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How to Submit Vectors Created Using Other Images

One of our most important goals at Shutterstock is to foster a safe environment for both contributors and customers to license images and videos.  To better protect both parties, we occasionally ask for supporting material, such as reference images, with image submissions. Our guidelines for submitting vectors, as with all work you submit to Shutterstock, is simple:  you may only submit content to which you own or control the copyright. This includes any content that you use to create your image.  Therefore, you may use an image to create a vector (“reference image”), but only if you own or control the copyright to the reference image.

For example, you may not submit a vector that you created from an image you found online and which does not belong to you. This includes reference images found through online searches and on “free” image websites. Unless you own or control the copyright to the reference image, you may not submit a vector created using the reference image.

We request that you submit the reference image for vectors that have been created using a reference image. You can do this by uploading a copy of the reference image to the “property releases” section along with your vector submission.

Please note that you do not have to submit reference images for vectors that were directly created on a program or tablet. However, please know that our reviewers examine every image submission very thoroughly, and may request more information about a vector if it appears that the vector may have been created using a reference image.

By providing us with a copy of a reference image, you are helping to ensure that you are the rightful owner to the image, and that you are providing content with integrity to our customers. Additionally, providing us with a copy of a reference image can help protect you if there is ever any dispute related to the ownership of your image.

Below are some examples of vectors created using reference images where we would require you to upload a copy of the reference image.

Auto-traced or live-traced vectors

Auto-traced (also known as live-traced) vectors are vectors that have been created using a tracing tool on a program that automatically traces the reference image.  You may only submit vectors containing auto-traced elements if you own or control the copyright to the reference image that has been auto-traced. You must submit a copy of the reference image with the vector during the review process.

Example:

Autotrace

This auto-traced vector was created by uploading a reference image to a program, and then traced using the auto-trace (or similar) feature. To submit this vector to Shutterstock, the submitter must own or control the copyright to the reference image used to create this vector.

shutterstock_105474548-lo rez

This is the reference image for the auto-traced vector shown above. This image would be submitted under “property releases” with the above vector submission. The submitter must own or control the copyright to this reference image in order to submit a vector based on this reference image to Shutterstock.

Vectors created from reference images without using auto-trace

Even if you only use a pen tool or other manual tool to create an image using a reference image (i.e., you do not have a program trace the reference image automatically for you), you must own or control the copyright to the reference image.

It is important to remember that creating a vector using someone else’s reference image does not mean that you own the copyright to the vector, since the underlying reference image belongs to the creator of the reference image.

If you are submitting a vector that you have created using your own reference image without an auto-trace tool on a program, please submit a copy of the reference image with your vector submission.

 Example:

Pen tool

This vector was created by looking at a reference image, and then using a pen or similar tool to draw the vector on a program. To submit this vector to Shutterstock, the submitter must own or control the copyright to the reference image used to create this vector. Just because the submitter has done the “work” to create this vector does not mean they own the image; the submitter must own the underlying reference image to own this vector.

shutterstock_105474548-lo rez

This is the reference image used to create the vector shown above. This image would be submitted under “property releases” with the above vector submission.  The submitter must own this reference image in order to submit a vector based on this reference image to Shutterstock.  If the submitter does not own the reference image, then the submitter cannot submit the vector to Shutterstock.

Identifiable people in vectors

If a vector contains an identifiable person, then you must submit a model release for the image. If a vector created using a reference image contains an identifiable person, then you must submit both a copy of the reference image (which you must own), as well as a model release with the vector.

Example:

dancers-auto-trace-33

This vector depicts an identifiable individual, and so would require a model release. This vector was also created using a reference image, and so both a model release and the reference image would need to be submitted with this vector.

Example:

Non-Identifable-Person-Vector

This vector depicts an individual who is not identifiable; therefore, this vector would not need a model release. Additionally, this vector was not created using a reference image, and so no reference image would need to be submitted with this vector.

Silhouette vectors

If you create a silhouette using a reference image, you must own or control  the copyright to the reference image. Please submit a copy of the reference image for each silhouette you create, even if your image contains multiple silhouettes.

Example:

Non-Identifable-Silhouette-Vector

This is an example of a reference image (hand sketch on left), and a silhouette vector that has been created using the reference image (right).  If the silhouette is created using a reference image, the submitter must own or control the copyright to the reference image. Additionally, the submitter must submit the reference image with the silhouette vector submission. Please note that we will not accept silhouette vectors created using reference images from the internet, including from “free” websites.

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We take the protection of intellectual property rights very seriously here at Shutterstock, and request that you follow these guidelines in order to help prevent the abuse of others’ rights.  Please note that if you submit a vector that was created using a reference image belonging to someone else, your account may be disabled per our Terms of Service.

We thank you for submitting quality work and we look forward to reviewing your vectors. If you have questions, please contact us at submit@shutterstock.com

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