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No – logo use is prohibited with Royalty Free licensing

When you decide to be a Virtual Assistant or start any business one of the things you try to do is create a brand. Most of us flock to stock photo websites, pick cool images, pay a buck or two, maybe alter the image a bit and say “Here’s our logo”… buzzzzzzzzzzzzzz… wrong answer. All of the images on this website are from a stock photography website. I paid one buck each. I cannot copyright them. Anyone can purchase them and use them on their site too.

You cannot use royalty free licensing to create a logo. Even if you alter it, and put your name on it, it’s not yours to use as a logo. You can use it all you want on your site, but not as a copyrightable logo, registered or not. It is not permitted by the terms of service when you sign up to use this service.

I bring this up because recently right here on this site I was accused of copyright infringement. The image they used and the image I used are very similar. But mine was a custom made logo. You cannot find the image anyplace else. However, hers was a photograph that any one of us can download and use from a popular stock photography site.

I mentioned on a previous post that I removed my logo and tried to talk to the person in question because ours looked similar and I was happy to remove mine because she was first. She called and was very rude and not willing to listen to me say that I was already planning to remove mine – was in fact removing it as I answered the phone.

I also attempted to inform her that she cannot copyright a stock photo so there is no real copyright infringement to start with. However, I wanted to be unique so …… but she never would listen to me and was quite nasty.

So now, the stock photo company in question will be contacting the person in question regarding their activities.

Even though I’d love to gloat about this, I can’t. I was banned from a popular forum, where I was meeting a lot of awesome women and VAs, and now I cannot converse with them. I was new to the forum, so I didn’t get email addresses or information about them. Her site is an awesome resource, the forum is active, with wonderful women on there helping each other succeed.

Even though I was already removing the “logo” before she called and I am the one who in fact reported the similarity in the first place, I am banned for life from this resource. So I can’t gloat, but I can make sure other Virtual Assistants and work at home moms know that you cannot copyright a royalty free stock photo. I can also let you know that kindness in business is very important to success.

Live and learn, I guess.

About Stephanie Watson

Mom | Wife | Virtual Assistant | Content Strategist
Stephanie has been working from home for over 20 years as a virtual assistant, template bender, and content writer. She's currently transitioning to business coach. You can learn more about her at her website


  1. It’s very unfortunate that you are more professional and will not call this site out. I respect that even though I am nosy and knowing you I would also like to know the said owner that was a real piece of work.

    I truly respect the way you have handled this from the onset. It really says a lot about your business and personal ethics.

    It’s sad that VA’s would not understand that an image from a stock photo site couldn’t be copyrighted. If I was the person you had contacted I would be either upset or say thank you for being cool about sharing the image, maybe even strike up a joint thing. If I thought my image was copyrightable, then that would be me against the person I had create my image. I can say this because I’m horrid at graphics and I outsource all of that. I will now make sure and stress my needs for a custom logo or a graphic created. I will understand what the difference may mean.

  2. I am terrible at creating graphics too and I outsource that when I do it. I guess I hope the person I’m talking about will out herself. 🙂 Because mostly I would like to still be friends, even though I was treated very badly. Why I am not sure, but I just feel like it is such a shame when people can’t be friendly, even if you’re in competition with each other. If she said she was sorry I would forgive and forget. Lesson Learned.

    Thank you for your comment! I really appreciate the support.

  3. I’m about ready to OUT the person. I haven’t because a lot of people I know respect her. But I just got a call from istockphoto about her. They told me they’ve been asking her to remove the “logo” and now she’s telling them it is NOT a logo.

    Funny coz I copied a TWEET where she calls it a LOGO and certainly when she was bullying me to remove mine, by contacting my ISP, My webhost and others she was calling it a LOGO and accusing me of plagiarism when in all reality none of us can get a REAL logo from an istockphoto. None of us.

    I realize some of us will innocently call it a logo but it is not a logo in the full legal term of a logo.

    Anyway if this continues I will likely have to just out her. If she would have talked to me like an adult, and listened to me none of this would have happened. She has hurt a lot of people here, not just me either. And she thinks she can walk away scott free calling it “not a logo” now?

    I don’t think so.

  4. Maybe you can out her now. Has anything changed?

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