Other image libraries
If you can not find the image that you require in the Asset Bank you can purchase an image from a commercial image library, such as Getty Images or iStock. Care should be taken when purchasing images to avoid generic or staged imagery. The downside to using stock imagery to represent specific areas of our work is it is not authentic and does not reflect our photographic style and does not show our offices, locations or people.
Visit Britain image library
The British Council has an agreement with Visit Britain and can use images from their rights managed and royalty free image library free of charge if they are for UK tourism promotional use only. You will need to register to use the site and registration can take up to 24 hours to approve.
Free and royalty free image libraries
We would recommend avoiding free and royalty free image libraries due to the risks associated with them. The licence agreement for many online free image libraries will absolve them from any legal action that results from the use of any images that they are distributing. They also claim no responsibility for any data protection/rights issues that may arise. If using these sites take extra care to ensure that data protections and copyright issues are covered, but our preference is not to use them.
Other things to be aware of or consider when obtaining images from image libraries
- Make sure that the licence agreement for the image covers how you are going to use it (print, web, digital, above the line, below the line) and the regions that you wish to use, often quantities of publications.
- Consider if the style of the image reflects our organisation’s photographic style produced will affect the cost of the image. If you use an image outside of its licence agreement you can incur heavy fines from the photographer and agent, this is fast becoming an enormous revenue generating area. Recently some photographers have been awarded six figure damages for usage infringements.
- Check the small print of the licence agreement terms. Most image banks do not allow images to be shared or stored through a content management system, such as Obtree or Drupal. Most licence agreement terms state that, if an image can be shared, it can only be shared with a maximum of a small number of users, usually never more than ten. An image that is stored on any of the British Council Content Management Systems would be available to all our global users which would result in a breach of the licence agreement. If in doubt please ask for clarification from the image library informing them of your exact usage and regions of use. Ensure you make the Brand Team aware of any images purchased; they can help you monitor any digressions throughout the network which may affect your licence agreement.
- Licence agreements may only be for a limited period of time. If your licence agreement has an expiration date, you must ensure the image is no longer in use by that time. To minimise risk, these time bound agreements are best avoided as once an image is shared in our network it is very difficult to monitor and control.
- Always ensure that the copyright for the image is correctly displayed on your published materials. Meta tags can be used to display copyright information on the web.