A Legal Quandary?

Without getting into the “legalese” that I’m abjectly unqualified to dissect…

The licensing and/or terms-of-use applied to stock photography often state(s) that I can use a certain image for “non-commercial” purposes… which—more times than not—grants me permission to use it in personal or educational pursuits. I cannot, however, use that image if it’s part of some marketing effort… or some “commercial” purpose whereby I can make money (unfairly) off the photographer’s work.

I don’t have a problem with any of that. But, what happens if educational pursuits are the core of your commercial efforts?

Erin’s a teacher… her salary (which could be tenuously construed to mean “her commercial efforts”) is rooted in education. As her boyfriend—and the one with the Photoshop skills—how am I to know where to draw the legal line?

Just asking. CM or KS, please feel free to offer free legal advice, if you still even read this shit.


5 thoughts on “A Legal Quandary?

  1. Being the designer who has “bent” his share of licensing agreements to fulfill his own personal aims, I say, use the image the way you want to. Licensing agreements are vague and wordy, and most image banks don’t audit their accounts to enforce them. I imagine if you are buying one image and doing something with it for your special lady (a minor transaction in their eyes), they wouldn’t come down on you anyway. Worse case scenario: You use the image inproperly, the image bank sends you a cease and desist letter to quit using it.

    This is all in theory, of course. Everything works in theory. Take communism, for example.

  2. Using it in class as a teacher or student I believe falls under “educational” even if she’s being paid to be a teacher. The image, I’m assuming, isn’t being used to produce revenue for the school (i.e. in an advertising campaign).

    \not a lawyer

    \\didn’t play one on tv

  3. Morally or legally.

    Legally the educational use would cover you.

    Morally if you created it and someone used it without paying you for your effort then what would you think.

  4. I agree with Sean, though if Erin’s going to make 50 copies and distribute it to her kids, that could be different. But, still probably not a problem so long as the photo isn’t intended to be used for educational purposes (i.e., it comes from a textbook and the school is trying to save on textbook purchases). Even then, probably not a problem if it’s a single photo, not a diagram or graph or something.

    I think. This is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney/client relationship is established by this response and no such relationship shall arise absent the execution by both you and me of a written legal retainer agreement. Which ain’t gonna happen.

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