When including images in League materials, always review the image’s permissions closely before incorporating it. Using photos and graphics in League materials – including social media posts and newsletters – without the appropriate permissions can expose the League to legal action or hefty fines.
Copyright infringement can occur absent the infringer’s knowledge or intent. Even if your League has used photos in the past without permission, you can still be charged thousands of dollars in retroactive licensing fees. Incidents like these are not unique, and all Leagues should make efforts to avoid these types of situations. To help Leagues do so, here are some recommendations from LWVUS:
Use your own images. You always have ownership of the photos you take. If you are photographing or filming non-League individuals at events or in public, use our photo release forms to get written permission and keep them on file for up to three years.
Use images from the LWVUS Flickr site. All of these images are owned by the League of Women Voters and licensed for use by local and state Leagues.
Use free stock photos from legitimate websites that are licensed for public use. Pay special attention to any requirements on these images. Some images require an image credit back to the website and/or photographer. Here is a list of several of these reputable free image sources.
More on stock media
When purchasing stock photos (from Canva, Shutterstock, or other sources) Leagues should always be mindful of the licensing agreements.
Canva, and often other paid stock photo sites, have multiple levels of licensing, which impacts the price of the image as well as the permissions. Leagues should always read license agreements fully before purchasing an image. If there are multiple tiers of licensing, Leagues should decide whether they might want to share the graphic they create with their purchased image before selecting which tier of license to purchase.
If the purchase is for a single use, that image can only be used by the League who purchased it, and that League using that image should NOT share it with other Leagues.
Some stock media sites offer extended use licenses for a higher fee, which allow sharing under certain circumstances. LWVUS recommends that Leagues do not share standalone images they have purchased under any license.
But if Leagues create graphics with the images they purchase, these can be shared. Leagues should only share graphics they create with images that they’ve purchased when the following are true:
1. the license attached to the image allows for sharing (e.g. Canva’s extended use license)
2. the League modifies the image into their own graphic (i.e. they’re not just sharing a standalone photo but instead sharing a photo with words and our logo on it)
3. those with whom a League shares their graphic do not change it in any way for their own use (therefore, if Leagues want their graphic to be shareable with other Leagues, it needs to use the “LWV” logo and not a local League-specific logo)
More on photos you take
Photos taken by state and local Leagues are property of that League. We encourage all Leagues to take photos at your events, but please be mindful of photographing people and getting the proper permissions. If you are photographing or filming non-League individuals at events or in public, use our photo release forms to get written permission and keep them on file for up to three years. If permission of the photo subjects has been obtained, Leagues are free to share their images with other Leagues.