What constitutes personal use of an image?

My boss has asked me to find some images for an internal presentation. Do I still need to pay for them?

Yes, in most circumstances. You will still need to pay for the image and license it for commercial use. There are various sources of free images and clip art that you can use, but these images must normally still be accompanied by a license or permission from the copyright holde

What’s the difference between “personal use” and “commercial use”?

Personal use may be commonly defined as use that is not for commercial gain. Examples of personal use (or non-commercial use) might include social newsletters or wedding announcements. Commercial use may be commonly defined as use that is intended for commercial, promotional, endorsement, advertising or merchandising purposes. Examples of commercial use could include a branded company website, brochure, advert, presentation or product.

Do you need a different kind of license for commercial and non-commercial use?

It depends on the imagery provider. Different types of licenses may be available for commercial and non-commercial use.

Do I need to buy images for personal use, or can I use them for free?

You will need to acquire a license for personal use and for commercial use. There are various sources of free stock images and free clip art that you can use, but these free images must still be accompanied by a license unless the use is specifically permitted by copyright law.

I’m a business owner, but I also have a personal blog, through which I get a number of referrals. Would this blog still constitute personal use?

As long as your blog is for personal use only and does not have any commercial purpose (i.e. ad revenue or promotion of commercial operations) it could be considered personal use, as the site is not designed for the purposes of monetary reward. Images used must still be properly licensed though.

I set up a group on Facebook for my business, does this constitute personal use?

This could be considered commercial use, as the Facebook Group is designed for the purposes of promoting your business. Additionally, note that Facebook has a section on ’Protecting Other People’s Rights’ within its terms (www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf) which provides some further guidance for users of its website.

Supported by Stockphotorights:

Licensing stock images can be a complicated business. Whether you need an image for an advertising campaign, a company presentation or for your personal blog, you should know the legal ins and outs before you agree to license it. Stockphotorights.com is a helpful resource for information on image licensing. It aims to unravel the complexities, expose the pitfalls and provide image buyers with the knowledge they need to license an image with confidence. This site is not, however, a substitute for advice from your own legal counsel.

Stockphotorights.com has been set up by Getty Images for the benefit of the photographic industry and its customers, with the support of BAPLA (British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies) and PACA (Picture Archive Council of America).

Marco | Editor

Editor at large and founder of a bunch of stockphoto businesses