July 25, 2008, Newsletter Issue #74: Be Careful With Certain Free Photos

Tip of the Week

While it is true that stock photography sites now offer some of their photo collections for free, you should still be careful how you use certain types of images. The following are times you should use extra caution and, if you're not sure about something related to your free photo, ask questions upfront to avoid trouble later on.

*Embarrassing photos of celebrities. Famous people do give up some right to privacy by the nature of their lifestlyes, but they are often willing and financially able to sue someone who uses a shot of them that may damage their reputation. The best thing to do is avoid using this type of photo altogether.

*Photos that include a company's logo, products or trademarks. This is another type of photo you should avoid. Or, you can Photoshop the material out and still have a perfectly usable print.

*Shots of places or properties. Generally speaking, if you use a photo taken of a well-known property or place, you might be asking for trouble. Exceptions are usually the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the like.

Reputable stock photo agencies and websites are keenly aware of these issues, so if you are a careful consumer and follow their advice, you are not likely to be faced with an unexpected lawsuit over a free photo.

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