To be used for commercial purposes, content that shows a recognizable person or a trademarked building or private space/location must be accompanied by a release. If any content requires a release, we:
have it on file, content can be used commercially
do not have it on file, content can be used for Editorial purposes only
If there's at least one recognizable person depicted, then Shutterstock requires a model release for each person. If we have a release on file, you’ll see this message: "Signed model release on file with Shutterstock, Inc." Here's an example of an image with a model release.
Property releases are required for trademarked buildings and the interiors of private homes, business, and other non-public spaces. For example, a photo of the Empire State Building would need to be accompanied by a release signed by the copyright holder before it can be used for commercial purposes. You’ll see this message if we have a signed property release: “Signed property release on file with Shutterstock, Inc.” Here’s an example of an image with a property release.
Content that requires both releases will include a note reading “Signed model and property release on file with Shutterstock, Inc.” See this example of an image with both.
Editorial Use Only
Content is marked as “Editorial Use Only” when something depicted requires a release but we do NOT have one. Learn more about that here. This might include a photo of a busy street, where it's not feasible for a photographer to collect releases for everyone (here's an example). It could also include content that depicts copyrighted brands (such as a Nike logo), which generally can only be used for editorial purposes.
If you have questions, please feel free to contact us