Sheds Light On Image Use Online

May 17, 2010

Online resource launches as survey finds image users face risks through lack of legal understanding

Seattle & London – 17 May, 2010 – A new educational resource launches today, which aims to unravel the complexities and expose the potential legal pitfalls of image use. has been set up by Getty Images, Inc. for the good of the photographic industry. The site is designed to represent image providers and has the support of BAPLA (British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies) and PACA (Picture Archive Council of America). The resource provides image users with information and advice they need to license images with confidence, by connecting them with key stakeholders from the industry.

In the digital age, a wealth of online content is now available at the click of a mouse. With the creative industries experiencing redundancies and cut-backs, which have caused tighter budgets and greater time pressures for young creative professionals, shortcuts to seemingly harmless imagery now often appear to present a tempting solution.  Getty Images has identified that there is a lack of online resources for people to get clarification and understanding on image use. With these factors in mind, it is easy to see how the knowledge gap has widened for the image buying community. launches in response to a new survey which has identified an unsurprising lack of understanding among some image users. The survey, carried out by Redshift Research on behalf of, asked more than 1,200 new and established image users in the US and the UK involved in sourcing stock imagery about their views, habits and understandings around image use.

The survey found that image users in the UK and the US are taking chances when it comes to how they source their images. More than one-third (39%) of the image users surveyed admitted to regularly exposing themselves to potential risk by using images copied directly from image search engines, and nearly one quarter (22%) said they source imagery for commercial use directly from photo-sharing websites.

Almost half of the respondents (48%) said they did not fully understand legal protection or indemnification, (the form of warranty where the image supplier agrees to bear liability and assume certain legal costs if a claim around the image arises). Almost 45% of respondents were unaware that you can still face a legal claim relating to an image you used, even if you license it. A mere 18% reported paying for legal protection when licensing an image. Even among respondents who understood that certain image licenses include legal protection, 26% said they have considered themselves at risk by sourcing an image which doesn’t include it.

The need for a one-stop online resource for information surrounding licensing issues was identified by many of the image users surveyed. was developed to act as this online resource for image users to better understand the complex issues surrounding image licensing. The resource provides a simple, user-friendly, one-stop shop for anyone wishing to learn more about licensing stock imagery for commercial use. The content featured on includes frequently asked questions, case studies, an image licensing checklist, a short educational video, a rolling feed of relevant news, informative links and a forum where users can discuss related topics.

Simon Cliffe, Executive Director from BAPLA said: “BAPLA is delighted to see this resource being made available for anyone who may wish to license and use imagery. At a time when the use of online visual content is being discussed at the highest level, with the Digital Economy Bill currently addressing this very area, we are pleased to see an accessible forum and destination for anyone looking to understand how to use imagery.”

Cathy Aron, Executive Director from PACA said: “PACA welcomes the launch of This new resource can help to fill the knowledge gap and provide a place to go for those seeking information regarding image licensing.”

Further key findings from the survey include:

  • 33% of small business decision makers think that legal protection is important when sourcing an image
  • 41% of small business decision makers think it’s important to obtain the necessary permission from the models in an image
  • 44% of small business decision makers source their images from Google Images
  • 41% of small business decision makers aren’t aware that they could face a legal claim relating to an image, even if they licensed that image from a reputable supplier
  • 27% of small business decision makers said that they do nothing consciously to ensure that the necessary permissions have been obtained from the copyright and trademark owners or models, they just license the image and assume “it’s all ok”
  • 53% of those working in the creative industries said they did not fully understand legal protection
  • 49% of those working in the creative industries obtain signed consent forms from models featured in the image
  • 86% of those working in the creative industries said that they are aware of the legal consequences of using an image without a license agreement
  • 16% of those working in the creative industries pay for legal protection when they license an image

“Getty Images set up on behalf of the stock photo industry to provide an educational resource for image buyers and a go-to place for debate, discussion, news and information for members of the photography community,” said Jonathan Klein, co-founder and chief executive officer of Getty Images. “It is our hope that will continue to evolve as we gain feedback from the industry and from image buyers and competitors.” is now live for image buyers and other key stakeholders. encourages users to provide feedback on the content and suggest ways the site can improve and evolve with the goal of becoming a valuable resource for information on image use.

– Ends –

Download the full release here: stockphotorights_release.pdf


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

stock photo May 19, 2010 at 12:32 am

interesting stats from the survey.

Runner May 22, 2010 at 3:31 pm

interesting stats from the survey.

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