Be very careful with the images you use on websites and social media!

The posting of images for commercial use is big news this week. It is a hot topic amongst photographers, the creative industry, SEO professionals, marketing experts and website owners.

Recently, a Photographer was awarded $1.2 million in compensation from companies that took his pictures from Twitter, and then used them for commercial purposes without his permission.

The website owners and content creators amongst you will already know the importance of using Copyright free images, or images with the loyalties paid to their owner/originator. However, we are aware that many people are not fully aware about this area of copyright law, or what constitutes a copyright free image.

First let’s put some myths to rest. If you find an image from a Google image search, it does NOT mean it is copyright free and available for your free use. We often hear from clients who genuinely think that if the images are available, that they can use them. This is not always the case.

We are certain there are literally billions of images out there that have been taken from other websites without the originator’s permission, simply because of Google images searches. It is a huge minefield, and arguably, many pictures online could be fair game. However, with the recent landmark decision to award in favour of the photographer, there is now a very real risk that you could be using someone else’s images.  If you are, you could be liable if you have not paid for them, or gained the appropriate permissions for their use.

So, for the record, if you need to use images on your website or social media, you should only use them if you have:

  • Take them yourself and own the copyright.
  • Downloaded the photo from a loyalty free source like iStock
  • Paid the appropriate fees to use a photo, downloaded from a photography site, or direct from the photographer

We suggest you take some time as soon as you can, to check all the images on your websites, social media platforms, and print materials, and make sure you are not using any images which require permission.

If you find any photos that are not copyright free, or you are not sure about, we advise you to change them for photos you either own, or have downloaded via one of the above methods. It’s not worth the risk, especially if you are using images for corporate and commercial pages.

Protect yourself protect your own images, and make sure your company won’t get caught out, either way.

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