Using stock images for logos
What are the rules concerning incorporating stock image elements into a website branding or logo?
From what I understand, IStockPhoto.com doesn't allow it. Are there any stock images sites that do? Is there a specific licensing option required?
Please note- I'm not talking about adopting a stock image as a logo straight up- just using it as an element in a larger logo or brand design. What I want to know is if there's any leeway there, or if logos must always be original art from the ground up.
Using a stock image as the entire logo, or even part of a logo requires proper permissions.
The permissions depend on the license that that image is licensed under. Which license is needed is wholly dependent on what you plan to do with the final product. There are websites that have one license applied to the entire website, and anyone uploading to that website agrees to those license terms, and other stock websites allow their users to set the license.
Commercial stock is typically the hardest to find if you're looking for free commercial resources, but there are still some pretty good resources scattered around.
http://www.sxc.hu is a great resource, I do believe every user can control their license. Please correct me if I'm wrong. http://cgtextures.com/ is a texture website but everything on it you can use commercially.
To summarize, there is no definite answer. There isn't one governing rule. It all depends on the website/user, so be sure to check the licenses and read them through.
Just to inform you; I 've used an image of gettyimages by using screenshot program. Just an cropped part of it. I modified and merged it with 50% transparency with my existing image. Then I changed some saturation. The image was 150x150 pixel. After 2 years, I received an legal warning letter with costs about $1500.-.
Also if you "CAN" download the image as "free" there are rules why you are not allowed to make it public.
I really recommend to explicit request for each image for license to not fall into unwanted costs. If the producer changed his mind from "free license" to "nonfree license" it is hard for you to validate your situation.