It’s never a good idea to use an image with a copyright on your website without permission. Even if this is not picked up immediately, at some point in the future, you may receive an e-mail telling you that you have made what may prove to be a costly mistake!

Whilst not always the case, the possibility exists that you may be on the wrong end of a lawsuit from the rightful owner of the image and without express permission, you have no right to use that particular image on your website.

It can be all too easy to try and justify things to yourself when ‘borrowing’ someone else’s image/photo but the truth is that it doesn’t matter if:

  • you have only used part of the image
  • you are not intended to make a profit from the image
  • you have made an innocent mistake
  • you are not claiming to have taken the picture yourself
  • you have only embedded the image onto your website (it is not actually stored on your server)
  • you have disclaimer on your website
  • you have provided a link to the source and list the photographer’s name

Even if you immediately take down the image, if someone sends you a DMCA notice (you do have to take it down) but this may not be enough to absolve you.

To help you avoid these pitfalls, we have drawn up 5 tips to help you along your way.

No. 1 – Avoid Using Google Images

The quickest and easiest way to source images is to dip into Google Images. The choice is often amazing and it is so easy to find what you are looking for. However, the chances are that the vast majority of these images are already under copyright and even if you credit the source, you can still find yourself in hot water without either paying for or getting permission to use it.

No. 2 – Beware Creative Commons

Flickr is another hugely popular website and actually lets you search for ‘Creative Commons’ images as one of its search options. However, what if after you have downloaded the image, the person who added it to Flickr decides to revoke the ‘Creative Commons’ status? For each photo you download, always check the small print under the “some rights reserved” link to see if any issues may potentially arise in the future.

No. 3 – Don’t Take Any Chances

If you are desperate to use an image that is being used by someone else, ask them if it’s ok! The worst they can do is say no and if you get e-mail conformation saying that they are the rightful owner and are happy for you to use it, you are good to go.

No . 4 – Use Your Own Photos

Whilst not everybody can claim to be David Bailey, your own images should be fine.

No. 5 – Only Use Trusted Sources

If you are prepared to pay, subscribing to a service such as iStock or 123rf can resolve all of these potential pitfalls right from the outset. There are other free sites such as Pixabay but always remember to make sure that you check the smallprint before publishing anything onto your website!

Contact Us

If you would like to speak to someone about using images on your website and the potential for trouble in the future, please contact Footprint Web Design on Tel. No. 01883 372488 today.

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