Using modified stock photos on Facebook page

5 replies
Creating an artistic image based on one or more stock photos, slapping some inspirational text on it and posting it as content for the Facebook clients I do social media marketing for--does this sound like an illegal use of stock photos?

I asked the stock photo agency (one of the bigger ones) if I could use editorial-only images for this purpose (as my resulting compositions have no branding try to sell something, just create community).

To my surprise they said I couldn't use ANY stock photos (i.e. even non-editorials) for this purpose, and listed their prohibitions.

None of those prohibitions applied so I asked them to point out which one I would be in breach of and they have not responded.

Anyone got any general insight here?
#facebook #modified #page #photos #stock
  • Profile picture of the author cajtrixie
    Hi Shimony!

    Firstly, as both an outsourcing manager and an artist, I can tell you that that is a fully legal use of stock photos IF you have purchased the right license for the photo.

    Generally you would need a commercial license if you are going to be giving it to clients, and I don't think that most editorial licenses are commercial unless you're in the newspaper business.

    It depends on the stock photo site and their definitions of the license, but a lot of time and editorial use image is an image of a person (or multiple people) which was taken in public, without that person (or those people) having given permission for that image to be shared.

    For example, if you took a picture at a concert, or on the street, there would be a lot of people in the picture, and chances are good that most of them wouldn't have any idea that the picture was taken, so they most likely would not have had the opportunity to give permission to let it be sold.

    Because of this, these images cannot be used in normal forms of advertising. However, that being said, every website has its own definition, and a lot of their licenses say that usage is at their discretion, so if that particular website said that you couldn't use it for that purpose, you can't, just because they say so.

    You are much better off just looking for a standard commercial license... at a different stock photo place.


    Also, don't use Getty Images or any site owned by them (if possible). Those people are scary and come down HARD if they even THINK that you're using something inappropriately (or so I've heard). There is no room for discussion with them, and since coming down on people for false usage is how they make their money, it's best to avoid them (and the stock art sites that they've purchased) if possible. ^_^
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  • Profile picture of the author shimony
    Hi cajtrixie, thank you for such a thoughtful response.

    What you say about Getty images is helping confirm what I'm feeling--that everything is left intentionally
    vague. Hence no response when I asked specifically which clause in the terms prohibited my use.

    Even editorial images--I'm not quite sure how spicing up a newspaper article is not commercial given a newspaper's purpose is to make money (oh, and influence).

    I can live without the editorial images as I could be pushing the boundaries there, but standard stock photos I had no doubt over and is why I signed up a for a yearly plan. I'll give them a few more days and ask again, indicating I'll have to do a chargeback find an alternate supplier if they can't let me know specifically which clause I'd breaching.

    And I'll take your advice and avoid Getty as such a style of business makes me sick.
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    • Profile picture of the author cajtrixie
      Originally Posted by shimony View Post

      Even editorial images--I'm not quite sure how spicing up a newspaper article is not commercial given a newspaper's purpose is to make money (oh, and influence).
      Yeah, you've got me on that one. I can't really explain it either, except to say that maybe it's because the image isn't the main focus of the product? 0.o

      Either way, I'm just glad if I could help a little. It sounds like you had everything covered to begin with, though. XD lol

      It's actually pretty rare to find someone who is familiar with copyright for stock photography/images. If I may ask, what do you do for a living? If I remember correctly, I think you mentioned Facebook marketing...
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      • Profile picture of the author shimony
        Originally Posted by cajtrixie View Post

        Yeah, you've got me on that one. I can't really explain it either, except to say that maybe it's because the image isn't the main focus of the product? 0.o

        Either way, I'm just glad if I could help a little. It sounds like you had everything covered to begin with, though. XD lol

        It's actually pretty rare to find someone who is familiar with copyright for stock photography/images. If I may ask, what do you do for a living? If I remember correctly, I think you mentioned Facebook marketing...
        Software Engineer by profession. I've been developing an automated content delivery platform and am personally trialling it and tweaking on an industry I know well, until I'm happy that I can make a substantial difference to that industry.

        Because it posts on behalf of clients, I really need to make sure I've got the licensing sorted out.

        I sent an email to Getty asking them, but no response.

        Nor did Deposit Photos respond to the email I asked which prohibition would I be breaching.

        All I can do is try sending more emails, or go take my own photos.
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        • Profile picture of the author cajtrixie
          Originally Posted by shimony View Post

          Software Engineer by profession. I've been developing an automated content delivery platform and am personally trialling it and tweaking on an industry I know well, until I'm happy that I can make a substantial difference to that industry....
          Very cool! It's great that you can build, test, and tweak all on your own. That certainly must make things a bit easier.

          Originally Posted by shimony View Post

          All I can do is try sending more emails, or go take my own photos.
          Well, there are other options. There are lots of free stock art places where you can, on occasion, find some nice stuff. Tumblr has some things that have commercial copyrights... have you tried The Leading Source Of Free Stock Photos - stock.xchng ?

          You can also watch places like Mighty Deals, Inky Deals, and My Design Deals. They post a wide variety of stock art deals every now and again, and they tend to be MUCH cheaper than normal stock art places. Just make sure to check the license before you buy, because sometimes they don't post it in the copy.

          Actually, come to think of it, I think that one of them had a bulk discount for istock, last I looked. 0.o

          Anyway, I built my entire collection off of those 3 sites alone, so you should definitely check them out!

          I hope that helps! ^_^
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