When most people think of copyright law, they immediately think about books and other pieces of writing. So you may be surprised that in 1884 the US court system determined that photographs fall under these same protections.
With digital images now available to everyone, it can be difficult to figure out which images you can use. Let’s dive into what an image license is and when you may need one to use an image.
What Is an Image License?
When an artist or a photographer creates an image, no one else can use the image without their permission. They own the copyrights to their own images.
The artist can grant permission for someone else to use their image in an allowable way. In return, they receive financial compensation for the use of the image. This permission is known as an image license.
What Is Included in an Image Licensing Agreement?
To make the agreement legal and binding, both parties sign a legal document called a licensing agreement. This agreement includes all of the contract details. Because they can be quite complex, lawyers are usually needed to draw up the agreement.
The licensing agreement identifies who is licensing the image and which image it is. It identifies how much financial compensation the owner will receive for the image’s use.
It also states what products, when, and how many the buyer can produce with the image. The agreement states where the buyer can sell these products too.
What Types of Licenses Are There?
There are a few types of licenses that you may come across. Many photos have a royalty-free incense. This allows you to purchase the image and then use it as many times as you want. You can also purchase an extended license that will allow you to use the image on products you sell.
Creative Commons licenses are quite popular as well. They allow for the free use of images as long as you meet certain conditions. Usually, this includes proper attribution to the creator.
If you wish to use certain images in a news story, an editorial use license may be useful. A rights-managed license requires the buyer to state exactly how they plan to use the image. However, you only pay for the rights you need.
When Do You Need an Image License?
If you want to use someone else’s images, most of the time you will need some sort of image license. If you see an image that you wish to use, it is always better to reach out to the owner to ask permission rather than risk dealing with expensive and time-consuming legal issues.
The owner may grant you permission and only require attribution. However, they may alternatively require a full licensing agreement. In this case, you’ll need to know the specifics of your copyright license.
An easier way to find licensed images is to use a rights-managed website. This allows you to purchase the rights to a photo that you can then use as much as you want. Going this route takes the guesswork out of what you are or are not allowed to do with the image.
Do You Have the Proper Image License?
It’s crucial that you ensure you have the proper image license before using someone else’s image to avoid any legal trouble. Be sure to consider the variety of options, and remember you can also choose to use a rights-managed website instead.
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