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Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed Atty, 29 yrs exp in the practice of law.
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I have a subscription to, they provide

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I have a subscription to, they provide royalty free photos and video for subscriber projects.

I am writing a poetry and short story book that will be sold commercially. I wish to use some of the pictures from this site, however, I am unclear as to whether I am covered under their "standard license" for this.

The "standard license" is at:

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Thank you for the question. Can you tell me what you mean by "covered" and what your main question is? What about Shutterstock's response is confusing to you?

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The publisher I am using is It is a Print On Demand (POD) publisher. The shutterstock website states it doesn't allow Print On Demand under either the standard or extended license. However, it allows uses in book for Editorial or Advertising Uses.


The email's I have received from customer service says that Print on Demand books, such as my poetry book is covered and I could use the pictures in it. However the proper wording in the license should say that it is allowed to be use for "Commercial", as Editorial is not allowed for re-sale and advertising use is not applicable. They are saying POD is for mugs, t-shirts, posters, etc.


I need clarification, since shutterstock doesn't owen the individual copyrights - the artists' do - and they have an agreement with the artists'. So if the owner of the copyright feels I haven't followed the "standard license" stated on shutterstock I could be sued.


I am looking for clarification.


Thank You for your help on this.




The link to the license page and the comparison of licences' which states at the bottome of the page that POD is not covered follows.

Hello again,

Thank you for the additional information. Just to be clear that you understand the nature of this Site, we cannot provide legal advice or legal opinions, since we are not allow to form an attorney client relationship with our customers. So, if you are needing a legal opinion, versus legal information which is what this Site offers, you will want to sit down with a local intellectual property attorney and go over your exact situation. That way too, they will be there is you run into any future issues with the ShutterStock Site or the copyright owners. Ultimately though, it is Shutterstock's interpretation of their own agreement that should guide you, since you are entering an agreement with them, not the copyright holder. However, the clause you refer to that speaks to "print on demand" does appear to conflict, if you read it as including books, with paragraphs k, l, and m, since all of those paragraphs envision the commercial use and multiple printing (up to 250K) of commercial items, including books. Therefore, based on standard statutory construction rules, a more specific clause overrides any vague clause that might be deemed to conflict with it. If you look at the comparison chart you will see that, as long as you are not using photos that are marked "editorial only" for commercial purposes, you can use the stock for books and ebooks subject to the size constraints, attribution rules and maximum print numbers.

Let me know if you need any clarification or have related follow up questions.
Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 19673
Experience: Licensed Atty, 29 yrs exp in the practice of law.
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