Are you using Stock Images Illegally?

February 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm 1 comment

Film Strip

Image by: Auroqueiro

Many graphic designers use stock photography for their marketing and design needs. Whether it’s web or print design, licensed stock photography can be used in your designs giving the designer high-quality images and graphic elements that will make the finished project look professional, without having to also be a professional photographer. There are two main categories of stock photography: rights managed and royalty free.

Rights Manages

With Rights Managed stock photography an individual licensing agreement is negotiated for each use. This typically includes restrictions on the length of time, the medium, the size, the format and the location of use. The more flexible, or beneficial rights one purchases, the more expensive the license. Typically, rights managed stock photographs can be used by your company exclusively, meaning that other companies or agencies will not be able to use the same image for the duration of your license. A local business’ newsletter which is printed monthly, and which prints 400 copies, may pay a smaller fee of only $100 to use a particular image. The benefit the business receives from the use is small, so the fee is comparable. This same image, used editorially in a national publication reaching 15 million people might have a fee of between $500 and $1000. The concept here is that when the benefit to the organization increases, so too does the fee paid to the publisher. Note that prices in this paragraph are highly hypothetical; actual prices paid for image rights can range from a few cents to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Royalty Free

Royalty free licenses allow for mass use of photographs for a set fee. Royalty-free stock photography offers a photo buyer the ability to use an image in an unlimited number of ways for a single license fee. For an image that has been licensed as royalty-free, the licensor is unable to provide a history of usage to a prospective licensee. This may negatively affect the licensee, because they cannot be assured specific content is not being used in a certain geographical region by a competitor, for example. There are examples of the same royalty-free content being used in large promotional advertising campaigns by competitors. A Royalty-free image usually has a limit to how many times the buyer can reproduce it. For example, a license might allow the buyer to print 500,000 brochures with the purchased image. The amount of copies made is called the print run. The buyer is required to pay a fee per brochure, usually 1 to 3 cents, for additional prints. Magazines with a large print run cannot use a standard Royalty-free license and therefore they either purchase images with a Rights-managed license or have in-house photographers.

Acceptable Uses

Make sure that you are also checking out the acceptable uses of the stock photography. Some of the major types of usage are listed below.

  • Commercial Use (example print and/or electronic advertising, websites/blogs, product packaging, trade show displays, calendars for resale, etc)
  • Editorial Use (example newspaper, magazine, newsletters article, instructional use, documentary film or video, non-commerical blog or informational website)
  • Educational Use (any use by staff or students of a registered educational institution)
  • Non Profit Use (any use where the end user is a registered non-profit organization) – **discount may apply, **editorial only restrictions may apply on some images
  • Prints for display purposes (Personal or public display allowed if purchased as single use prints, no re-use or resale allowed)

Models in Photographs

Model Releases are legally recognized agreements signed between a photographer and a person or owner of property. They give the photographer the right to use the person or property contained in an image in a specified manner, usually including “for profit” usage.

Were to get Stock Photography and Images

Below is a list of some of the best online stock photography, images and vector repositories. Be sure to check all the licensing and usage requirements before using any stock images in your graphic designs.

iStock Photo
iStockphoto is the internet’s original member-generated image and design community. Get easy, affordable inspiration with millions of safe, royalty-free photographs, vector illustrations, video footage, audio tracks and Flash files.
Shutterstock Images
Shutterstock is the largest subscription-based stock photo agency in the world. Every day they add thousands of photographs, illustrations, and vectors to their outstanding collection of premium, royalty-free images.
Veer provides visual elements for use in professional creative work, such as graphic design, motion design, advertising and filmmaking. Our products include stock photography, illustration, typefaces, and unique merchandise.
Getty Images
Getty offer the industry’s best and broadest collections of imagery and footage – including award-winning news, sport and entertainment content, plus rare and contemporary archival imagery. Their music collection provides a wide range of pre-cleared tracks from independent artists, chart-topping acts and popular soundtracks.
Flick Creative Commons
Search hundreds of photos from user under the Creative Commons License.
Browse through the categories of our huge gallery containing over 350.000 quality stock photos by more than 30.000 photographers! Need a wallpaper for your desktop or illustration for your blog? Need a pic for your commercial website design? Looking for inspiration? Get it at Stock.XCHNG
Deviant Art
Join the largest art community in the world! Membership is FREE to share and sell your artwork, start your Art Collection and track your favorite artists!

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