Question about Image Licensing

Dec 29, 2011

This may be a silly question, but I am a little overwhelmed at what I think is contradictory information out on the net (gee...not surprising).

So, If I am a developer for a company (which I am)...and I buy a subscription for images somewhere from a "royalty free" site (like shutterstock or istockphoto or somewhere similiar), can I reuse the image I bought through the subscription in more than one project or do I have to buy it again if I reuse the image in more than one course? I have read on most of their contracts that it cannot be housed on a problem, they are in My Pictures on my computer, but the rest I am not sure of.

Secondly, If I decide to branch out on my own one day and design ecourses for then do I use those images since I am now "selling" the design which would include images I purchased from a stock site. How do you bundle your "design" to a client with images? Do you add the cost of the images into the cost of the course if you have to buy special licensing for that image?

Sorry if this is a newbie question, but I am a rule follower (been in HR for 15 years), so I want to make sure I don't "break the rules" so to speak.



29 Replies
Tino Martin

Thanks everyone, esp. Phil.  But, I would like to comment on this statement; "The simplest solution is to contact the site and explain your situation they will let you know if you can use the images and resell your product or if you need another type of license" which is reiterated by others..

I don't really find that acceptable.  As a lifelong matter of principle and policy,  I insist on finding  the actual citation of the terms.  I have been through a number of legal tussles and avoid the "he said, she said" , game.  If I can not cite a citation or reference that is defensible, then I do not take the position.  The suggestion to ask if this is sufficient or adequate harkens the prudence of taking the appliance salesman's suggestion of extended insurance.  The default position by the provider of a service is to load you up, whether needed or not. Standard or Extended License?

Please do not take me as argumentative on this.   I am projecting a number of similar assignments and the fact finding mission of this effort will form the basis of my policy.  I generally deal very closely with a client/employer  and the trust placed in me is implicit of our arrangement,  essentially they are indemnified by me being the expert and having had  presented myself as one. 

Phil Mayor

I am not a lawyer, I did not study law and would not be prepared to stake my company on me misreading a legal statement.

I have on occassion contacted iStock and fotolia about image rights, iStock would like you to use the extended license, Fotolia's standard license was sufficient.  I have an email from both that states this.  In a court of Law I am sure this email would be sufficient protection.

I am an elearning developer and instructional designer, but I cannot be an expert on everything else the client needs, at this point I look for external help.

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