In the TOS, it says that they have made a reasonable effort to determine that all images are in the public domain. I can go along with this, but I also like to sleep at night. How can I go beyond their approval and ensure that any image I use is in the public domain?
There is no way to be sure short of tracking down the creators of the images and asking. I think it’s safe to assume SnappyGoat’s “reasonable effort” is no assurance of anything.
Read the licensing. Even with a huge stock company like iStock there is always an indemnity statement where they are not financially responsible for any damages arising from use of the images in their collections. A lot of licenses even go so far as to say that you will pay for their defense if your use drags them into a lawsuit.
As for public domain images, there’s a stock site that is notorious for pulling Creative Commons Zero images and charging anywhere from $200-$400 for them as “Rights Managed” stock. Technically it isn’t against the rules to repost CC-0 stuff, it’s available for any use, but charging that kind of money and calling them RM should be against the law.
- Don’t touch ‘free stock’ or ‘public domain’.
- General Liability Insurance
Mojo, your #1 is kind of a blanket statement. There are perfectly good and reliable sources of Public Domain imagery. Having a firm grasp of what is and isn’t public domain is more than half that battle. We use it all the time. Creative Commons is a little iffy. We’re usually required to get signed releases even if CC-0.
As for #2, good observation.
Freelancing is a business. Part of being in business these days is getting sued. General liability insurance is part of being in business too. Also being an LLC or similar to disengage your personal assets from your business liability