Shutterstock’s Data Licensing :

Shutterstock is a well-known photo stock-selling platform. Its contributor platform enables every artist to bring their work to an open market and get a better reach for selling their digital artwork. Recently, the company has equipped itself with powerful AI (Artificial intelligence) tools, and now one can buy AI-generated images from their marketing platform. Also, contributors can now be part of this technological evolution by contributing their content for AI training.

AI : Artificial intelligence

About Shutterstock AI venture:

Shutterstock has announced its partnership with OpenAI (an American artificial intelligence research laboratory) . Under this partnership, Shutterstock will help OpenAI develop its Dall-E 2 artificial image-generation system, by providing its image libraries to OpenAI. In simple words OpenAI will be using, Shutterstock’s images to train its AI system which will be used to generate artificial images.

Why do AI systems need images from Shutterstock?

Computer Vision is a discipline that develops techniques that are used to train Artificial intelligence systems to understand visuals like images and videos. Models (sets of rules) are made which govern how a Computer vision system has to behave. Researchers are using data provided through stock images to create models that train Artificial Intelligence systems to understand the image similar to how the human eye sees it.

How is Contributor’s work sold for AI development?

Similar to Images and Videos, Shutterstock will also sell Datasets as a product offering. From the contributor’s point of view, we are all aware that whenever we sell an image/video via these stock platforms, we get a share of the sale as our earnings. Till now, the contributor’s work was being sold in terms of visuals and concepts. However, with the growing need for technology, Shutterstock has hit another goldmine and has started selling the datasets. These datasets are used by evolving AI systems like Dall-E 2 to learn and get it trained.

Thus, going forward whenever an image is marked as data licensing, this image will not be sold in the open market and it will not list in search results at Rather, it will be sold as part of datasets to the companies like OpenAI for training their AI systems.

Similar Read: Understand what is Computer Vision and how to contribute photos for AI development.

What are Shutterstock Datasets? 

Shutterstock states: “Shutterstock datasets are sets of visual content organized by a specific theme or topic that can include images (including photos, illustrations, and vectors), videos, and 3D models. Metadata, including keywords, descriptions, geo-location, and categories associated with an image, vector, and 3D models will be part of the datasets

What will be the impact on Contributor’s earnings?

Similar to a commercial license and editorial license, a data-licensed work will be available in the open market to the AI giants. Contributor will get their share of earnings when their content will be used for Computer Vision research and development. Thus, it is assumed that there will be no impact on the contributor’s earnings, rather contributors are getting a new forum to explore and earn.

How much does Shutterstock pay for data licensing?

As the data-licensed media is sold in the form of datasets, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly how much Shutterstock will pay for data licensing. However, as per our observation, we have earned almost $1.75 to $2 in a month with just 20 Nature/Travel images in the Data licensed category. This figure may/may not change with time, but we are putting this figure for you to do the Maths as per your content.

How Payments will be done for the sale of Data licensing content?

As, per Shutterstock, The share individual contributors receive will depend on the volume of their content and metadata that is included in the purchased datasets. However, the sale of datasets will not be reflected as individual downloads in the Earnings Summary.

As, the use of the datasets is not restricted to the number of content downloaded, and the buyer can either use the complete dataset or some partial data from the content purchased. Shutterstock will keep track of the content utilization of each contributor’s work and will compensate accordingly in a periodic manner.

The earning generated under this scheme can be viewed in the “Contributor Fund” column under Earning Summary.

How to opt out of Data Licensing?

  1. Click on the Accounts icon at the bottom left corner of the Shutterstock contributor’s homepage [Web Login]
  2. Go to Accounts Settings and scroll down
  3. Under Licensing options Disable Data Licensing
Enable/Disable Data Licensing
Enable/Disable Data Licensing

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Andrew Wijesuriya
Andrew Wijesuriya
11 months ago

Thanks Nikhil, the info was just what I was looking for especially since Shutterstock’s explanation page was not loading. It answered all my questions on data licensing on Shutterstock. Best regards Andrew Wijesuriya

11 months ago

You’re Welcome.. Keep Visiting!


[…] Shutterstock’s Data Licensing: How It Benefits Contributor? […]


[…] Shutterstock’s Data Licensing: How it benefits Contributor? By Data Licensing contributors can now be part of this technological evolution by contributing their content for AI training. Read to know more ab […]