A national magazine buys a stock photo for their cover and discovers that it infringes copyright after publication.
UK magazine The Big Issue recently purchased an image of David Lynch from the stock photo service Alamy. It is a photo of a photo (yes!) that was taken at an exhibition, then uploaded to Alamy. The original photographer and owner of the photo’s copyright, Nadav Kander, is understandably angry at this infringement. Kander did not give permission for his photograph to be sold in any way.
It looks like The Big Issue won’t be held responsible because Alamy failed to check if the person who uploaded the stock photo had a legitimate property release. However, they are a well-known magazine. If the publication was a small self-publisher who innocently purchased the photo and printed it, they might not be so lucky.
This is the exact situation I warn against in 5 Reasons Not to Use Free Stock Photos on Your Book Cover. I just didn’t realize I’d be finding an example of this so soon after I published that post!