2 DON’T relinquish stock images to a client unless they were purchased on their behalf. Much like a font, stock images are not shareware. By purchasing a stock image you have agreed to the licensing agreements for that image and that agreement is between you and the stock house. If the client wants to own the image for their use, they must either purchase it themselves or you may do so on their behalf.
3 DON’T assume that a stock image is royalty free. When purchasing an image from an online stock house, be sure to read ALL the information on the image’s page. That image may be rights managed. This means you have to acquire a licensing agreement in addition to paying a determined fee. How much that fee will be is all dependant on: usage, placement, image size, print run, duration, website usage, electronic distribution, location and industry. It is your responsibility to be accurate when supplying all this information. Failure to do so, may lead to serious legal and/or financial consequences. Here is an example of what a fee calculator form looks like. This one is from the online stock house, www.veer.com.
4 DON’T try and pull an “American Apparel”. The clothing company was caught using an unauthorized image of famed filmmaker Woody Allen from a scene in the movie “Annie Hall”. By not contacting Woody Allen and/or his agency, and acquiring all the necessary permissions and paying a negotiated usage fee, a lawsuit initiated by Mr. Allen followed, who sought $10 million in damages. The lawsuit accused the retailer of using the filmmaker’s image without permission and furthermore, incurred a profit from it. The retailer paid the consequences for their unlawful actions to the tune of a $5 million settlement. Did American Apparel’s ROI cover this lawsuit? Something to think about when you’re considering using a famous face to sell your product and/or service without permission. For more on this story: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124265734071730621.html?mod=dist_smartbrief
5 DON’T just think it’s famous faces. Characters and cartoons from movies and TV and/or the likeness of them, usage of their names, and even the usage of an average, everyday person, are protected under the copyright law. You must acquire permission from a person(s) and/or their agency and likely pay a usage fee. In the case of using a photo of an average everyday person, it’s in your best interest to have the person(s) sign a photo consent form. Make sure your consent form is quite clear on the intent and usage. Here is a sample of what a general consent form may look like.