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16th December 2009
Polylooks survey unveils illegal use of photos
6623: Polylooks survey unveils illegal use of photos

More than a third of UK creative professionals illegally use Internet images without remorse

Polylooks survey unearths widespread misuse of image copyright by creatives

London and Bonn, 16 December 2009: More than a third of UK marketing, PR and publishing professionals (37 per cent) admit to using images illegally from the Internet. A survey of UK creative professionals* by Deutsche Telekom’s online photo agency, Polylooks.co.uk, found that not only do a great many creative professionals use images from the Web without paying for the rights, but additionally, most do not understand the meaning of the terms ‘royalty free’ and ‘rights managed’.

Given a number of options, only 21 per cent correctly identified the definition of ‘royalty free’, with nearly half (44 per cent) believing it meant they could use the image without paying for it. In fact, users must purchase the image and then are able to use it with certain restrictions. Additionally, only 16.5 per cent knew what ‘rights managed’ meant. The survey unveiled that these creative professionals have control over image-buying budgets, despite their lack of knowledge of how to legally use them.

“There is still a great deal of confusion when it comes to using photos or illustrations that photographers and artists have made available for sale online,” said Norbert Weber, Product Manager at Polylooks. “Many people who should be paying for the right to use images are not doing so due to a lack of understanding on industry rules and terminologies. Some 85 per cent of creative professionals are not familiar with the term ‘microstock’, which presents stock image providers like Polylooks with a challenge. Is it time we redefined what we offer?”

Polylooks found that half of the UK’s marketing, PR and publishing staff have used a professionally-generated stock photo or illustration at some point without paying for it, although some of this may include use of ‘commons’ images, which come with some restrictions of their own.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • 81.4 per cent of creative professionals that have used an image without paying for it did not feel guilty
  • 44 per cent legally download between one and five pictures each month, while seven per cent buy more than 11 stock images each month
  • Nearly half (48 per cent) do not have a microstock image budget but five per cent spend in excess of £100 each month on images

*Survey of 200+ UK-based marketing, PR and publishing professionals conducted online throughout November 2009

About Polylooks
The www.polylooks.co.uk portal is an online photo agency providing professional-level images worldwide. Owned by Deutsche Telekom, the platform provides both amateur and professional photographers with a facility with which to sell their work to agencies, publishers, companies and private individuals.

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