With the Summer Olympics in Rio around the corner, many Shutterstock contributors are already submitting images related to this event. There are many copyright rules and regulations surrounding Olympic content that limit the images Shutterstock can accept. Contributors might already know that there are multiple restrictions around commercial use of words or phrases that infringe on the IOC (International Olympic Committee) trademarks.

In an effort to facilitate the review process, here is a guide to what type of Olympic content we can accept and under which license we can offer it to our customers.

To prevent misuse of a trademark, 
we do not accept images containing isolated or highly 
visible trademarks or logos for commercial use. Below is a list of trademarked words, phrases, symbols, and logos that can’t be used in photographs, JPEG illustrations, vector illustrations or footage submitted to Shutterstock.

  • Rio 2016
  • Rio Olympics
  • Olympics
  • Paralympics
  • Olympic Games
  • Paralympiad
  • Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • Olympics 5-ring design
  • 3 curved lines design
  • “Figure 8” design
  • “Brasil Banner” design
  • Mascot design (Vinicius & Tom)

The following metadata is unacceptable for commercial use and cannot be used in titles or keywords:

  • Olympic
  • Olympiad
  • Olympic Games
  • Paralympic
  • Paralympiad
  • Paralympic Games
  • Rio 2016
  • Olympic and Paralympic Games

Certain images and illustrations can be accepted for commercial use if they do not create a direct association with the Olympic games:

hand lettered brazil
This image is acceptable because it does not make reference to the Olympics. Image by Eugenia Pestova.
brazil 2016 text
This image is acceptable because it does not make reference to the Olympics. Image by Stephen Finn.

Editorial images and footage of the Rio 2016 Olympics can be accepted if credentials are provided.

Pictures taken inside stadiums: Only images taken by officially accredited photographers can be submitted to Shutterstock. If you happen to be in the stadium as a fan, we cannot accept your images even for editorial purposes. Please read this blog post about credentials for more information.

Pictures taken outside stadiums: We will accept images of the sights and activities around the stadium like any other editorial content. If you submit images of a ticketed event, you are required to submit your credentials before we can review your content. If you take images of a free, open, and un-ticketed event, you may submit your content under the existing editorial guidelines:

Editorial Guidelines
Submitting Documentary Editorial Content

We can also accept illustrative editorial photographs, footage, and some editorial JPEG illustrations relating to the Rio 2016 Olympics. Editorial JPEG illustrations containing trademarks can be accepted only if the trademark is incidental to the image and is not the main subject. Vector illustrations of any trademarks will not be accepted, even for editorial use.

olympic flag on beach
This image featuring the Olympic Rings is acceptable because it is an illustrative editorial image and will not be licensed for commercial use. Image by lazyllama / Shutterstock.com

The Olympic Torch and the Olympic Rings are trademarked designs and are not acceptable for commercial use. However, they are acceptable for editorial licensing.

Olympic rings against sky
This image contains the trademarked Olympic Rings, so it is only acceptable under an editorial license. Image by lazyllama / Shutterstock.com.
olympic torch
This image contains the trademarked Olympic Torch, so it is only acceptable under an editorial license. Image by Ververidis Vasilis / Shutterstock.com.

You can learn more about our illustrative editorial policies here:

Submitting Illustrative Editorial Content
Submitting Editorial llustrations and Vectors

We hope that you find this guide helpful, and we look forward to seeing your images pour in for this year’s Olympics.

Top image by Rocksweeper