Thanks to the disruption of internet and social media, we are all very much accessible to what our friends, associates, relatives, role models and influencers are up to. More often than not, we all come across watermarked images of our photographer-friends and popular photographers, which essentially mean that these photographs are personally licensed with copyrights.

What are stock photos?

Stock photos turned out to be the right catalysts for photographers and consumers alike, to avail the images ethically without any hassles and legal troubles. It all trickles down to the basic rule of not stealing someone's property and using it without authorisation.

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Stock photos are high quality images taken by professional photographers that are bought and sold by several kinds of consumers. The categories of these images include portraits, common and popular landmarks, events, nature, food, architectural structures, and essentially everything and anything.

These photographs once purchased can be also reused for both personal and commercial reasons, unless there is a clause between the parties that number of times of usage is limited.

These images cut down on large expenses for designers and consumers, so that they would not have to hire a photographer and do the job for them.

What is licensing? What does it mean for the regular user?

In simple terms, licensing is when the owner of something levies a regulation against his/her property that it cannot be used without a formal permission. The licensee, who is the user, can use the property as he/she likes, only after the licensor (owner) issues the release that it can be utilised. Once the release is issued, the licensor cannot accuse the licensee of copyright infringement or sue the licensee in any way.

But do people really care about licensing? Being absolutely blunt with ourselves, they really do not. Psychologically, we are tuned to believe that it is totally 'okay' to pick up images freely from the internet, be it from a photographer that we might or might not know, or from a stock photo website.

Does it mean it is right? No. Does it mean it is legal? You are stealing someone's hard work and publishing it yourself, could be as your own work or n0t, it is still not legal either.