How many times did you get a rejection because you forgot to remove a license plate, an iPhone button or a tiny artwork on a wall behind you main subject?
When shooting people, the protocol is simple (have a model release printed, make sure it's a good general MR or a Dreamstime one, have it completed by the model and signed, have a witness, check it again for all details and click submit).
However, the ice becomes a lot thinner when it comes to objects, art and buildings. All photographers go through this issue at some point in their miscrostock career and they get lost in the sea of copyright more often than expected.
It is the photographer's responsibility to ensure there are no copyright issues with submissions and it is also in his/her best interest to avoid these due to potential liabilities. So for your safety and to help you get copyright free images online, here are some common copyright secrets:
Have you been shooting cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, planes? You should be aware of a few facts:
- license plates are copyright. If you choose to remove them altogether, kudos to you, but if you will just modify them you need to specify this in a comment for the admin
- train numbers, ship numbers/names are copyright and you should remove or alter them with the same specifications as above
- we still don't accept Porsches, Ferraris and Harley Davidsons, completely copyrighted and editorial only.
Did you go to Ikea, the mall, or any other store?
- make sure you removed every little tag that can give you away
- barcodes are copyrighted
- check that you can sell commercial images taken inside the stores as some stores may have an issue with this, in which case you can only submit as editorial.
Works of art, unique creations and other such objects:
- those are definitely copyright,
- altering or simply removing them from the picture can be a solution when they are just a small part of the image and out of focus but, if they are your main subject, it is better to get a property release. Altering won't work in this case because: a) the work itself will still be recognizable and b) you will lose the actual subject of your image, which defeats the purpose
- if you can't obtain a release, the only place to submit an art work is the editorial section, provided it has such value
- remember that there are products which simply won't make it in the commercial area: Haribo gummy bears and even cheap knock offs, Wunder Baum (the Wonder Tree that is hanging by your car's rear view mirror), Coca Cola bottle, yellow ducks with sunglasses, and the list can continue.
Always dreamt of going to New York?
- many buildings around the world are protected by copyright: Empire State, Sydney Opera House, MoMA, anything by Calatrava, Eiffel Tour (only at night), Guggenheim Museum and so on
- getting a property release to sell images with those buildings as commercial would be next to impossible and probably rather expensive.
- always consider the editorial section for buildings protected by copyright
Last but not least:
- keep in mind that you are responsible for the accuracy of your submissions
- check, double check and triple check at 100%
- if in doubt, you can send us an email and we will do our best to guide you
- don't forget to have fun.