Good Monday morning to you!  Let’s talk licensing today.  As I’ve discussed before, when you go to a stock photo agency and make a purchase, what you are really doing is buying a set of rights to use the image you’re interested in.  The image data is part of the package, sure, but the rights you purchase are what let you use the content without getting into trouble with the copyright holder.  So make sure you are purchasing the rights you need, some of which may come in an extended license at many stock image sites, including Stocksy United.

The “Regular” License
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The intent of most stock photo selling sites, with the “regular license” or standard license, is to provide the buyer with content that they can use in promotional or editorial ways.  This tends to be the basic “royalty free”, pay once, enjoy perpetual usage, license.  The standard license terms will cover things like where the buyer can and can’t use the image, how often they can use the image, who can use the image, etc.  For instance, at Stocksy, the terms of the content license agreement can be found here: http://www.stocksy.com/legal?id=8 Section 2, the “Grant of Sublicense” is the fun part, because this is where all the permitted and excluded uses of the licensed content are listed.  The buyer can use the content for:

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advertising, editorial and promotional projects, including hard copy printed materials, product packaging, presentations, advertising, editorial and promotional purpose film and video presentations, commercials, catalogues, brochures, promotional greeting cards and promotional postcards (i.e. not for resale, license or other distribution) up to 250,000 copies

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This allows the buyer a variety of uses, which are pretty clear, up to 250,000 prints.  For example, a real estate agency could use content to design a postcard which gets sent to 10,000 people.  An aerospace business could make a presentation on 5000 cds which it hands out at trade shows.  A pet store creates an advertisement that is published in the local paper that has a circulation of 130,000.  That same paper can use an image to accompany an article once, but another usage with another article would surpass the 250,000 print limit.  A buyer could use an image on the front of their personal wedding invitations.  A teacher could use an image on a printed handout for class.  The buyer is also allowed:

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an unlimited number of impressions for the purpose of on-line, electronic, and mobile publications and mobile applications, including web pages and advertising, promotional and editorial projects, to a maximum of 800 x 600 pixels for image or illustration Content and 800×600 pixels for video content (regardless of the resolution of the Content available for downloading from the Site) (unlimited copies)

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The content is allowed to be used electronically for an unlimited number of impressions, up to 800×600 pixels.  An example might be an editorial usage accompanying a news story on a web portal.  A boat store uses content as a background for a header image on their web page.  A student uses content as part of a video which is uploaded to a video distribution site.  A news article on a paid subscription news site would be acceptable.

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So, if a use isn’t mentioned above, it isn’t allowed, unless it is included in an optional extended license.

The “Extended” License
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The Extended license does what it says.  It extends the rights that the buyer has with various options.  It is easy to purchase an extended license at Stocksy.  You can see the interface in this image:

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Currently, there are three extended licenses available online, plus a fourth that is available through support.

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The “Unlimited Print” extended license allows the buyer … unlimited prints.  This replaces the 250,000 impression restriction.  The buyer is still limited to the uses in the basic license.  For example, an advertisement using content is run in a national paper with a circulation of 450k would require an extended license.  The same ad run for 5 days by a local paper with a circulation of 90,000 (a cumulative amount of 450,000 prints) would also need an extended license.  A national cell phone company could create a promotional mail-out to its 1.2 million customers.

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There are two resale extended licenses.

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The “Products for Resale” license allows the content to be used on physical items for resale in a modified or derivative form.  Meaning it needs to be incorporated into a larger design, have text superimposed, etc.  For example, a buyer could use the content on a line of funny animal coffee mug sets with humorous sayings overlaid.  The content could be used on one of a set of greeting cards that are sold in a gift shop with inspirational sayings.  Content could be used in a “landscapes of the United States” calendar that is sold at mall kiosks.  The implication is that the buyer needs to add some additional value or creativity to the content before offering it for sale.  This extended license implicitly includes permission to use the modified content in a print-on-demand item site.

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The second is for “Electronic Products for Resale”.  A buyer could include an image in a website template for resale.  The content could be used in a collection of screensavers that is sold online.

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Stocksy also offers the “Market Freeze” license, which is not available online at this time.  This extended license will remove a piece of content from sale on Stocksy for a period of 1, 2 or 3 years after the purchase of the license.  This will essentially stop any further sales of the content.  A buyer concerned that a competitor might try to license the same content would find this useful.  This does not preclude that the content might have been licensed previously to another buyer, on or off Stocksy, and does not guarantee image exclusivity.  If you are interested in this license, contact the support team.

Social Consciousness
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If you are the type who likes to “do the right thing”, or a person who considers the artist/contributor as part of the purchasing process, you’ll be happy to know that the entire extended license fee is paid to the creator of the work.  At every other agency I know, the company takes their normal (which could be up to 85%!) cut of the extended license fee, just like a regular standard license purchase.  This, even though the agency does zero extra work in the process of granting the extended license.  Stocksy was created with the intent of making a site that is “sustainable” for the content creators, so they can continue to spend their time planning and executing amazing photo creations.  It’s a idea to support and get behind, especially if you’ve ever felt you’ve been taken advantage of by “the man”.

Any questions, leave a comment.  Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to use code SLOCKE2013 to get 20% off of your licensing needs!

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