License to Create: Empower Your Teams with Worry-Free Images

Using properly licensed images isn’t just the safe thing to do, it’s the right thing to do.

Image source: Adobe Stock / Jacob Lund.

by Tim Bigelow

posted on 10-16-2019

We’ve probably all done it at one time or another — searched for a picture on the internet, right-clicked, copied, and pasted it into something we’re working on. It’s just so easy. But when using unlicensed images, it’s important to understand the risks involved. And learn how to manage them.

The following best practices can help you mitigate risk while giving creative teams the freedom they need to create meaningful experiences.

As new technologies emerge, our ideas of property ownership and copyright protections have had to evolve. New types of creative work and new ways to use them often leave people uncertain about what is and isn’t protected. So here are the basics you need to know.

Every image, be it a photograph, vector graphic, or illustration, could be considered intellectual property and shouldn’t be used without the owner’s permission. People and property in the image are protected, too. If the photographer didn’t get signed model or property releases, those people or property owners could have grounds to raise a claim.

Image source: Adobe Stock / ingusk.

If you are served a cease-and-desist order, you’re required to take the image down immediately. If it’s in your asset management system, there’s a chance it has been used multiple times so it could be like herding cats to reclaim all those assets. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and possibly embarrassing to your organization.

You could also face a lawsuit with monetary damages, which can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars. Sometimes you can pay the license fee instead of taking it down, but be prepared to pay much more. The logical solution is to avoid the risks in the first place. Here’s how.

2. Learn the ins and outs of using stock images

There are all kinds of sites that offer “free to use,” royalty-free, or public domain images, but most offer very little protection from the source. Nor do they ensure that the person who uploaded the photo is actually the owner. Even if you credit the photographer’s name, it doesn’t mean you’re protected. People who upload the photos can change their settings at any time.

There are also copyright trolls out there — those who upload a photo, wait until someone uses it, then take it down and sue. If that happens, you’ll have no recourse. The solution is to use a reputable stock provider.

Image source: Adobe Stock / sasel77.

When you go the proper route and pay to license a stock image, it’s important to know what your “grant of rights” is. In other words, make sure you understand the terms of the license, which details who can use the image, how many different employees can use it, how many times it can be used, where, and for how long. You have to ensure everyone who uses imagery and every image they use are covered.

3. Choose a properly vetted stock provider

In a large organization, it’s virtually impossible to manage everyone’s image use. And you can’t assume an image used without permission will never be seen. Photographers, videographers, and designers can use companies to track the use of their work.

The number one rule is to get explicit permission or use only images that are licensed from a reputable provider — regardless of whether they’re for PowerPoint presentations, printed materials, or online marketing.

Image source: Adobe Stock / Brendt-Petersen.

A properly vetted stock solution, purchased through your procurement department, will have done the due diligence for you. The peace of mind and protections you’ll get provide a strong return on your investment.

4. Consider the needs of your creative teams

Managing risk is critical for your organization. But you shouldn’t have to choose safety over breadth and quality. Look for a provider that understands the creative process, makes finding and using their images easy, and provides a comprehensive library to choose from.

Image source: Adobe Stock / zheltikov.

Adobe Stock for enterprise has you covered. It offers over 150 million high-quality photos, illustrations, videos, templates, and 3D assets with complete visibility into how your organization is using them. Plus, it has unique features like being able to access images directly from within Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Slides. And using Adobe Sensei technology, you can do a quick visual or keyword search to find just what you need, then add it into your presentation.

5. Look for comprehensive coverage

To ensure worry-free use, choose a stock provider that offers generous coverage and has a reputation for thoroughly reviewing all images for commercial use.

All Adobe Stock for enterprise content is available royalty-free, with an extended license included so your teams can use each asset with unlimited impressions and print runs. They can deliver global campaigns and ensure they are always in compliance because there are no expiration dates and no geographical, seat, or sharing restrictions.

Image source: Adobe Stock / Pierell.

What’s more, our new Creative Cloud Pro solution offers an unlimited quantity of royalty-free Adobe Stock images. Each image comes with an extended license, our most generous grant of rights, so you can have business peace of mind. This unprecedented coverage enables everyone in your organization to create content freely — and quickly — without ever looking over their shoulders again. And since the image collection is integrated into Creative Cloud workflows, what creatives need is always at their fingertips

Using properly licensed images isn’t just the safe thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. Adobe Stock for enterprise makes it easy with over 150 million assets to choose from, integration with a complete creative ecosystem, highly intelligent search tools, and some of the best licensing terms and protections in the industry.

Talk with your Adobe account manager about which Adobe Stock for enterprise plan is best for your business and creative needs.

Topics: Future of Work

Products: Stock