We are always looking for great content – from images, vectors, audio clips and even footage! If you love taking photos or designing quirky icons, why not upload them on the 123RF library (registration is free!) and possibly get monetary benefits? Register here: Be A 123RF Contributor
Read Part 1 (Concept & Idea) and Part 2 (Quality) of this 3-part series!
PART 3: LEGAL
We constantly try our very best to keep troubles away from you and our clients. Yet, it is also part of your responsibility to ensure all your uploaded content are safe. You would probably want to spare some time to do some research.
For more about copyright information, you’re in luck! We have prepared a whole Ebook on this topic alone and it’s free to download!
Use Stock Content Legally! Here’s a copyright guide to get you started
1. Logo, Symbol And Trademark
Wish to submit your image under the royalty-free platform? Make sure your image is clean and free from any visible logo or trademark.
Some of the common and generic logo or symbol that are not suitable to be sold as royalty-free content:
2. Patented Products Designs
Even without visible logo, we can’t accept these products because they’re universally identifiable.
3. Decorative Pattern
Watch out for these patterns as well as they are subjected to copyright pattern trademark.
4. Flag & Emblem
Most country flags are acceptable as royalty-free content except for Canada, Singapore and Panama.
Other than that, all flags that belong to any organization are not suitable for commercial use as well. Such examples are ASEAN and NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
When it comes to emblems and political symbols, they are copyrighted as well.
5. Identifiable information
ID numbers, registration numbers, phone numbers, codes, watermark or any other details may relate to a person or company and must be removed from your images.
6. Buildings and Landmarks
All images of a single building requires a written authorization from the building owner. Therefore, a property release needs to be attached together with the image if you wish to submit your photo on the royalty free platform. Here are some of the example images of famous landmarks around the world that are not suitable for commercial use.
There is an exception for images of building without any releases. If the building is not the main subject of the image.
Example like this image below:
Image does not show that The Gherkin in London as the main subject so it is suitable for royalty-free content.
In this case, the image shows that The Gherkin in London is in the middle and part of the main subject.
If the building or landmark is the primary focus of the image, a valid property release from the property owner must accompany the image if you wish to sell it for commercial use.
Most religious places like churches, mosques and temples are acceptable for RF only if the image are from the exterior. For interior, a property release must be included with the photo if you wish to upload in under the royalty-free platform.
Kinkaku-ji temple in Kyoto, Japan La Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona
Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi
Do take note that some religious buildings and landmarks are subjected to copyright issue. Here are some examples of famous religious landmarks that cannot be used for commercial purposes; neither from the exterior nor interior.
7. Property release
A shot of a building’s interior or exterior such as a single house or industrial plant (private property) needs an accompanying release. Yes, even if that house is your own property.
The need of a release is important for the image to be sold for commercial usage. A property release is not limited only to buildings but anything identifiable that belongs to an owner/creator such as a painting inside a house or any unique furniture.
The release must be signed by the property owner.
There are also exceptions for Interior and Exterior images such as:
When the building is not the main subject in the image; the building is not identifiable either by their design or by their owner; shot from a certain angle like skyline; or the building is a public property.
Other than buildings, there is also other properties that require a release such as drawings, paintings, blueprints, or any type of artwork.
Digital illustration and abstract background does not required property release.
8. Model Release
Is the model in your image recognizable? If yes, then you will need to submit a model release.
These images require model releases because the model’s features are recognizable. Although the faces are not fully shown and certain parts are covered, a model release is still required.
Here are some samples:
On the other hand, a model release is not necessary for close up shots of the face or silhouettes whereby the model is not recognizable.
Model With Tattoo
Most tattoo designs are artwork created by tattoo artists. Therefore, an image of a model or recognizable body part with tattoo requires both a model release (for the model) and also a property release (for the artwork).
A property release is only needed for an image that displays the tattoo as the primary subject.