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ima171740, Woman with laptop in dining room

Avoid common image publishing pitfalls – our best tips!
Sure, it's boring to read the fine print in licensing agreements. But it very important to know what you're permitted to do when publishing an image so you don't inadvertently use it incorrectly.

Because it is so common that images are copied and used without permission, depriving the photographer of payment, there are now companies whose main task is to discover infringements and issue fines.

We strive to help you use images correctly and to avoid common pitfalls! Join us in discovering what you're entitled to do, and what you're not. We'll also give you tangible examples of commonly occurring infringements.

P.S. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you are unsure of how you can use Johnér images. Our knowledgeable sales staff and image editors are here to help.

ima205751, Smiling businessman looking at camera

What does the Copyright Act entail?
Each image has an author whose rights are protected by the Copyright Act. The Act has two classifications of images – those that are photographic and those that have an artistic value. The difference between the two is the duration in which they are protected. Photographic images are protected for 50 years and artistic images for 70. In addition to this non-profit right, the author also has a right to payment, which can be transferred to someone else. Authors always have sole rights to their images meaning that anyone who wants to use them needs to obtain permission from the photographer or their representative, whether it be a photo agency or other type of agency.

What am I paying for when I purchase an image?

When you buy an image, you are actually purchasing the right to publish it in particular places and contexts. In layman terms, this right is referred to as a license. In addition to the basic terms and conditions of the Copyright Act, the purchase generally includes an agreement on the right of use, specifying the scope of the license.

Who can use a purchased license?

The organization who pays for the license also owns the right to publish. 'Organization' pertains to operations under the same corporate ID number. Licenses are connected to corporate ID numbers. To extend the right to other organizations, additional licenses must be purchased.
ima206715, Smiling friends talking in garden
Why the need for a byline?
Make it your habit to write a byline, that is, to give the photographer credit. The Copyright Act dictates that the author has the right to have their name published every time their image is used, unless it is impractical or technically impossible.

An good byline specifies where the license was purchased and who the author is. For example: ©Johnér/Photographer's name.

Where can I publish the image?
When you purchase an image license, you are entitled to publish the image on all platforms owned by the organization, such as your organization's website or social media accounts. You are allowed to use the image in ads, newsletters and various types of mailings, digital and printed. It is vital however that the sender is clearly stated. If you want to fully ensure correct publishing, also write a byline under the image or in another appropriate place.

What should I consider when it comes to press releases?

You may use the image in a press release as long as it is made clear that the image is copyrighted. Images may not be made accessible to a third-party in such a way that they can interpret it to mean that it is free to use the image.

One of the most common usage infringements is when a third-party, e.g. an online magazine, republishes the release without having a valid image license.
ima165303, Two women on using digital tablet

What should I consider if it is our ad agency that purchases the image?
When you hire an ad agency to create marketing material, it is often the agency that purchases the image license. It is important that you ensure that the ad agency specifies the correct owner of the image license when making the purchase.

This is commonly missed, meaning the ad agency is listed as the owner rather than the organization publishing the image. This can result in unwelcome reminders that you are not in possession of a license for the images you published. The matter is generally resolvable, but it's a pity to have to devote your precious time and energy on it.

What should I consider when collaborating with other organizations?

One of the major pitfalls is using images in joint mailings or on common platforms when collaborating with other organizations. The general misconception is that if one of the parties purchased a license, it can be used freely on a common website or platform. On the contrary, an additional license needs to be purchased by each of the organizations listed as a sender of the material.
ima207003, Woman in car reading book
ima206914, Block of flats seen through window
ima196134, Smiling man carrying cardboard boxes

What applies to human subjects and property in images?
It is always very important to publish images of people and property with respect. All images you purchase from us carry written permission from the subjects and from owners of property in the images. This permission contains personal data and is therefore handled in accordance with GDPR. The permission is valid for the use of these images for the purpose of marketing or, as long as it is clear that the text does not pertain to the subject(s), for editorial purposes.

A good rule of thumb is to follow the ethical guidelines of media companies. These aim mainly to protect personal integrity and to prevent offensive publications.

What is meant by 'sensitive publications'?

It is vital to consider personal integrity when publishing sensitive material. Such publications include e.g. those involving politics, religion, medicine, sexual orientation, ethnicity and similar. Double check with us at Scandinav – we can immediately check with our models whether they have anything against being portrayed in your context and if so, we can suggest alternative images.

Can I use quotes with images?

It is absolutely prohibited to publish images in which you attribute the subject(s) as holding certain opinions as expressed in a quote. If you choose to use quotes with your images, it must be clearly stated that the person(s) have nothing to do with the quote.

Can I display creative commissions using images?

Ad agencies are permitted to display customer commissions on their own website, even if they don't have a license for the image. If possible, the image should be used in its entirety and it must be states that the image was used on the customer's behalf. Using a byline shows respect to the author and clearly indicates to third-parties that the material is copyrighted.
ima206759, Smiling friends walking together
Useful links
The Swedish Media Council has a good page on ethical guidelines for media producers (in Swedish).

BLF – Bildleverantörernas Förening has published a good FAQ that answers many legal questions (in Swedish).

Copyright Agent – a company that works to discover publication infringements.
Photographers: Lisa Wikstrand (ima171740), Plattform (ima205751), Plattform (ima206715), Stina Gränfors (ima207003), Amanda Falkman (ima206914), Stina Gränfors (ima196134) and Plattform (ima206759),