Legal Guidelines

Commercial Use

Content that is creative or illustrates an abstract idea – typically a staged shoot, often with models.

Customers license this content to promote a product, service, or idea:

  • Commercials and other marketing campaigns
  • TV and film productions

Before Pond5 can license content for commercial use, written releases are required for:

  1. any identifiable models in the footage before Pond5 can license the content,
  2. any identifiable location, building, or object (real property and/or intellectual property) in the central focus of the shot.
Editorial Use

Content that is meant to inform and educate – typically not staged.

Customers license this content to depict something newsworthy or of public interest to their audience:

  • Documentaries
  • Museum exhibits
  • Books, magazines
  • News stories

The content cannot be used out of context by the customer and cannot be edited materially.

Generally, no written releases or permissions are needed for editorial use.

Buildings, Cityscapes, Venues

Locations and Buildings

To license content for commercial use, contributors must provide property releases for all distinctive residences, monuments, major theme parks, landmarks and government buildings featured in their content. Key factors to consider:

  • The property in question- identifiable from the clip, like distinctive residences, heritage sites and estates
  • Main subject of the content (not incidental, random)
  • Privately owned (a home or business)

Skylines & Cityscapes

A property release is required when a building is recognizable and is the setting or main subject of the photo. However, city skylines where no single building is the main subject can be used commercially without a release.

Venues with Paid Admission

All ticketed events require a property release/permit that verifies that  you have permission to film. Any content produced within a venue (property) that requires visitors to pay admission to access – for example, a stadium, arena, concert hall, opera, movie theater, or museum – requires a release.

Sports and Entertainment


Any media from sports events, like those sanctioned by the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA, FIFA, Olympics, NASCAR, Formula One, Premier League, Australian Football League, Tour de France and any other similar governing bodies, whether major or minor league, should not be submitted to Pond5 unless you have obtained proper permission to do so.

Even if  you have obtained credentials to cover a sports event, you need to confirm that you have the right to license the content.

Sports media from local high schools and non-NCAA sanctioned events may not have the strict restrictions that apply to major sports events, but you may need permission to film in a local high school or university, especially if you are filming minors.


At theatrical, music and other performances and events where admission requires a ticket, the right to record what occurs at the event may be restricted by the event promoter, organizer, sponsor or venue.  In those situations, you need to confirm that you have the right to license the content. In addition, recordings of performances of copyrighted works usually require additional permissions.

Background Audio in Video Footage

Music/Recognizable Voices in commercial footage requires releases. If you own the music, a release is still required. If there are no releases for audio in background, please remove audio and upload.

Logos and Art


  • When multiple logos are visible and no one brand stands out, the clip can be accepted for commercial use (this is often the case with skyline/cityscapes).
  • When one logo is visible or happens to be the main focus of the shot, a release is required.


For commercial use, all artwork (including tattoos and graffiti), require property releases.

AI-generated Content on Pond5

Our Contributor Agreement states that you must be the owner of any content you upload to Pond5. AI-generated content is produced using machine learning models that are trained using many other creative assets. As a result, we cannot accept content generated by AI to be uploaded and licensed by contributors in our marketplace because its authorship cannot be attributed to an individual person, nor can we ensure all artists who were involved in the generation of each piece of content are compensated.

Contributor Agreement

You retain the rights to all of your work. For more information check out our Contributor Agreement.

You can remove, edit or change the price for your media on Pond5 at any time. You will simply be using Pond5 as a marketplace through which you license the use of your media to other media producers under our royalty-free License Agreement.