In a rare moment of cooperation between the various stock photo agencies, Getty Images, Corbis and Shutterstock have combined their efforts to build a site they hope will educate users about licensing images and the legal complexities of doing so.
The site, stockphotorights.com, highlights the some of the legal dangers that come from licensing photos for your site beyond copyright including privacy issues (model releases) trademark issues and infringement of designs.
The site’s solution to these potential problems is to license images from stock agencies that provide indemnification, or legal protection against claims of infringement over use of their images. This is something that some of the major microstock photo agencies have been doing since late last year.
To be clear, these issues do happen. The Virgin Mobile case, which saw the company use a CC-licensed image of a girl in an ad campaign only to be hit with a privacy claim by the parents of the girl in the image, is an excellent illustration of the problem.
However, they can also be avoided in other ways, such as not using images that contain pictures of recognizable people or trademarked logos not protected under fair use. However, those options are not discussed in the video, in large part because this site, though informational, is aimed at encouraging users to choose commercially licensed stock photography.
Still, the site is a good overview of some of the issues that do arise when licensing images for your site and it is well worth taking the three minutes to watch the video and think about how these problems could impact you.
On that note, I’ve embedded a copy of the video below.
In addition to the video, the site also has a blog with updates on image licensing issues, a list of photography agencies and links to other, related sites, a good list, even if PT is not on it.
In short, if you deal with image licensing at all, you will probably want to watch the video and bookmark this site for future reference. It is almost certainly something you will want to come back to.