The music and film industries have already begun an intense and immensely controversial crackdown on illegal use of their content, but could image rights companies be about to do the same?
Research conducted by Deutsche Telekom’s online photo agency Polylooks.co.uk has found over one third of UK marketing, PR and publishing professionals (37 per cent) admit to using images illegally from the Internet. A number which is therefore likely to be far higher in reality.
In addition to this the survey discovered:
- 81.4 per cent of creative professionals that have used an image without paying for it did not feel guilty
- 44 per cent legally download between one and five pictures each month, while seven per cent buy more than 11 stock images each month
- Nearly half (48 per cent) do not have a microstock image budget, but five per cent spend in excess of £100 each month on images
Amongst the miscomprehensions are the definitions of ‘royalty free’ and ‘rights managed’ with just 21 per cent of the 200+ surveyed professionals correctly indentifying the former and a mere 16.5 per cent knowing the latter. For the record: royalty free means users must purchase the image and then are able to use it with certain restrictions. Rights managed images are never bought, but rented from the agency or photographer at a price for a specific use. This price will be enlarged if the image is used outside of the agreed terms.
Of course the big question in all of this is whether this will lead to legal and financial consequences for those so clearly in breach of these laws and furthermore how far will aggrieved rights holders take their claims? Could individual bloggers and web users be at risk or just major corporations? We’ll have to wait and see, but I suspect this won’t be the last we hear of it…