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Are Social Media Compromising Rights of Microstock Sites?

The importance of stock media lies in the fact that nowadays there are a multitude of content buyers out there who are looking for illustrative footage – stock images as well as videos - to support and facilitate their marketing and online activities. Given this fact, resources such as media libraries that stock royalty free video footage and images are turning out to be the hubs of activity. On the flip side however, there are cases where social media is being used as a source for stock media. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of this trend and try and come to a solution.

Don't use media from unknown sources

Don’t use media from unknown sources. Via Christopher Clay@Flickr

For those who don’t know, stock media refers to already available media sold mostly on the web and uploaded by content creators that can be sourced and purchased by users, whether companies or individuals, for various uses such as marketing projects, personal blogs and the likes. The popularity of stock media stems from the fact that it is great money saving and time saving proposition available 24/7 for every customer in the world.

Media libraries such as our are extremely comprehensive resources that have on them a huge range of royalty free stock images as well as other media and can be the go-to resources for anyone looking for stock media. Royalty free stock media refers to media that only needs to be paid for once and then can be re-used as many times as chosen by the user at no additional cost.

This is one side of things though. While for the most part, companies and individuals are aligned with the idea of paying for media once and then go on to re-use it for free, there are people who tend to take the route of using social media as a free source for procuring stock media.

What we’re trying to explain here is short – don’t do it. It can harm your business.

To explain, what that statement means is that with a lot of free and downloadable media available on social media channels and with regulations that are not in place, there is an inclination towards going that way and just using the content without paying for it.

While most media libraries like and other resources on the web are constantly promoting and encouraging users to go through fair means and stay away from downloading from unknown sources, given the vastness of the web and the accessibility, a number of people are actually using social media channels as a foundation to create their own stock media library. But for business use ask yourself one question – can you show invoice for media acquired this way? If not, are you sure author gave permission for such usage? Obviously you can’t be sure. Worse, you can’t be sure who author really is.

The nature of the problem is such that dynamic and stringent steps need to be taken to enforce regulations and create laws that will discourage such practices. Eventually, the point to consider is that using media that has been unethically acquired, harms the interests of the user as well as credibility will be severely hampered upon discovery of incorrect use.

The correct and legal channels available are not very expensive and it is worth its’ while to invest a little bit into them. In the end, the return on investment will be credible enough and will validate the cost incurred. Media that has been legally acquired can be used freely without any hassle and stress and this will bring a lot of peace of mind in the long run.


Michal Przymusinski cofounder of VPUZZLER and photo & videographer. Ex Head of New Media of Polish Public Television, creator of HBO Poland e-presence, architect of BBC Poland news website and lecturer of new media on Collegium Civitas.
Now I'm part of VPUZZLER.COM and Crowley Media (YouTube Partner) - internet startups creating tools for creative minds - and Head of Marketing and Promotion of Collegium Civitas.
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