iStockphoto Legal Protections For Customers

Posted on 9/16/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

Starting today, iStockphoto will legally guarantee, at no cost to its customers, that all image, video and audio files in its 5 million-plus collection will not breach any trademark, copyright or other intellectual-property rights or rights of privacy, provided that the files are used in accordance with the iStock license.

The iStock Legal Guarantee provides that, if a customer receives a claim, iStock will cover the customer's legal costs and direct damages to a combined total of $10,000. iStock customers looking for additional peace of mind can also purchase an extension of the Legal Guarantee for 100 iStock credits, increasing iStock's coverage for legal fees and direct damages up to a combined total of $250,000.

"Our first line of defense has always been -- and continues to be -- our rigorous inspection process," said Kelly Thompson, COO of iStockphoto. "The Legal Guarantee is simply an added layer of protection for our customers, many of whom are using microstock more than ever before."

Every file accepted into iStockphoto's collection undergoes a meticulous examination. In addition to following some of the strictest quality standards in the industry, iStock's seasoned team of inspectors go to great lengths to ensure submissions follow the appropriate legal and ethical guidelines.

"There are certainly millions of images available on the Web, but most are not cleared for commercial usage. Creative Commons images can be perfect for some projects, but there is little to no formal inspections on those files, so iStock offers a much safer and suitable alternative when using multimedia," Thompson added.

iStock also maintains a technical wiki on copyright and trademark issues around the world. It is not always obvious whether a photo of a product or location may be used without a release. The rules vary in nearly every country.

The technical wiki makes it easy for a photographer or buyer to enter the name of a location and determine immediately if there are restrictions on the use of images of that product or location. For example, who knows that certain stitching on jeans is protected by trademark? iStock.

Copyright © 2009 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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