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Let's say I'm designing an advert and product packaging related to an automobile product.

The graphic requires an image of a car to be incorporated into the overall design.

Could I use a royalty-free image of a BMW car complete with the BMW logo showing on the car?

Example of image to be cut out:

enter image description here

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It depends upon the license.

In general, no you can't use branded products for advertising something else. In many cases it's not a problem to reach out to manufactures if you have a supporting product and want to use images of their product in sales of your product. i.e. you sell window tinting... BMW probably would offer you some royalty free images to use in your advertising since, after all, you'll indirectly be advertising BMWs as well. It shouldn't be seen as a "given" a cooperation will do that, but it's also not something which most corporations will immediately refuse.

If purchasing stock photography, some licenses may allow commercial use some wont. Most often, for royalty-free images, commercial use of branded product images is not permitted for anything other than "editorial" use. Advertising of any kind would absolutely fall outside editorial usage.

You will have to read the license associated with the stock photo to determine what may or may not be permissible with any specific image or sales service.

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  • The YellowImages standard license allows for commercial use and 500k packaging reproductions. E.g. This Tesla Car Mockup. Is this particular stock site therefore allowed to sell images of branded products for reproductions? Is there a loophole because they create the images themselves? Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 1:47
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    This is GraphicDesign.StackExchange.com.. I'm not a lawyer. You may want to ask that at law.stackexchange.com.
    – Scott
    Commented Nov 22, 2017 at 3:04

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