Help me with what "editorial use only" means

Sep 13, 2013

I'm not clear on the boundary of "editorial use only." I'm building an elearning course that's being distributed to an external client that will then sell it "a la carte" to participants. I'm guessing that means editorial photos would be a no no and that anything we use in the course would need to have a full commercial license? Can anyone help clarify? (The problem is that the images we've found that we really want to use are editorial only. Gah!)

4 Replies
Nancy Woinoski

Hi Laura, the iStock site has a pretty clear definition of what you can do with "editorial use only" photos.  Here is a link:

Here is the key point for your purposes "As stated above, you cannot use an editorial image for any advertising, marketing or promotional material, nor can you use them for any “advertorial” purposes (i.e., using them in sections or supplements for which you receive pay or a fee)."

Nancy Woinoski

Laura Payette said:

Thanks, Nancy. This was really helpful. The description on the Shutterstock site wasn't nearly as definitive. 

Looks like we have to go back to the drawing board, as some of the images we need are unavailable in commercial form (at least through our regular stock photo access). Drat!

No problem. You also asked about having to purchase the full commercial licences (istock calls this an extended licence) for the non-editorial images. I didn't answer this one because it is not entirely clear to me whether you do or not. I think it depends on the number of courses you are going to sell and on how the course are distributed. I'd recommend checking out the extended licence agreement on istock for this as well to see if  it brings any clarity.

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