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Handling images and image rights

Which dimensions does an image need to be displayed optimally in the platform? Which file format is recognized by the system? Where can an uploaded image be displayed? And what has to be considered when using images of other photographers? All these questions are explored in this article.

Size and format

Image files should always be uploaded in the best possible quality. A resolution of 3600 x 2800 pixels is suitable and corresponds approximately to the performance of an 8 megapixel camera. The size is especially relevant for full-screen galleries on large monitors and for PDF printouts.

Images are automatically resized by our system to display them quickly on tablet and smartphone screens. If the dimensions of an image are far below the required standard, it may be displayed in a grey frame.

A suitable file format for images is JPEG with high quality (80-100%). Other possible upload formats are BMP, GIF and PNG.

Landscape images with a typical aspect ration of 16:9 are ideal for the use in our platform. Portrait images, however, often appear cropped outside of full-screen galleries. Very wide images are automatically recognized as panorama.

Image material within the platform

The general terms and conditions of the Outdooractive GmbH regulate that images uploaded to the platform may be used on platform-related websites, in apps and in print products. For further information see the overview of all output channels

Handling image rights

In Germany, works of art, literature and science are generally subject to copyright - whether they are paintings, poetic texts, inventions or photographs and videos. The author holds a number of rights to his work. These are thematically divided into copyright and rights of use.

Copyright and rights of use

Copyright and usage rights protect images and videos from unauthorized use.
Copyright and usage rights protect images and videos from unauthorized use.
Photo: CC0,

Copyright law states that the author (photographer) of an image may decide whether he wishes to be named as the author, whether he waives or even prohibits the use of his name.

The rights of use regulate where and by whom photos may be published, whether an image may be changed and whether commercial use is permitted. If no regulations have been made, the author (photographer) has the exclusive rights to his picture. However, he may grant or transfer rights of use to other persons and organisations.

Rights of use may be limited to a specific period or country. You can also restrict the use of an image for a single project, to the online or print area and to the social media channels.

Note: Images and videos may not be published without the express consent of the author or the copyright holder. There is a threat of warning notices and high fines.

Uploading your own photos

If you upload your own material to the platform, you can do so without hesitation. When uploading data, the name of the active user is entered in the box “photographer” by default whereas the according user group is named in the box “source”.

Uploading photos of others

The photographers have to agree to the use of their material on the Outdooractive platform with all output channels. All images have to be attributed in the manner specified by the author. This means that their names have to be indicated in the box “photographer”, if they didn’t renounce or even forbid attribution.

Uploading photos from databases

Images from a free database (e.g. can be used on the platform, under the condition that you follow the license terms. Usually, you have to refer to the author of an image and the respective license.

Various usage rights and common licenses

There are many different types of rights of use. In order not to lose the overview, images usually carry a license.


All rights reserved

All rights of use are with the author. Third parties are not allowed to use the picture.


Rights Managed

Numerous picture agencies work with the RM license. The customer selects the type of use (e.g. for the title page of a magazine, for poster advertising or for integration into a website) and a period of time; the price then depends on these two criteria.

Images distributed under the RM license are usually of high quality and/or rarely used. If necessary, customers can even use the material exclusively. Accordingly, it is quite expensive. Once the specified period has elapsed, new fees will apply.


Royalty Free (royalty-free)

Contrary to popular assumptions, royalty-free does not mean the same as free-of-rights. Even in the case of royalty-free images, the author lays down certain usage rules. Royalty-free images are usually subject to a fee and available on platforms such as, or

When purchasing a royalty-free image, a flat-rate right of use is acquired. Images may be used for an unlimited period of time and for different projects. In the print area a limitation of the edition is possible. The respective conditions of use of the picture regulate more exactly.


Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that provides various standard license agreements. Under these, authors of text, images, video and music can publish their works.

A CC license allows the use of such works under certain conditions. Even commercial use is possible in many cases. Images under this license come from free photo databases such as, or

The decisive factor is the addition - such as CC-BY-SA, CC-NC - which regulates the type of rights associated with the license. A combination of different additions is possible:

  • The addition BY means that the author must be named.
  • The ND addition means that the image may not be edited.
  • The addition SA states that the image must be distributed under the same conditions. In other words, it may be edited, but must be published under the same license again.
  • The addition NC states that the image may not be used for commercial purposes.

Public Domain

There are more and more platforms distributing public domain images. Often these are historical photographs whose term of protection has expired. Other images come from community users who make their material available to the public free of charge.

Pictures with a CC0 license may be used, edited and used for all purposes without naming the author. Often this is at the expense of quality.

Right to one's own image

Identifiable persons may only be photographed with their consent.
Identifiable persons may only be photographed with their consent.
Photo: CC0,

In addition to copyright issues, there are other points to be clarified before using an image. If people are shown in a photo, the right to one's own picture must not be infringed.

It states that photographs of recognizable people may only be published with their written consent.

According to German § 22 KunstUrhG, consent is deemed to have been granted if the person depicted has been remunerated for his services and does not clearly object to publication.

German art. 23 KunstUrhG stipulates three exceptions to this rule, which apply as long as no legitimate interests of the person depicted are violated:

  1. People in contemporary history (e.g. heads of state, politicians, representatives of the economy, scientists, inventors, artists, actors, singers, entertainers and sportsmen)
  2. People shown as part of a landscape, a locality or an object (person is clearly recognizable only by chance with on the picture)
  3. People attending public events or meetings or those those in large crowds.

Objects and buildings

The Eiffel Tower at night
The Eiffel Tower at night
Photo: CC0,

In some cases, copyrights may also apply to images of objects. Photos of copyrighted paintings and sculptures are subject to the same copyright as the original.

Buildings can be photographed without any special right of use. Exceptions confirm the rule: Anyone wishing to use a photograph of the Eiffel Tower at night must request the right of use from the French light artist Pierre Bideau.

Images of text and screenshots

The same provisions apply to illustrations of a protected work as apply to the original.
The same provisions apply to illustrations of a protected work as apply to the original.
Photo: CC0,

Copyright also regulates the use of images that contain text and screenshots. If an image of a copyrighted work is published, it is subject to the same provisions as the actual work.

There is one exception for use in scientific articles. If a screenshot or image of text fulfils the so-called document function, its use is permitted.

The prerequisite, however, is that the image only supports one's own thoughts and that exactly this image must be used. An example of this would be film or book reviews as well as website reviews.

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