Why Purchasing a Licensed Image Can be Risky?

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by Maria Konash · 5 min read
Why Purchasing a Licensed Image Can be Risky?
Photo: IPStock / Facebook

Blockchain tech will help imagery stocks’ users avoid law violations, in fact becoming a lifeline for those hating to read “general conditions”.

Ironically, buying a license to use an image may lead to legal actions against you or other unpleasant consequences. Though, we don’t try to talk you out of work with imagery stocks. We just want to demonstrate how problems, which may occur when buying under license, can be solved with the help of a blockchain technology.

“You Will Never Walk Alone”, and Why It’s Sometimes Bad  

When fans of the English Liverpool football club are singing their most prominent song during a match at Anfield Road, it sounds superb and magnificent. But it’s not the same when you try to stand out and distinct your brand from competitors. Publishing an image that’s been used multiple times or, even worse, by your competitor…  that’s a truly PR nightmare.

Stock photos are available to everyone, and you hardly know who else bought a photo you want to use in your printed materials or billboards. Of course, high end stocks provide a list of those who also paid for the photo, but it usually costs.

Blockchain will provide both: a list of a photo buyers and places it had been used prior you purchased it – there is no more place for situations like when you come across a friend in a swingers club. For example, one of the biggest startups in the area, Switzerland-based IPStock, will deliver transparent transaction history of every image to its clients. For finding how, where and when a photo was used across the globe, you will spend as much time as you need to see a friends list of any of your friends on Facebook.

Read License’s Conditions, Learn by Heart, Repeat

There are various types of licenses to use imagery, and some of them contain specific conditions. For example, many images under a Royalty-free license can be used for your personal needs, but it’s forbidden to place them into advertisement for the sum you pay. So, raise your hands those, who read carefully manual for new toaster or a terms and conditions chapter? One, two… hm… OK, just 1-2% of the population, so keep on reading.

It often happens that you either failed to read licenses’ restrictions or forgot them, or you were fired and your colleague, who took on a project to finish it, wasn’t aware of the license at all. You or he put a photo into commercial ad and then get a demand from a stock to pay much more.

Will a blockchain turn into Chip and Dale and switch on an alarm just like that one, which warns pilots that a plane is going to crash into a rock in seconds? Well, we cannot claim this, but some startups on the market seem to be implementing mechanism to prevent careless users from doing wrongful things. For example, the developed systems can send an automatic warning that a number of copies of leaflets containing a licensed photo exceeds the number permitted by the license.

When Someone is Unhappy with the Way You Used His Face

Model Nicole Forni was photographed and paid for it in accordance with a contract. The photos were placed on a stock, from which they were bought. Everything seems OK so far, doesn’t it? The photos were published, and the photographer was… sued by the model. We seem to have lost a part of this story, which would explain what happened in between, this is here: the photos were used by porn websites and other adult-only services and products. Ups…

We didn’t track how the legal action against the photographer eventually ended up, but that’s not important. After all, who knows what would be a decision in your country, state or city? What’s important here is that you as a buyer of a photo can face demands to remove it from your website or a product if a model doesn’t like how or where you use it. Of course, you’re a not a porn mogul and don’t run a publishing house printing erotic magazines, but who can guarantee that next time a person will not dislike the way in which she or he is put on your billboard advertising clothes or computers?

In this case, the blockchain obviously cannot prevent misunderstandings, though it can help with a quick informing of where an image is printed, thus providing a possibility for a fast response and securing that no bad consequences follow.

Closed Doors of a Photo Stock

One day you see that a photo house you regularly buy from doesn’t operate. No matter what happened: it was closed for goods, hacked or its servers simply got out of order.  You cannot buy photos you need right now or a financial/legal department waits from you for papers to confirm that images in a corporate stock were purchased properly. Well, you know all these boring and hypercorrect lawyers and financial accountants, who love to demand tons of papers to be sure that a brand is legally guarded on every side.

What’s good about stocks based on a blockchain technology is that they will never fail if someone wants to hack it or decides to close. All the content will still to be available as it’s kept on numerous computers simultaneously. No fault point – no unpleasant surprises to make your financial or legal colleagues upset.

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Maria Konash
Editor-in-Chief Maria Konash

Being a successful graduate of Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU), Maria has acquired competencies in economic and social studies. Given Maria’s previous research working experience, and desire to explore what's really shaping the future, the main research focus is placed on FinTech and Blockchain Technology.

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