Can I Sell Graphics That Have Stock Photos in Them?

16 replies
I'm creating a graphics package and I'd like to use some stock photos of people in a few of the modules.

My question is, can I get in trouble if they're used in something I'm selling?

I've built up a library of a bunch of stock photos I've purchased over the years, so I own them all. Unfortunately, they're all from different sites and I don't know what the license agreements are for each one.

Anyone know a general rule of thumb for this?
#graphics #photos #sell #stock
  • Profile picture of the author spearce000
    Yes, you can get in big trouble. It all depends on the T&Cs that came with the original photo. You never actually "own" a stock photo, just the right to use it. How you're allowed to use it will vary from library to library.

    General rule of thumb: When in doubt, leave it out!
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  • Profile picture of the author Danny Cutts
    Images are the main things that have got me in the most trouble over the years... you can reverse check an image... I just can't remember the name of the site... at least that way you have a chance of seeing who you owe money to :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Janice Sperry
      Originally Posted by Danny Cutts View Post

      Images are the main things that have got me in the most trouble over the years... you can reverse check an image... I just can't remember the name of the site... at least that way you have a chance of seeing who you owe money to :-)
      Directions for a reverse image search.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gene Pimentel
    It's VERY clear - images you get from stock image sites are for your personal use only. You cannot sell or distribute them to other people unless you have purchased a license from the copyright owner to do so.

    There is a second issue. Any image containing a person or recognizable landmark will need a specific model release allowing you to use it at all. Reputable stock image sites have model releases on file, and extend that to you as a customer. That does not include the right to distribute to a third party.
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  • Profile picture of the author Silentkiller1
    You cannot sell them. It is a big risk , unless you have the permission of the owner.
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  • Profile picture of the author KenW3
    Originally Posted by Jennifer Hutson

    I've built up a library of a bunch of stock photos I've purchased over the years, so I own them all.
    You don't own them. If you purchased them from the larger stock photo sites, you bought the rights to use them, not to claim them as your personal copyrighted work that you can then resell. (There are photo sites that sell exclusive use, but even those cannot be resold.)

    Originally Posted by Danny Cutts

    you can reverse check an image... I just can't remember the name of the site
    TinEye.com

    Originally Posted by Danny Cutts

    Images are the main things that have got me in the most trouble over the years
    They were so much of a hassle that I eventually started keeping a spreadsheet of source information. To avoid problems, I started rescanning most to remove the header info (instead of rewriting headers), then used a different name.

    Originally Posted by Janice Sperry

    Directions for a reverse image search.
    Janice, Thanks for the Google link. I'm looking forward to testing it.
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  • Unfortunately, they're all from different sites and I don't know what the license agreements are for each one.
    Here is where the bulk of problems begin for most marketers, artists, etc, whether it be images, music or other licensed product for re-use. As you know, license agreements exists for the purpose of informing you of what you can and can't do with a specific file.

    Surprisingly, even the most experienced marketers have messed up, and continue to do so, by re-using an image in a way that a license does not allow.

    Some of the common issues can be:

    1. Not crediting the website, original creator/photographer appropriately according to the license

    2. Using the image in a product that ends up selling more than x amount of copies, (where x is the maximum clearly stated in the terms)

    3. Using the image for any other purpose that the license does not allow.
    (your "Graphics package" may or may not be part of that, as such a product is sometimes considered to be a "template", of which most standard licenses do not allow the images to be used for.


    Only you will be able to research and answer your own question of: "can I get in trouble if they're used in something I'm selling?".

    The best thing to do, is to always keep your licenses handy, or at the least know where you purchased each and every image from. It's not to late to start making this a habit right now.

    Start thinking and acting like a professional graphics artist who intends to have their products go BIG, and not like some marketers who take chances, banking on the assumption that their products won't make enough noise worldwide for anyone (who may sue) to notice.

    What would be the point of trying to be in business then?
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  • Profile picture of the author pluto1
    As far as I know, you are not allowed to sell the images you purchased. That's a big no no. I have seen lot of people getting in trouble because of image issue, let alone selling them.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jennifer Hutson
    I think my question got misunderstood. I'm not trying to resell the images themselves.

    99% of this package is pure graphics. But I wanted to blend in portions of people over some of the elements, say in a Facebook cover graphic. Definitely not trying to resell them by themselves.

    I can do the whole thing without using any photos, I just thought a cutout of a happy couple on one of the dating niche graphics might make it look a little better. I will most likely not end up using them since I can't find the licenses.

    I figured it might be allowed, since I've seen other graphic artists who have sold a lot of WSOs use elements like this in their modules.
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    • Originally Posted by Jennifer Hutson View Post

      99% of this package is pure graphics. But I wanted to blend in portions of people over some of the elements, say in a Facebook cover graphic. Definitely not trying to resell them by themselves.

      I can do the whole thing without using any photos, I just thought a cutout of a happy couple on one of the dating niche graphics might make it look a little better.
      Well, if you are planning to design fb covers and sell them as a part of a bundle, then you are reselling. Most licenses say that you are not allowed to re-distribute the images in work ' where the final user is charged for' so, it is not allowed to sell pre-made graphics like Fb covers, Twitter backgrounds and Youtube channel art if they contain stock images or part of them and you have not bought a reselling license.
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    • Profile picture of the author kilgore
      Not to be completely unhelpful, but you're probably better off picking up the phone and giving one or two (or all) of your stock photo suppliers a call rather than relying on the general "wisdom" of the WF or just copying the standard practices used in WSOs.

      Your use sounds like a gray area to me and in a situation like that it's always best to ask people who really know instead of people who just think they do.
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  • Most of the site give you the photo for use only. In this case you are not eligible to resell them (according to the terms & conditions.) some sites, may not the same terms & conditions. If you resell them, it may a SPAM way.
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Perhaps with an extended license, but those are super expensive. I have found places that sell photos I can use in templates, but these cost a boat load of money. Not sure you want to spend that much green. Best strategy is to get a person on FIVERR who can create some. Typically, they will charge more for commercial use.
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  • Profile picture of the author KenW3
    Originally Posted by Jennifer Hutson

    I think my question got misunderstood. I'm not trying to resell the images themselves.
    The quote in your signature line, from The Princess Bride movie, has relevance here

    Originally Posted by Jennifer Hutson

    "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." - Inigo Montoya
    as a very verbose way to describe Semantics. This branch of linguistics is of consequence because your clarification is also ambiguous

    You seem to be defining the word 'graphics' as something separate and distinct from 'images', and 'photos' as different from the other two. All three words are synonyms to each other, so this may be a partial source of confusion for some of the replies you've received.

    If you are defining the word graphics as meaning you're doing Compositing, you may be better off using known public domain material for the source elements.
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  • Profile picture of the author bostjan33
    Banned
    No way, you'll get sued in no time.
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  • Usually if you pay for an image you can use it..

    For anything on your websites, however..

    Not on logos, or anything you want to copyright (Like book covers)


    However, the safest bet is to check the licenses, or pick different images.
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