Publishers of technology books, eBooks, and videos for creative people

Home > Articles > Design > Adobe Photoshop

📄 Contents

  1. Finding the Right Shots
  2. Licensing and Restrictions
  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Licensing and Restrictions

Misconceptions abound about using stock images in derivative works. Since compositing is often about creating derivative artwork (see the sidebar "Derivative Works and the Internet"), it's appropriate to spend some time on this subject. The laws can be tough to interpret, so again, we strongly recommend you consult a qualified attorney who specializes in copyright law before making any decisions that you are not 100 percent sure about. This is particularly true if you intend to sell or distribute your composite images.

Works of art typically fall under the category of "intellectual property," and the copyright laws governing this property can vary from country to country. The United States agreed in 1989 to become part of the international union of countries that recognize and support the copyright stipulations of the Berne Convention. This convention states (generally) that there is an implied copyright to works of art from the moment of inception, regardless of whether a copyright notice appears on the work or in conjunction with it.

Digital photographs are no different. The copyright exists and is legally recognized from the moment the image is captured in your camera. To help move this process forward, some manufacturers, such as Nikon and Canon, are building cameras that have the option of imprinting a copyright directly onto your digital files from the moment they are recorded. This is done with the help of a metadata technology called Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) data.

A technology known as Extensible Metadata Platform (XMP) was designed by Adobe for use in a range of creative applications, and also works with EXIF data. It is built into products like Bridge and Photoshop CS4, as well as some third-party products. For example, using Photoshop's File Information panel (choose File > File Info), you can gain access to the full range of your image's EXIF data and other metadata (Figure 4.3).

Figure 4.3

Figure 4.3 Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) data dialog box

Copy control. Moreover, the copyright holder has quite a bit of control in how their images may be used. With respect to stock agencies, this control is manifested as licenses for acceptable use. These licenses vary from source to source, so it is important to understand the licensing language for a given agency before you download and use its images. This is particularly true of images intended for commercial use.

The general idea of licensing is that you pay a consideration or fee to the copyright holder for some use to which you both agree. A consideration may be monetary, or it may simply be a credit or citation that is visible on your work. Use can be limited by date, number of reproductions in a given medium, or even publication type. In some cases, a license may also restrict the context for an image or derivative work. For the most part, stock images are licensed so that they can be used for numerous purposes and by many individuals.

The bottom line. Within a given stock agency website, licenses can vary from collection to collection and even from image to image within a specific collection. For every image you plan to use, review the associated licensing and terms of use carefully; make note of any restrictions. Remember—paying for a license is not the same as owning an image! You are purchasing the right to use the image in specific ways, without any claim of ownership and without holding the actual copyright.

The copyright holder, which may be the photographer or the agency itself, ultimately controls all usage rights until the image becomes part of the public domain (discussed later in this chapter) or until the copyright is sold to another individual or entity.

Payment methods. There are two common payment models for photography: per-use and general licensing. Under per-use models, the price for an image is based on how it will be used, which typically relates to how many people are expected to see it. For low-volume locations or appearances, say a small town's local paper or a website that has little traffic, this can be an attractive option.

A common variation on the per-use model is to pay royalties. This is an ongoing consideration paid every time an image is used after the initial appearance.

For example, when a photographer sells an image to a magazine, the magazine's circulation (which provides an estimate of the number of times the photo will be reproduced), along with other important facts such as whether the image will be used on the cover or in an advertisement, is used to determine the pricing for the image. In the case of a cover image or feature article image that will appear only one time, in one issue, usually a fixed fee is requested, because a close approximation of the number of reproductions is known in advance.

However, things become fuzzier when an image is to be used for an advertisement, because it is not always clear from the outset how many times (that is, in how many issues or places within an issue) that image will be used. This is a case where royalty payments can ensure both that the publisher doesn't pay for more than it needs and that the photographer is compensated for every usage in the magazine on an ongoing basis. Typically royalty payments are sent to the photographer once a month or once a quarter, based on the image's usage level during that time period.

The general licensing model is considered a one-time pay model. It is usually promoted as royalty-free. Royalty-free does not mean an image is free for use, though. Instead, it implies that once a fee is paid for an image, use of that image is unrestricted within the limits of the license. In practice, this relates to the number of times the image appears in the context of a given work or project. Additional projects usually require additional licenses. Paying once for an image does not automatically mean it can be used over and over in different works.

A third payment method that is used by some of the more popular agencies like iStock is the subscription model. Instead of paying per image, you can purchase a specified number of credits (sometimes called points) per day for use over a specified period (usually 3, 6, or 12 months). For example, you could purchase a subscription that would allow you to use up to 30 credits per day, for 3 months, at a cost of roughly $900. Most images of medium or high resolution typically cost between 5 and 15 credits each, so that gives you an idea of how many images that $900 would buy you.

Many subscription-based sites also let you pay for a specified number of pay-as-you-go credits. If it makes sense for you, you can purchase 30 credits (to be used at any time during the course of 12 months) for roughly $40, depending on the stock provider and any incentive programs it may have. Figure 4.4 shows a simple example.

Figure 4.4

Figure 4.4 Pay-as-you-go models are often a cost-effective way of purchasing stock images over time.

It's important to remember that licensing also comes into play with respect to subscription pricing. Unlimited licenses typically require you to pay the equivalent of an extra 50 to 100 credits per image. So, carefully consider your intended distribution and uses when purchasing subscriptions, and evaluate how many images you are likely to need for your upcoming project(s). Typically it's wisest to pay as you go unless you are working on a large number of compositing and media projects that require large numbers of stock images.

Free Sites and Fair Use

In recent years, a variety of free licensing options have become available, giving artists more latitude in choosing how their images are used by others.

Creative Commons. One very popular version is framed by the nonprofit organization Creative Commons. The Creative Commons organization has structured several licenses to allow for a variety of uses and is quite a boon to popular photo-sharing sites and their contributors. The Yahoo-owned Flickr.com, for example, allows photographers to choose from several licenses for distribution and protection of their images, thus giving buyers more options as well.

As with for-pay models, free images can be rights-restricted by the copyright holder. Effectively, this means you still have to pay attention to the allowable uses for any images you purchase, regardless of the payment model being used.

Fair usage. Fair use can be a complex subject, and it has been the focus of many ongoing debates. Fair use revolves around the presumed right to use "found" images or works and create derivative works without paying the copyright holder. According to U.S. copyright law, fair use is restricted to using portions of a work ". . . for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, and scholarly reports." That quotation itself, for example, is considered fair use and comes from the U.S. Copyright Office website FAQ at www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-fairuse.html.

There are many interpretations of fair use, but we recommend that you avoid using images under these circumstances, if possible. When in doubt as to what constitutes fair use for a given image, talk to the copyright holders and find out. Don't make assumptions that you will be legally covered, even if you've seen a comparable image and concept used by another artist.

Public domain. Another alternative for acquiring content is to use images that are known to be in the public domain. According to the U.S. Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, only works produced and published prior to January 1, 1923, and that have not had the owner's copyright legally extended, are considered public domain. The copyright holder may also choose to move a work into the public domain before the copyright expires, though this is somewhat uncommon.

Many old movies, as well as "public service" videos from organizations like NASA, also fall into the category of public domain (Figure 4.5). This means you can grab an individual frame from a public domain movie, and use it as part of your composite, the same as if it were a still.

Figure 4.5

Figure 4.5 NASA provides most of its images and movies as part of the public domain, and requires only an acknowledgment of origin in most cases. Here a frame was pulled from a high-definition Hubble Space Telescope video.

Distinct from free-use licenses like those provided by Creative Commons, public domain images carry no restriction on use or reproduction and may be used across many mediums by all individuals who care to use them. There is no longer a copyright holder for these images, so use is truly unlimited. Here again, we recommend you not make assumptions about works that you believe may be in the public domain. Find out for sure whether the image you are considering is in the public domain before repurposing it for composite imagery or other uses.

Free stock? Many websites claim to offer stock images for free and with no usage restrictions. Although these may sound like a great alternative, the quality of work is generally not as high and the selection is not as good as with for-pay stock sites. However, they can be useful when testing new ideas or when you need a placeholder image. Another drawback to free sites is that they may not have robust keyword capabilities; in addition, they may not be accurately representing the copyright or terms of use of some of the images on their sites.

As with other situations in life, if a free stock site offers something that seems too good to be true, it probably is. When in doubt, go with a reputable stock agency so that you can be certain of the terms and who holds the copyright.

Types of Images Available

As noted earlier, many stock sites offer illustrations and computer-generated graphics in addition to photography, and several have high-resolution clips or stills from movies. The creative possibilities are virtually endless. For example, you can pull a single frame from a movie released in the early 1920s and build a modern scene around an historical character or famous actor.

Illustrations may also have a place in your repertoire; you can use them as guides for layout, as concept sketches, or even as art within your composite. Also, quite a number of 3D models are available that you can use as foundations for your composite imaging projects. With the new 3D capabilities in Photoshop CS4 Extended, not only can you match the lighting and color of your 2D scene and 3D model, but you can even paint directly onto the model! We'll cover 3D techniques in more detail in Chapter 9, "Creating 3D Content."

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

Peachpit Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from Peachpit and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about Peachpit products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites; develop new products and services; conduct educational research; and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email ask@peachpit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by Adobe Press. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.peachpit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020