The images sold on Fotolia are meant for professional use: therefore they must be free of any legal problems, so that our clients and contributors are protected against any query based on the rules of intellectual property.
In order to be efficient, we will not explore the legal details of every subject. However this document, without being exhaustive, will help you be more informed about the subjects that can be potentially protected by specific rules.
Remember: if you have any doubt, it would be better if you did not publish your content.


I) Reminders
Fotolia respects copyright and other intellectual/property rights, which is why we advise our contributors to be as vigilant as possible regarding the files they publish on Fotolia.co.uk.
1)Copyright
As reminded in the upload conditions, it is necessary that you are the full and exclusive author of EVERY element, even the less significant ones, in the file you make available for sale. For example, it is forbidden to offer pictures with a tag or graffiti that you are not the author of.
It is also forbidden to sell illustrations made with graphic elements that you are not the author of (example, 3D objects you did not create, a photo set up with pictures that do not belong to you, reproduction of cartoon/comic characters and reproduction of a text you are not the author of).
Copyright also applies to objects and buildings. Therefore it is forbidden to sell images representing such pieces in a recognizable way, without the prior authorization from the architect/designer. However, work made more than 150 years ago or whose author died more than 70 years ago, are considered to be in the public domain. Therefore authorization will not be needed.
For example a building, that has not undergone any modifications. However if any architectural or technical alterations have taken place, authorization will need to be sought. (for example, lighting of the Eiffel Tower, garden in Vaux-le-Vicomte…).
* Appreciation of the recognizable quality of a subject must be done by a man of the art. The specialist’s advice is the one that counts, not that of the neophyte. If an architect thus recognizes a building on a picture, this will be considered as recognizable, even though most of the public does not know this particular building.
It is also important that you work on your own subjects, getting as little inspiration as possible from other authors’ work. In case the similarities appear too obvious, your file might be considered to be counterfeiting.
NB: As a concept cannot be protected, you can find inspiration in existing concepts, being careful that your realization is different from the original subject, as counterfeiting is associated with the resemblances, not the differences.
2)Image right
The image right is the right that allows every person to dispose of his/her image. This is why it is indispensable to get the consent of every model in the picture. This consent has to be logged in a model release, and signed by every model (or by his/her 2 legal representatives if the model is a minor).
Please note that illustrations are also subject to this rule. It is forbidden to sell the drawing of a person without his/her consent, if the person is recognizable.
As for every general rule, there are exceptions. For example, the model release will not be necessary if the represented model is not recognizable.
However, determining if a person is recognizable must be done in consideration of the represented person.
If the person recognizes himself/herself, he/she will be considered as recognizable and his/her consent is necessary for any exploitation of the image. Note also that the recognizability may reside in a detail, however small it may be (part of the body, tattoo, particular sign)
3)Trademark
Trademarks are also elements that cannot be reproduced without authorization from their owner. Therefore you will have to carefully erase every brand or logo appearing within your work (even though it is just a detail).
It is also forbidden to use the name of a brand when indexing or naming your pictures.
4)Drawings and models
Reproducing certain elements can also be forbidden because of their registering as drawings and/or models. Most of the time, these are common elements with a specific design. To avoid any risk, you would better advised to shoot only elements with a very common design. Also, please avoid representing emblems or official logos.
5)Owner’s right
The owner’s right can, in certain cases, have consequences on the shot and its use. For example, the owner of a location can be opposed to pictures being taken inside (for example, a museum or zoo…).
From then on, the ability to sell such content will not be possible, since the shooting is considered illegal.
Regarding the image rights: the French High Court decides the owner of an object does not have an exclusive right on its image. However, he can oppose the use of this image if it causes him abnormal trouble. For that reason, it is indispensable that the represented elements are not recognizable or identifiable. Therefore you would have to erase any detail allowing the identification of the property and/or of the owner (license plates, specific details…).