If you are a business that uses photos as part of your marketing strategy, you may ask yourself, “Do I need to write the name next to the photo I use?” There are several ways to answer that question based on your uses.
One area that confuses online business owners, is the law associated with copyrights for photos. Most people have gone to search for images and found photos that they want to you. Some photos, however, have a watermark across them. Those watermarks are how the stock photo companies prevent copyright infringement.
Credit or not to Credit?
There are many ways to use stock photos in a business. Some people want to use the images on their website, as a form of marketing. Others want to use the photos on professionally distributed brochures or pamphlets. Still others, use the photos as the basis of their own business. How you use the stock photo will determine whether you must credit where the photo came from.
How iStockphoto do it?
If you were to go to iStockphoto.com, you would find that they have subscriptions of their photos (they also offer credit based payment). Depending upon your need, you can get a standard subscription, which is for one person, or you can look for a broader one which covers multiple users. In order to use their stock photos legally, you must purchase a subscription (or credits). This insures that the artists are getting paid for their work, and that proper credit is being given.
How Shutterstock do it?
Shutterstock.com also uses the same formatting as iStockphoto. They have a licensing agreement that you pay for once you have selected a subscription. The price that you pay will include certain rights and uses that are covered by their copyright law when you purchase.
Photo sites such as Dreamstime or Fotolia, use a credit system where you purchase a certain number of credits and those credits are used towards the downloading of the photos that you select.
No matter which system is used for stock photos, it is important to understand the legalities that go with stock photos. Because these photo sites are royalty free, this means that the photographer does not have to grant special permission for the use of his or her photos. The artists are paid through the actual subscriptions or credits that are paid.
When you purchase a membership or credits, it is important to understand that if you are using the photos in an editorial manner, such as in a blog or newsletter, you must give credit to the website and artist. This is covered on most websites as the Editorial Use clause.
If you are merely using the photos as a graphic for a brochure and printing off 200 copies, this is not necessary as it is covered under the license agreement. It is only when photos are being used in an editorial fashion, which you need to provide the pertinent information.
The basic format for such acknowledgement is [name of the website/artist name] an example would be istockphoto.com/johnhenssey. Once you have properly cited your source, you are free to carry on.