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Use of Photo Library Images

Following a couple of discussions last week, a reminder again to all members about the BVAA/ValveUser views concerning library/stock images.

In short, the use of library images is frankly best avoided in PR material you would like BVAA to feature.

The reasons for this are simple. Photo libraries can be relentless in their pursuit of people they believe are infringing their copyright. Which is easily done.

BVAA publishes members’ material both online, and in print and we also never take these down from the website. This has consequences as libraries have a rising fee structure based on each one of these elements.

To use such library images, members would need to provide BVAA with a copy of the contract they have signed with the photo library concerned, which needs to clearly state they have contracted for use in all types of media, indefinitely, and with permission from the image owners for it feature in material published by a third party (ie the BVAA).

Why so prescriptive? One of our members got a massive bill for using such a stock photo on a magazine cover and article for which they had inadvertently not secured full permissions for use. As the publisher however the Library first came after the BVAA.

Securing monies by ‘fining’ and/or penalising alleged illegal use is now big business. Some libraries even have some sophisticated methods of trawling the internet for such so called ‘mis-used’ images. Securing use for one media-only or limited time isn’t cutting it – they still pursue.

The best course of action is to take your own themed photo, or use a company product shot instead (much easier, and you have much greater confidence that it’s YOUR IP then).