How can I ensure my business is protected when using stock content?

When you are creating advertisements or websites, stock photos can take a lot of work out of the process. Instead of hiring a photographer to create the perfect shot, you can simply choose from a wealth of images that are available on the internet, such as those from Shutterstock. Because these images must be purchased, it’s important that your business is legally protected from using them in inappropriate ways. When purchasing from Shutterstock, you're protected as we provide legal indemnification of varying amounts, based on the license used.
The Difference Between Rights-Managed and Royalty-Free
If you are using a rights-managed image, it means that your use of the image has limitations and restrictions. These limitations are set by the owner and may include:

  • Industry
  • Geographic region
  • Duration of use

All limitations should be identified in your license agreement, so it’s important that you understand the details before you use a stock photo for an advertisement for your business.
Royalty-free images give you almost unlimited use. If you stay within the terms of the license agreement, you can use the image in different projects and applications. Once you’ve paid the license fee, there is no longer any royalty payments that must be made.
Should You Worry About Copyright Infringement?
Most photos you purchase online are protected by copyright. To keep your business legally protected, you should avoid making any of the following copyright infringement mistakes:

  • Recreating the identical image with another photographer

  • Art rendering the image without permission

  • Use part or all the image without permission

  • Use image outside the scope of the licensing agreement

Copyright infringement is a serious problem an can lead to lawsuits, monetary damages, legal fees and even criminal charges in some situations.
What If Someone Else Built Your Website?
If you hired a designer or firm to create your website, you’ll want to check with them about your stock photos and their expiring license. If the images are royalty-free, they aren’t likely to expire, but your designer may receive a notice if the license must be renewed. Always get sales order or invoice numbers for any images that your designer used on your website. Know the expiration dates and the scope of how you can use each photo.
Licensing an Image
When you are licensing an image, make sure you have the following details:

  • What is the image used for?

  • How long do you need to use the image?

  • How many times will you be printing the image?

  • Are there trademarks, people, artistic works or buildings in the image?

  • Do you get legal protection with the purchase?

Now that you know how to ensure your business is legally protected when using stock photos, browse Shutterstock’s huge supply of pictures you can use to enhance your website or advertisements.

Images hand-picked for you
Our custom plans may be perfect for your licensing and workflow needs. Let us help find the right plan for you.
Request Info
  • Was this article helpful?

Can’t find what you’re looking for?