Canadian photographer earned less than two dollars in the picture, the goods with which are now sold at Walmart

According to the rules of the stock site where the photo was bought, the author cannot even withdraw the earned money – the amount for this is too small.

Michael Stemm frame from video Stemma on Facebook

Thanks to friends , Canadian photographer Michael Stemm (Michael Stemm) learned that Walmart, the largest supermarket chain, sells products from his photos. They stumbled upon a product with a familiar image in one of the chain’s stores. After that, Stemme went to Walmart and actually found his photo on greeting cards, calendars, and even large blankets

He took a picture in December 2017, when he walked across the bridge in the snow. The resulting frame Stemm used in their accounts in social networks, and also sold in the format of postcards and prints.

In February 2018, he thought about getting additional income and uploaded a frame to the stock service Shutterstock. According to him, he did not read the rules of the service and never checked the status of his account after downloading.


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Huge Snowflakes fell lightly upon the Bill Thorne walking bridge as I enjoyed my walk downtown. ❄️🌨❄️

A post shared by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⋆✯ Michael Stemm ✯⋆ (@st3mm3r) on

The Newfoundland company, Islandwide Distributors, bought the rights to use the image without paying royalties for $ 1.88 – and produced at least 500,000 items for sale with it. This number Stemma learned after contacting the company.

Stemme posted a video on Facebook , where he admitted that he feels used.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I don’t think it’s fair that they bought a photo on Shutterstock for $ 1.88 and can now use it so widely, making so much profit. A lesson to learn: do not use Shutterstock if it works that way.[/perfectpullquote]
Michael stemm

In Facebook comments, the Canadian division of Walmart brought an apology to the photographer for the situation and offered to discuss it further.

Stem will not be able to withdraw earned $ 1.88 from Shutterstock, as according to the rules of service, the minimum withdrawn amount is $ 50. Moreover, in the description of the types of licenses on the stock site it is stated that the standard license does not allow the use of the image in advertising and in the production of goods.

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