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June 9, 2006

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it’s not worth a lawsuit.

We sometimes use stock images for marketing materials, book covers, and the like. We recently found a stock photo site that sells some high-quality images for a fraction of what of you pay at better-known stock photo firms. Buying a royalty-free image for $3 instead of $300 seems like a really good deal…until you read the fine print.

Check the licensing agreement for an image to see if the license protects you from possible copyright/trademark claims. A $3 photo with a license that

“makes no warranties regarding the use of names, people, trademarks, trade dress, patented or copyrighted designs or works of art or architecture or other forms of intellectual property represented”

in the image could suddenly cost you a lot more if there is a copyright infringement issue. It’s probably worth spending the extra money for a photo from a firm with a license that guarantees an image

“will not infringe on any copyright, moral right, trademark or other intellectual property right and will not violate any right of privacy or right of publicity.”