iStockphoto seeks profit from others' legal worries

Company adds legal protections for intellectual property matters involving the photos and other content it licenses.

iStockphoto, a Getty Images subsidiary that licenses photos and other content for relatively low cost, is hoping to benefit by reassuring customers concerned about violating others' intellectual property rights.

iStockphoto's Kelly Thompson
iStockphoto's Kelly Thompson Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adding photographs can improve advertisements, brochures, and other content, but getting sued for inappropriately using another company's trademark or violating an individual's privacy is buzzkill. As a result, iStockphoto has now begun promoting a legal guarantee under which the company will cover up to $10,000 in legal expenses in cases involving trademark, copyright or other intellectual property rights, and privacy rights.

It's included with any file purchased from the company. For those who want more, iStockphoto will increase the coverage to $250,000 at a cost of 100 of the credits ordinarily used to purchase photos, videos, audio clips, and graphics. Presently, credits cost between 95 cents and $1.50, with lower per-credit prices when purchased in bulk.

The company essentially is trying to capitalize on the risks involved when using content that's freely downloaded from the Web or produced on one's own, eagerly pointing out that even stitching patterns on jeans can be trademarked.

"There are certainly millions of images available on the Web, but most are not cleared for commercial usage. Creative Commons images can be perfect for some projects, but there are little to no formal inspections on those files, so iStock offers a much safer and suitable alternative when using multimedia," iStockphoto Chief Operating Officer Kelly Thompson said in a statement.

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