I can say that we are in the world of stock images. Almost everyone is using stock images (free or paid) for their business, blog or social media. But, do you know the first thing about these stock images. I am certain that your answer would be a NO!

That is why I put together this post to discuss everything I know about stock images. So don’t be left out, let’s read on.

Stock images are broken down into two main types; the royalty-free and the rights managed. For the royalty-free images, you can use the picture in any application, and for as long as you like. You can also use the images in many different projects. However, that is if you comply with the terms of the license agreement. But royalty-free images are not for free. Royalty-free means that the picture can be used as many times as you deem fit without paying extra costs after you paid for the license to use it. However, the license cost is based on the file size, the number of users permitted to use the image, and other factors.

For rights-managed images, the images are typically restricted. There are limitations to when, where and what you can use the picture to do.

Copyright is a form of protection made by the law to the authors of the “original works of authorship.” Then by the Berne convention for the protection of literary and artistic works, every copyrighted work will be protected in all the 160 countries that are a party to the agreement. Copyright applies to all images. You should be very careful of the photos that you use because of copyright infringement. And what is copyright infringement? Copyright infringement is the violation of the rights of the rights holder or creator. Example of copyright imagery infringement could be:

  • Adapting an image without permission
  • Asking another photographer to recreate the image
  • Use of a part or whole of a picture without permission.

You should make sure that you are not involved in any imagery infringement as it can result in costly legal fees, criminal charges, monetary damages, and even lawsuits.

Free stock photos are free legal images. However, free images also have copyright. The copyright holder must declare the image as free to use. Most times, free images don’t come with any form of legal protection. So if any claim arises, the customer will be held responsible.

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that has several copyright licenses known as the Creative Commons licenses. The licenses allow the copyright holder to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they give up for the benefit of other people. However, the Creative Commons License doesn’t cover you against all legal risk.