Platform FAQ: Discover and Use Social Media Images

Scopio is a way to find, license and use social media images from a custom dashboard.


 Who We Are and What We Do

What is Scopio? 

We’re an image search engine and licensing platform for trending social media images and videos. Scopio offers our users a way to license photos with customizable messages and build libraries of visual user-generated content.


About the Photographers

Do I engage with the photographer? 

When you find an image you’d like to license, you send a message directly to the photographer’s Twitter or Instagram account.


How can we increase the chances that a photographer will click into an unknown link and agree to license their photograph? 

Try to be as specific as possible when requesting that image – it helps to build trust. If you’re a dog food company and you’re requesting an image of a dog, the person will be more likely to understand why you want the image. They’ll trust you and will be more likely to share the photo. Likewise, if you’re a non-governmental organization or a media agency that needs a #worldwaterday photo, that person will be more willing to share their image with you if they understand your intentions.


Plans and Payment

Can I purchase just one image? 

Right now, we only offer subscription packages where you search for images and license them directly. We customize social media feeds to ease your search. Check out our plans page or reach out to us at to find a plan that works for you.


What if I choose the wrong plan? 

No worries. You can switch plans at any time. Pick the plan that seems best for your team and feel free to try it out. You can always update your subscription to another plan.


Any commitments or contracts? 

Nope. You’ll be asked to pick a plan. This is billed monthly and you can cancel at any time. If you cancel before the end of a billing period, you’ll have access to your Scopio dashboard and all the social media images until it’s over.


What are my payment options? 

Online payment methods include major credit cards and Paypal for our not-so-basic plan. For the media guru plan and above, we’ll send you an invoice. A direct deposit option is also available for our larger or annual plans. Contact to discuss what works best for you.


As a company, are we involved in the payment to the photographer of social media images? 

No. When you confirm the social media images, we inform the photographer that their photo has been purchased and offer them payment by the end of the month or quarter. Scopio uses a portion of our dashboard subscription for payouts to streamline the process.


I’m an NGO and I don’t make a profit off of people’s images. Paying for them just doesn’t make sense. Can I still use Scopio? 

We have a lowered subscription price for NGOs. Our NGO licensing agreements are based on sharing social media images as a “global citizen.” In that case, there is no financial reward to photographers so that we can be ethical. See testimonials for examples of NGOs that use Scopio’s image-licensing software.


About the Photos

What’s manual curation?

Scopio’s search engine uses machine-learning algorithm to process images and Scopio team approves them before they reach the client’s dashboard. Once a client enters search terms or hashtags, it enters Scopio’s queue.

For faster content results, speak to us about a dedicated account manager.


What is “your images”?

This keeps track of the social media images you use. You are able to view the image in “view image details” in authorized and drag it.

They will appear in “your images” after you download them.

Please only download images that you have published, so Scopio can record which contributors to notify, and will send you a bill at the end of the month for each image downloaded.

We will also show them where their image ended up so you can gain a follower or share and increase your direct marketing efforts!


Can I do anything I want with the picture artistically? 

Yes, as long as you’re not violating any human rights or distorting the image in a negative way. Photographers tend to look to see where their images end up and share it with their friends. Naturally, we want them to feel good about where their image ended up. Check out information on when to use a model release.


What do I do with the images after I get permission to use them? 

Feel free to publish them on your social accounts, use them in marketing efforts, repurpose them or post them on your website. The possibilities are truly endless.


I am not getting the images I’m looking for on my dashboard. 


Are your hashtags specific to your company or subject? Be as clear as possible. For example, #dogsofinstagram is a better search term than #dogs because it’s a more dedicated niche. We recommend browsing around Instagram while you’re adding to your search. Contact and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours on ways to improve your search. At Scopio, we have been studying and researching hashtags for years. Don’t fret – it’s not always a straightforward process, and we’ll help you optimize your search. Choose our media guru option for a wider range of images. We are working on more automated methods to improve this search.


How do you find the photos or videos?

We find photos and videos on Instagram and Twitter based of your search through our algorithm. It filters through the advertisements and junk on social media and finds the authentic images that our clients need.


What’s the difference between licensing and embedding a photo? 


  • Ability to edit the photo. Play around with it to fit your unique branding and advertising needs
  • Gives you more creative freedom
  • Ability to download the image
  • No need to credit the photographer when using the image
  • Requires legal permission from the photographer
  • Send a request quickly and easily from Scopio’s dashboard via your company’s social media accounts


  • Faster than licensing; no legal permission required
  • Click through any post and embed it immediately. Choose the “embed” option on the Twitter or Instagram post and copy the HTML code onto your website.
  • The photographer is automatically featured.
  • Photo can’t be edited
  • If the photo is removed from the photographer’s social media account, the embedded post won’t show up on your website.

    Licensing and Legality

    What happens if I choose a “non-exclusive license”? 

    This is the option we definitely recommend. The user will instantly receive the message you crafted under the “manage message” page on our dashboard. Under the non-exclusive provision, you buy the rights to use your photo or video, but the photographer can still resell the photo or video. It gives them – and you – more freedom.


    What happens if I choose an “exclusive license”? 

    The user will instantly receive the message you crafted under the “manage message” page on our dashboard. Under the exclusive provision, you request the rights to use that photo or video and the photographer can’t resell it. Scopio will work with you to protect the content you license.

    However, the truth is that social images are fleeting and protecting content online is rather new and complicated. Copyright infringement is still common online, so we’re trying to figure out solutions. We’ll give you our trusted opinion about whether pursuing a specific violation will be worth the effort on your exclusivity. People generally respond better to non-exclusive requests, so it will increase your chances of a response. We recommend exclusive licensing only in the case where you want the photo to be the face of your campaign or story. Reach out to us at if you’re still not sure whether to use exclusive or non-exclusive licensing.


    Does the agreement apply for content posted from countries outside the United States? 

    Yes! We live in a global village. Scopio collects diverse social media images from different languages from over 80 countries.


    Can I send licensing requests directly from my personal or company account? 

    We offer a “white-labeling” option. This allows you to link up your social media accounts with the Scopio dashboard so that messages to photographers come directly from you. This gives you direct interaction with your target audience and builds trust. They’re more likely to respond faster and more positively.


    Would we have the ability to use the photos in any channel or just on social? 

    You can use them anywhere, so feel free to get creative!


    UGC and Rights Management

    The burst of user-generated content, or UGC, has drastically shifted media consumption. Instead of looking to companies for product information or news clips,  people are turning to each other for trustworthy opinions and experiences. What’s new and interesting is that these opinions are shared through photos and videos. Our brains are hardwired to process visual information at an incredible speed. Pictures are worth a thousand words. And in our case, they’re worth a thousand likes.

    As companies turn to UGC in place of stale stock photos, there are new risks that come along. It’s best to educate yourself about these issues. We’ve outlined the best practices to help companies take advantage of this powerful and timely visual opportunity.


    1) Know who owns the rights to an image

    Social media images should either be owned by the company or be licensed from the rights holder (photographer) or a company authorized by the rights holder. We include metadata information on each image. This allows you to see whether the poster is the original photographer. If the image comes from a person and not a brand or company, you can send a request via your Scopio account. Our agreement will clearly indicate that the photographer has given your company the right to use the image and that it’s theirs to share.


    2) Know what or who is in the image

    Most stock images don’t have any companies or logos in their commercial photos. This is so anyone can use them for commercial purposes without asking for the company’s permission. If you’re dealing with images for commercial purposes, model or property releases are required. If you’re looking at editorial images or images marked “no release,” check to see if there are any recognizable people, companies, logos, distinctive locations or artwork in the photo. All of these may also require a release. Scopio uses a Getty Images model release. Request one from us at


    3) Know for what purpose the image is being used for

    The terms of service for using social media images are different between companies and platforms. These terms generally differ depending on whether the image is being used for editorial or commercial use. Be clear on these differences so that you understand the terms that are most applicable to you. Editorial use generally means an image is used to illustrate something of public interest, whether it be newsworthy or just culturally interesting.

    Some companies enjoy displaying UGC galleries on their site to celebrate customers or events. If the gallery is clearly identified as ordinary people sharing their experience with a company through pictures, the images can enhance trust and credibility. People trust other people. Don’t confuse your audience and use the images to directly sell products or endorse the company. Linking to images on other social media sites may be an appropriate alternative. Remember, advertorials are still advertising and need to be identified as such.


    4) Make a channel to respond to copyright claims

    If you don’t currently have a way to respond to copyright claims on social media images, you’re increasing your exposure to risk. Your first step is to establish a “notice and takedown” process that complies with the Copyright Act. This should provide a safe harbor if you take down infringing content after proper notice. It’s easy with digital content because you can take something down right after you receive a complaint. Register with the Copyright Office and have an email dedicated to complaints.

    The post Platform FAQ: Discover and Use Social Media Images appeared first on Scopio.

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