With the growth of the internet over the last 20+ years and some of the free marketplaces it’s created, the line often becomes blurred between what’s available for free and what isn’t. Back in the early 00’s, sites like Napster made music freely available to the masses and probably changed the music industry forever.
While everyone that used sites like Napster and similar file sharing sites knew that downloading music for free wasn’t legal, it didn’t tend to stop them due to the lack of repercussion for doing so. While Napster was eventually shut down and the music industry found new ways to monetize such as through iTunes, where songs are available to download for as little as 99 cents and later by streaming services such as the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, this entire shift in mindset has changed the way people treat assets that aren’t theirs. Now it’s almost an expectation that everything should be freely available, or at least have very little cost. From TV shows to movies, file storage to marketing tools, there is now almost an expectation that if something is available online then its free, or at least should be.
Which brings us to the subject of our featured infographic on photography copyright. A lot of people don’t realize that if you find an image online, such as by searching through Google Images, you don’t automatically have the right to use it for your business. In fact, using an image online that you don’t own could get you into a lot of hot water, at best it might end up costing you thousands of dollars, at worst you could lose your entire business as a result!
In the US using an image without owning the copyright or permission has been the catalyst for some major lawsuits, including one where a photographer sued a health sciences company for 1.6 million and won because they had used images he owned without his permission.
It’s important to make sure that all images you’re using have appropriate rights giving you permission to use them accordingly. If you use the image without first purchasing the license you can be easily sued resulting in big financial losses.
At Big Apple Media when we design websites for our clients, we take this fully into account and only use images that our clients own or images where the copyright holder has given the license for the images to be used.
For the full lowdown on using images that you found online, how you can use them, where you can use them and everything else in between check out the infographic from PikWizard: