Stock Photos & Why They’re Necessary For Marketing

For an industry that was once referred to as the “Wild West”, Internet Marketing has surely come a long way.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has dedicated a lot of resources to eliminate fraudulent schemes online, and has kept a watchful eye over the internet marketing industry to ensure consumers are protected as much as possible.  In the Wild West of marketing, one of the most important aspects attributed to the success of marketers and advertising agencies are the actual creatives being used to market their products/services.

For years, some groups of affiliates have scraped google for high quality images that could be used in their marketing campaigns, taking images that they do not own the rights to, and inserting them directly into their banners and other creative forms in an effort to fascinate and intrigue potential consumers to click through to the landing page.  However, doing this breaks trademark and copyright infringement laws all over the globe.  The only legal way of operating is to own the rights to any images being reused for commercial purposes.  There are several ways to go about buying the rights to stock imagery:

1) Stock Images with Royalties.  This is a fairly uncommon way of purchasing the rights to images.  Stock images with royalties means that the buyer of the rights to the image must pay a royalty each time that the image is being used.  For example, if used in a commercial, each time the commercial is aired, a royalty will be owed to the creator of the image.

2) Royalty-Free Stock Images.  This is the most common way of purchasing the rights to reuse images.  With Royalty-Free Stock Images, a user pays the creator of the image just ONE time to purchase a license to reuse their image(s).  The nature in which they can use it is dependent on the license they purchase.  Different stock photo agencies provide different licenses.  We will highlight the licenses provided by GLStock:

a) Standard License – This license grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to make use of and display the image in a website or print project. A maximum of 10,000 copies incorporating the image may be made.

b) Merchandising License – This license grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to make use of and display the image in items for resale or distribution, such as clothing, greeting cards, magnets, calendars, web templates, games and wallpapers. A maximum of 10,000 copies incorporating the image may be made.

c) Ultimate License – This license grants you both the Standard and Merchandise Licenses outlined above with no limit to the number of copies that can be made.

– So the standard license affords you the ability to use a stock image for most productions, whether it be using for a creative, website, blog post, displays, etc.  This license will cover many scenarios, and will be the most affordable.  Internet Marketers for the most part would only be required to use standard licenses for their marketing efforts.

– The merchandising license would be the ideal license if an individual or company wanted to buy the rights to an image in order to distribute or resell the image in various formats.  However, it limits to a maximum of 10,000 copies to be produced, which limits the output of a product.  For example, if a T-shirt company wanted to make 50,000 T-shirts with the image they purchased the rights to, they would not legally be able to do so under the merchandising license.

– The ultimate license would be ideal to use for mass production in almost any scenario.  With the ultimate license, you are not restricted to 10,000 copies or reproductions of the image, and additionally are afforded all of the rights that the standard and merchandising licenses both present.

As an internet marketer, you are likely self-employed and spend an incredible amount of time weeding through images and finding the perfect angles.  Don’t throw away all of your hard work an effort by using images you do not have the rights to and opening up yourself to major liability.  Use reasonably priced royalty-free stock photos now to save yourself a headache tomorrow.

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