Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stock Photos and Copyright

When you get a stock photo, how can you legally use it?

Well the rules are slightly different with different stock photo sites but the basic rules are the same.

Stock photos can be used for book covers and e-book covers with the standard license (on most sites). This means you can use the book on your book cover as an e-book, print book and as a book cover on your website.

BUT for each project you use the stock photo in, you must buy another standard license. The standard license is under ten bucks so you'll be fine on that. Most are only 2 bucks or less.

This means you use the picture as a book cover, one license.
You use the picture without the book cover title/author name as a picture of the character on your website, you must buy a second 3 dollar license.

Cool---that's not a problem, right?

Here is the fine print.

The Standard License does not cover merchandizing. Huh, you say? You create this great book cover and have self-published the book. That's fine. All in the standard license.

But then you decide to print canvas bags or mouse pads with your book cover on it, DING, DING, DING...that is merchandizing. You now need an extended license.

With the book, you are selling your content and using the stock photo as packaging.
When you sell the image on a bag or mousepad, you are selling the image--so the license costs more.

Extended licenses start at $99.00.

A standard license gives non-exclusive rights to use the photo for your book cover. It does not give you the rights to use it for multiple projects or to merchandize it.

Makes sense?

Read the license on your stock photo site so you don't end up with a problem later.

UPDATE: I spoke with LIZ at BigStockPhoto on 10/17/2011 at 2:56pm EST and she stated through CHAT that giveaway items with the book cover are acceptable under standard licensing. Sold items are not (this is about merchandizing items only). Other stock sites you should check on your own.


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