What is “Sensitive Use"?

Pond5 defines sensitive usage as use of content in any context that would be unflattering or unduly controversial to a reasonable person, including use related to the promotion, advertisement, or endorsement of any political party, candidate, or elected official, or in connection with any political policy or viewpoint, or as suffering from, or medicating for, a physical or mental ailment.

In other words, this term refers to using stock media in a project that could be offensive or upsetting to the actual model or certain groups and individuals. The same video or image can fall into “sensitive use” in one project and not in another—like when a model is a new face for haemorrhoid cream (ouch!) rather than in an advertisement for baseball hats.

Note that “sensitive use” scenarios are relatively rare; however, they are most common in pharmaceutical, PSAs, or political ads. To determine if your project involves sensitive use, ask yourself if it would make a reasonable person believe that the subject of your presentation meets any of these criteria:

  • Are they depicted as suffering from or being treated for a physical or mental condition?
  • Are they implied to be endorsing violence, nudity, or other controversial product or service?
  • Are they being positioned as an advocate of an elected official, political candidate, party, or belief?
  • Are they being depicted as having a potentially negative/controversial opinion or association?

If so, your representation could portray the subject in a not-so-great way, but that’s okay! Premium licenses are available to allow the use of stock content in these situations. 

Note that the license agreement would not prohibit using commercial content in an obviously satirical production.

For more specifics on sensitive use check section 5(f) of our Content License Agreement

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