you have any strong evidence for your statement????

  27. pluralizes_everythings Avatar

    I’m tired

  28. Yoandri Dominguez Garcia Avatar
    Yoandri Dominguez Garcia

    theft what? education is art end. education free is best. so steal since morality lets you for educating. lady gaga aint some bimbo. she working for message songs. EDIT besides, she likely dont care bout her song being pirated now. shes wealthy enough. no stakes here. nothing lost. photographers should be real artists and go hungry. bohemia baby.

  29. Christophe Thomas Avatar
    Christophe Thomas


  30. Zachary Stone Avatar
    Zachary Stone

    Is this the kind of world that you want to live in, Udi? Where, using a watermarked picture (still tagged) can get you sued? The world isn’t fair, and it won’t ever be (in our lifetimes). I’d rather the world acknowledge more things with a smile and a wink, rather than tie up our broken legal system with frivolous lawsuits about at best, a few dollars.

    The publicity he can get from this is *Far more expensive than what was stolen.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar

      The only reason anybody even knows who shot it was because it’s gotten called out. Can you even remember the photographer’s name now without scrolling up to go look? What publicity has he gotten?

  31. Anthony Woodruffe Avatar
    Anthony Woodruffe

    Nothing new that a music artist doesn’t give a F‘k about a photog‘s Copywrite, but will take you to the cleaners if you try to use their IP.

  32. Ignasi Jacob Avatar
    Ignasi Jacob

    Who is Lady Gaga ?

    1. Kok Yoon Lee Avatar
      Kok Yoon Lee

      A thief?

  33. Jo Bri Avatar
    Jo Bri

    Shutterstock doesn’t care about their contributors, they care about… Shutterstock. Shutterstock used it to get some promo for their Company, not for their contributors as such. But that said, when one artist steal from other artists……
    Shutterstock could have backed that particular contributor up, by sending a link to his shutterstock account, but no, not Shutterstock…. Or any of the other micro agencies for that matter, would give a hoot.

    1. pincherio Avatar

      What are you talking about? Shutterstock had a link to the photographer and his work in their statement to Gaga. How is that “doesn’t care about their contributors?” They did their job. They stood up for his rights and got him a lot of publicity in the process. Just because they didn’t take legal action doesn’t mean they didn’t stand up for his rights.

  34. Alinda Norasing Avatar
    Alinda Norasing

    She may have bought it, but opted to post the watermarked one to make a statement, xyz etc

  35. Kevin Trudeau Avatar
    Kevin Trudeau

    Maybe it’s a case of all’s well that ends well. A lot of publicity for what would otherwise be a sale for the photographer earning him 25 cents. I’d take that publicity for that price.
    The real crime here is how stock photography companies have so seriously devalued photography that it’s hard to make any kind of living at it anymore. The artists are blindly handing over their work for peanuts while the stock companies are laughing all the way to the bank.

  36. Mikki H Avatar
    Mikki H

    I think all photographer need to start watermarking their work..I have to watermark…only releasing low resolution stop people from stealing my images…but what’s the difference if some other photographer gives away their images

  37. Joel Obolo Avatar
    Joel Obolo

    Google needs to stop showing these stock photo sites in their image search.
    What reason is there to want to see watermark obscured photos in your search?
    If you want a commercial stock photo you search the actual site.

  38. Ryan Morton Avatar
    Ryan Morton

    Are you literally that bored? She shared a watermarked image, the company probably made a lot of money. I can’t imagine you do the same writing articles like this. Brilliant reporting. Lmfao.

  39. Hanna Kyla Avatar
    Hanna Kyla

    The photographer of the stock photo RT’d Lady Gaga’s post and shared the non-watermarked photo of his as a gift to the meme community. No hard feelings

    1. Marco Peixoto Avatar
      Marco Peixoto

      Hanna Kyla see… and some people here making a storm about it…

  40. Phill Holland Avatar
    Phill Holland

    The only thing we have as credibility sometimes is that we’ve all got really expensive cameras, Vs the dude with the camera phone, if we don’t get money we cannot afford our expensive self certification.

    And even then, in a world where Apple is trying really hard to tell us how professional photos taken by an IPhone are, and a world flooded by an abundance of photos with everybody taking them.

    Every time an artist service makes waves on the internet with some special market place, as with music or films, the value of the artist plummets spectacularly, the only winners are those running the stores.

  41. DrHillymyboy Avatar

    Should she apologise publically – or publicly? ?

  42. Max Stafford Avatar
    Max Stafford

    I love how people think that gaga should be let off for free advertising yet Shutterstock is one of the most well known places for stock photography. She should have to pay for it.

  43. Dave Avatar

    Who’s to say she didn’t pay for the usage??‍♂️ It’s Lady Gaga, it’s not like she’s gonna set up a shutterstock account herself, she’s got a team of people working for her. If her marketing team purchased the image, (which is most likely) it’s still funnier with the watermark.

  44. Michael Wilson Avatar
    Michael Wilson

    Im tired of this same story again and again, just don’t care. How many of you purchase or research copyrights before you share a meme? Someone “owns” every single picture out there, but if you’re famous you should research the copyright on every cat picture or guy lighting farts on the internet? Newsflash, Lady Gaga probably uses her social media sitting on the crapper like everyone else, without a lawyer, credit card, or shutterstock account handy. Shutterstock gets it, the photographer obviously ok with it, why is this a big issue?

  45. ARR Avatar

    Wow, get a grip, people. LG didn’t steal shit. She posted an image that’s posted ON the site for anyone to see and never tried to pass it off as her own or use it beyond an emoji-type reaction with the obvious watermark. None of you have done a millionth of what she has for people and charities. Lame-ass losers.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar

      So, she used an image in the exact way it’s available to be licensed for, yet didn’t pay for a license. And how’s that not stealing?

      1. ARR Avatar

        No…She posted a picture with a large watermark that can be viewed by the public at Shutterstock’s site. She did not attempt to pass it off as her own or attempt to edit the watermark in any way. If SS gave a crap about the photographers, the photos would have those names/links on it instead of SS. Further, she profited in no way from it.

        1. Kaouthia Avatar

          The watermark is irrelevant. The platform is irrelevant. She used somebody else’s photograph for her own promotion. The fact that something is visibly publicly on one location on the web does not give everybody the right to use it.

          Profit also has nothing to do with it (although, given that her social media is essentially her marketing, there’s an argument to be made that she is profiting from it). If you buy a Lady Ga Ga album, you’re not allowed to make copies and give them away to all your friends. You’re not profiting, but it’s still against copyright law.

          1. ARR Avatar

            Sorry, I thought I was talking to an intelligent person. Maybe try doing a little reading on copyright and fair use. You’re a huge waste of time.

          2. Kaouthia Avatar

            Funny, I thought the same. Fair Use doesn’t cover this, and the only way it would is if she could convince a judge that it would (that’s how Fair Use works). I would suggest you’re the one who needs to do some reading up. :)

          3. ARR Avatar

            Thank you! You are correct. It’s not like that’s my major or anything…

  46. Victor Varela Avatar
    Victor Varela

    Folks seem to miss the irony in this.

    1. Waterman Jeff Avatar
      Waterman Jeff

      Victor Varela people read to react instead of understanding ?‍♂️?‍♂️?‍♂️ for those that don’t understand she is whining about someone stealing her music while she is using a photo that is copyrighted

  47. Add Verz Avatar
    Add Verz

    If it on google image, doesn’t mean it free.

  48. Matthew Parrish Avatar
    Matthew Parrish

    fuck shutterstock anyway with their paying only 25 cents per download that they charge over 10 dollars for

  49. Ky Christensen Avatar
    Ky Christensen

    She used the watermark on purpose to make her point. Kind of funny…and smart.

  50. Karen Christine Avatar
    Karen Christine

    I cannot believe how long this article is ?

  51. Nicholas Avatar

    …the stock photo “echo system”?? Are you kidding me? You can’t even spell ecosystem?

  52. pincherio Avatar

    Why blame Shutterstock? By calling out Gaga with their snide remark, they drew attention to the photographer and his work, thanks to the link they included. And because it was Gaga who used the pic, this drew a lot of publicity, both for Shutterstock and their client (again, thanks to the link to his work). Had they sued Gaga, what would that have achieved? Even if they won, the amount they would have collected would not have even come close to the legal costs. Instead, they decided against alienating a huge artist and merely called her out in a friendly manner, suggesting that she practice what she preaches.

  53. Jared Ribic Avatar
    Jared Ribic

    In the long run this might be a good thing for photography, look at how well ASCAP protects musicians from copyright infringement and makes sure they get paid (OK, their record labels get paid).