Should You Purchase Images for Commercial Use for your Social Media?

Having the right stock photos on your social media page can make or break your social presence. But, are you violating any copyright laws when you use them on your Facebook or Twitter posts? Here is a bit of information you can use to protect yourself and your business from copyright infringement issues down the road:

  • What is copyright?
    Copyright is a designation given to creative works. It covers various categories, such as literary works, performing arts, digital content, visual arts, photos and motion pictures. Copyright protection is automatic. If you took the photo, the copyright is yours. This means no one else can use the image and you can sue for copyright infringement if anyone does.
  • What are the terms of your social media platform?
    All social media websites have their own rules. They also take big steps to protect themselves and their users. To know what is acceptable and what’s not, read the terms and conditions. For instance, Pinterest allows you to re-pin images. But, you can’t copy them to another platform. Understand the terms of each platform to save yourself a lot of heartache and headache.
  • What is the best license when using stock images for commercial use on social media?
    When you purchase stock photos, you are often given the choice to purchase with which type of license: standard or extended. The latter lets you use the images in more ways, including posting them on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites. Just because you purchase an image does not mean you can do whatever you want.

Many standard licenses limit the purchaser to personal use, online media and a certain number of uses. If you are a design who wants to create images for others, you need to purchase images for commercial use. Look for the license guidelines or reach out to the company to find out which license suits your creative needs.

  • Should you get permission from the owner?
    When you buy images for commercial use from stock photo websites, you do not need to ask permission from the contributor. The stock agency already got you covered. Along with the image you purchased, you also get the license and the rights to use the images according to the license that comes with them. The images also include model and property releases, so you don’t have to worry about copyright issues.

Some stock sites, however, do ask you to credit the owner or link to them. Just make sure to follow their terms and conditions, and you are good to go.

Using images for commercial purposes on social media and for online business is tricky. But if you keep these details in mind, you will be protected. So, educate yourself about copyright and read your social media platform’s terms and conditions. Most of all, get the right license for your images. Remember, buying images for commercial use with permission and license is the always the best practice. Read the licensing terms of the stock site, so you will know if you can really use the images on Facebook and Twitter, or not.