Using stock photos on merchandise sold on online platforms like Etsy is subject to the licensing terms associated with each specific image. Here are some general guidelines:

  1. Royalty-Free Licenses:
    • Many stock photos are available under royalty-free licenses, which may permit the use of the images on merchandise without additional fees. Review the licensing terms for each image to ensure compliance.
  2. Commercial Use:
    • Confirm that the stock photo license allows for commercial use, as selling merchandise on platforms like Etsy is considered a commercial activity. Some licenses may have restrictions or require an extended license for specific commercial uses.
  3. Attribution Requirements:
    • Check whether the stock photo requires attribution to the photographer. While many stock photos do not require attribution, it’s crucial to review the licensing terms to ensure compliance, especially on products for sale.
  4. Modifications:
    • Verify whether you are allowed to make modifications to the stock photo. In the context of merchandise, you may want to customize images to fit the product. Most licenses permit reasonable modifications, but some may have restrictions.
  5. Print Run Limits:
    • Some licenses may specify the allowed number of copies in a print run for products like merchandise. If you plan to produce a large quantity of items featuring the stock photo, an extended license may be necessary.
  6. Model Releases:
    • If the stock photo includes recognizable individuals and your merchandise involves commercial uses, ensure that model releases are available if needed. This is particularly important for products where the image of a person is a significant part of the design.
  7. High-Quality Images:
    • Choose high-resolution images suitable for your merchandise to ensure visual appeal. Most stock photo platforms provide downloadable versions of their images in various resolutions.
  8. Extended Licenses:
    • For specific commercial uses or extensive distribution in merchandise sold on online platforms, you may need to purchase an extended license. This is especially relevant for products with large production quantities or widespread distribution.

Always review and comply with the licensing terms associated with each image to ensure that you are using stock photos on merchandise for sale on platforms like Etsy legally and ethically. If you have any uncertainties or specific questions about the usage rights, contact the stock photo platform’s customer support for clarification.

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