Stock Imagery

We’ve recently seen a number of businesses using premium stock imagery on social media sites such as Facebook. In many cases without purchasing a license first. These images are easily spotted – they’ll have a watermark across the image usually featuring the stock library’s logo.

Websites like Istock , Shutterstock, 123rf etc are ideal for picking up images to go alongside your social media posts. Please don’t copy/paste/save from these sites without paying for them though. Doing so may land you and your business in trouble.


By using stock imagery in this way you are breaching copyright law. You are effectively stealing someone’s property without paying for the usage. As a result of this you may find yourself landed with a fine and or legal action.

If you’ve downloaded stock imagery, and receive either of the above it is important to deal with this promptly. We have seen instances where the copyright holders have approached website hosts directly. Web hosts have an obligation to remove infringing images. So, the quickest solution for a host is to disable the offending website altogether. Similarly, your social media account might be suspended.

Please carefully check the license held against each stock image you use. These licences will restrict what you can, and can’t do with an image. Consequently, you could find yourself in hot water if you breach them. For example, some licenses state that you must credit the stock library and content distributor when used in certain formats.

Alternatives – Free Stock Imagery

Luckily there are some free sites offering stock imagery. And, these can often be used without restriction. Please don’t confuse these with royalty-free stock image sites though. Royalty free imagery means there there a fewer limitations on the images once you have purchased the license to use.

If in doubt always check the license agreements on the stock library’s website.

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