iStockphoto Launches Editorial Collection

Posted on 2/21/2011 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

iStockphoto has added a new collection of “editorial use only” stock images to These images are intended for use by news outlets, publishers, magazines, bloggers and presenters as a descriptive visual reference to a product, place, event or concept.
Up to now iStock and most other microstock sites have been unwilling to accept image files that contained identifiable brands, locations or people without the proper legal releases needed for commercial use. Now, such images may be accepted.
But, iStock will not accept the kind of breaking news images that are the staple of the major wire services. While they are interested in images about issues, they are not interested in time-sensitive ones. They offer this example. “We will not accept … images of the immediate aftermath of an earthquake. We will accept images of the ongoing struggles faced by people living in the affected area several months later.”

With regard to sports imagery they say, “Sports imagery and its distribution, from the professional leagues all the way down to little league softball, is very complicated. We will leave this one to our colleagues at Getty Images.” And they will not accept images of celebrities and public figures. “It is a can of worms we just aren't opening,” they point out.
Searching For Editorial Images

Since all images on the iStock site can be used for editorial purposes, images that are only suitable for editorial use may be a part of any search return. It is impossible for customers to apply a filter that would search for nothing but editorial images. However, if the customer is only interested in images that are suitable for commercial use there is a checkbox on the left navigation bar which appears after entering any keyword and gives the user the ability to “Exclude Editorial” from the search.

Under every editorial thumbnail there is a new red icon which identifies it as an editorial image. In addition the image ID number for editorial images is red instead of the normal blue found under all other images. When the customer rolls over a thumbnail there is a large copyright notice that says “Editorial Use Only.” On the page where prices are listed there is a notice under the picture indicating “Editorial use only” and a large notice in red that says, “Files for Editorial Use Only cannot be used for any commercial purposes.”

Editorial only images are covered by a licensing agreement that limits the manner in which they can be used. iStock also supplies a set of content guidelines that explains the differences between editorial and commercial use. They point out that stock photos containing logos, trademarks, company names, product brands or patented designs cannot be used commercially, but may be used an editorial context. In addition, if a photo contains a recognizable or identifiable person a model releases is required for commercial use, but generally not required for editorial use.

“iStock images are already used for editorial purposes around the world,” said Kelly Thompson, COO of iStockphoto. “By offering more editorial images, we are now able to provide a treasure trove of new content that provides real-world representation of the topics a large number of our customers cover. Editorial images also represent a tremendous new opportunity for our contributors.”
Like all iStockphoto files, editorial images will be covered by the company’s legal guarantee protecting customers from intellectual property and privacy disputes.


Copyright © 2011 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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