The legal myth that we are busting today in your small business is what a license to use an image actually entitles you to. Now, I’m not talking about free images, free images are spoken about a lot and I do not recommend you ever use a free image website because you could end up infringing copyright and it can come back to bite you. So check out my other videos if you want to know about free image websites which could end up costing you thousands. Today I’m talking about paid images and when you pay to use an image, I’m talking about on your blog, your social media, or on your PowerPoints.
You normally go into the stock image website where you often have a subscription model in which you pay a certain number of dollars and then you can choose images. Most of them let you use that image indefinitely, they call it royalty free and you don’t have to pay again. But, it is really important to check the terms because some of them do require you to renew.
The license might only last for two years, so if you’ve got it on your website and you haven’t renewed your license, you’re infringing copyright and you could be sued for copyright infringement. So make sure to see if your license has a particular term, as in how long it lasts for. The other thing to note is that most of them talk about commercial use, what they mean is that you can use the image in your day-to-day business, so on your website, on your blog ,on your fliers, those kinds of things. But, what it does not let you do is use the image as a product.
So, let me give you an example, say I have a painting and you have gotten a license to use this painting from me on the standard commercial terms. Every license is different so you do need to check, but generally, what it would say is that you can use it, so you could put it in your PowerPoint or your blogs. But if you are blogging for somebody else, so your blog is published for example, then the license does not extend to that. Whoever you are blogging for would need to buy another license from me to be able to use my image. Also, you couldn’t take my image and then put it on a T-shirt, or make it smaller and pop it on a coffee mug, and sell the T-shirt, or sell the coffee mug because then the value of the item is tied to my image. So you’re actually making money out of my image.
Generally, though these licenses say commercial use, it’s not unlimited, you’re not allowed to make money off it in that sense. If the image becomes the part of the product with value or the reason why people would buy that product then that is not allowed. So, commercial use doesn’t mean unlimited use.
It’s been great busting legal myths with you to protect your small business, so that you can lead the lifestyle that you deserve. My name is Cathryn Warburton, my clients call me the Legal Lioness, If you would like to see more legal myths in small business being busted, then you can pop onto my website legallioness.com.