Canada: Purchasing An Image License On The Internet? Know What Clicking "Accept" Means

Last Updated: June 29 2016
Article by Jennifer Staines

You are given the task of designing your company's logo. In the midst of your work, you find an image of a lion via a Google search and want to incorporate it into the logo. In such a case, copyright law steps in to protect creators of original work. Just because a photo is searchable on the Internet, does not mean you are permitted to freely copy and use the image (that is, without the risk of legal repercussions), especially if you want to use it for commercial purposes.  While copyright law places limitations on the use of images pulled from the Internet, permission may be sought from the copyright holder.

If obtaining permission for use of an image, whether from an individual or company, expect to pay a fee. Oftentimes, permission will come in the form of an End User License Agreement (or "EULA" for short).  There are numerous stock photo websites on the Internet that offer licenses for images.  Companies include Shutterstock, iStock, BigStock, Stocksy, and so on.  When you purchase a license for an image using one of these sites, you enter into an EULA with the company, who is the licensor of the image. By clicking "Accept", you, as the licensee, are agreeing to comply with the terms set out in the EULA.

Just because you have purchased a license to use an image, does not mean that image is yours for use in perpetuity in any manner you please. When it comes to EULAs, you are not purchasing the image; rather, you are purchasing the right to use the image under specific terms. The licensor who holds the rights to the image has discretion to determine what those terms are, including the scope of permitted use.

Yet, more often than not, individuals entering into EULAs speedily scroll to the end of the page and click "Accept" without understanding what they are agreeing to.  If you unclear on the terms of an EULA, there is the risk that you may find yourself in legal trouble somewhere down the road.  Depending on what the image is used for, this could land you, your company, or your client in hot water.  Also, there is the very real risk that you or your client may incur significant expenses in implementing the image that you cannot recapture, i.e. signage for your business, advertising materials, stationery, etc.

Say, for instance, you purchase a license for the lion image and the lion becomes your company's logo. Your company – excited about the new logo design – prints it on store signs, apparel, and so on.  You are congratulated on a job well done.  But what you failed to read in the EULA is that you are prohibited from incorporating the image into a logo.  Three months later, you receive a letter in the mail from the legal department of the stock photography website through which you purchased the license demanding that you cease all use of the image. All of this could have been prevented had you read the EULA.

Any time you enter into an EULA, you need to be aware of what the agreement entitles you to do with the image and any restrictions associated with its use.  There are different types of EULAs that offer varying or additional rights (with diverse price points).  In any case, there are a number of key areas you need to consider in reviewing an EULA:

  • What is the scope of permitted use?  Is commercial use permitted?
  • Is the license or the image transferable? Are there any restrictions on transfers?
  • How many users are entitled to access the image?
  • Are there any specific restrictions on use?

Scope of Permitted Use

EULAs set out the scope of permitted use, which may range from basic use on a website to use in commercial products, such as t-shirts.  Often, there will be specific rules on permitted commercial use.  If you are intending to use the image in a way that is not spelled out in the EULA, then your best option is to contact the company licensing the image for permission and approval (in writing) to use the image for that use. 

Transfer Restrictions

There may be a provision in the license agreement on whether transfer or assignment of the image and/or license is permitted.  Some EULAs clearly state the license agreement is non-transferable, while others permit limited transfers of the image to third parties (for instance, transfer to a commercial printer). 

Number of Users

EULAs normally specify seat/user license restrictions.  The license may only entitle one person to access the image, or it may specify a set number of people.  If the licensee requires further access, there is often the option to purchase a multi-seat license which enables multiple or an unlimited number of individuals within an organization to access the image. 


License agreements contain specific restrictions.  Oftentimes, there is a term which prohibits the use of the image as part of a trademark, design mark or logo. Most EULAs also prohibit use of the content in ways that may be considered pornographic, obscene, defamatory, libelous or otherwise indecent. 

As mentioned, there are many companies that license stock images.  Do not assume that all EULAs are the same – while the areas covered may be similar, it is quite likely that the specific terms will differ.  EULAs vary by company and by type.  The only way to know the scope of your rights is to undertake a thorough review of the EULA. 

Admittedly, EULAs are not always straightforward – they may contain wordy and confusing legal jargon. In such a case, it is advisable to enlist the help of a lawyer so that you can be sure of your rights and avoid a potentially adverse legal predicament. If a term in the EULA is unclear, another option is to call the company that is licensing the image.  If you pursue this option, ensure that any response you receive from the company is in writing.

Claiming ignorance will not protect you from the implications associated with non-compliance.  Given the seriousness of an EULA breach and the potential repercussions, err on the side of caution and know what you are agreeing to before clicking "Accept". 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.