The dangers of stock licensed content in your video.


Or why royalty free, isn’t always aggro free…

stock royalty free images are not always aggro free, as their unique licence terms can cause issues.
Getting consents for publicly shot stock video with bright happy people can be very difficult!

Video producers are increasingly using licensed stock in corporate videos, to save time and money.

But not all licences are the same, and not all royalty free terms are aggro free.

Producers need to be aware of stock licence pitfalls, and how this limits what is available for a project.

3 common issues with licensed stock video.

1) Consents;

Clients like bright images of people doing things.

But getting the public to consent for inclusion in corporate videos is almost impossible.

Stock agencies get around the lack of consent in publicly shot video by restricting terms to “Editorial Use”, which means that video is not licensed for corporate productions.

When searching for video content this is often overlooked, but failure to exclude editorial use content can result in copyright and licensing breaches.

2) Resolution;

Much stock is 1080p, so it’s not suited for 4k or vertical video projects as it lacks the resolution needed to crop or support the output.

Often a “Plan” or subscription will only include 1080p, with 4k requiring additional payment.

3) Still Grabs;

4k video provides high quality still grabs, so marketing teams are looking to use these to ensure brand commonality and best value.

But some stock providers ban still grabs for use outside of promoting the actual video you have made with their content.

So you can grab a still to help market the video, but you can’t use that still to support wider marketing efforts.

Shutterstock bans this specifically, which often comes as a surprise to clients!

For corporate videos, stock must be licensed for commercial use, not just editorial, and be the correct resolution.

Preliminary search results are often reduced by 80% once licensing and resolution issues are accounted for.

If you choose premium stock to provide more choice, budgets escalate quickly, with Shutterstock’s “Select” video costing £299 per shot.

Royalty free music also comes with issues.

Licensing terms on stock music sites need to be carefully examined.

Not all sites manage music the same way, and this can be a problem when using YouTube.

To avoid YouTube monetisation, music needs to be carefully selected to ensure no claims resulting in adverts on your videos.

Some stock music sites do not monitor usage, ensuring no monetisation claims via content ID systems.

For other stock sites, a complex set of terms needs to be carefully followed to avoid monetisation.

Some sites require “Cue Sheets” for certain types of distribution.

Many will limit your ability to monetise your video, or require you to register with them.

Some will require you to submit links from individual videos to prevent monetisation.

The main problem with the above, is that the licence needs to be managed, which means ongoing costs and engagment for projects in the long term.

If you complete a project and then change YouTube channels, recut the video, produce it with no intention of using on YouTube and then do so, or allow a stakeholder to use it, the stock agency needs to be updated.

So it is crucial to examine licence terms for music to understand how you will need to manage those licences over time.

Both stock video and music have issues which users need to be aware of to ensure they don’t have copyright claims.

Only by carefully reading the terms of stock sites, and understanding the way a site manages content ID can you avoid problems.

If you are in need of a video project which won’t have issues with stock IP, then contact us!