An essential part of good quality content is the image. And it is important whether the content if for a blog, website or for social media.
However, we continue to notice that many people use images they find via Google image search. This could get you in to serious trouble!
There has been a great deal in the news about successful cases where companies have sued for compensation when their images were used, without permission, for commercial purposes.
It is a myth that all images available on Google are available to be used for free. This is just not true, and if you choose ANY image to promote your company, brand or a product or service in any way, you must have the legal right to use that image.
Here is our advice on using images from the internet –
Spend time educating yourself about copyright law, and find out exactly what a copyright free image is.
Identify the best sources of free images that you can use for all your content needs.
Invest in your own set of brand photography and graphic images. This is the safest way to ensure you are not infringing copyright. You should also ensure that your own images are not used without permission by anyone else.
Google images are not copyright free images! Even if you google a search like ‘free images, cars’ you must make certain it is free. You can do this by tracking the source of the image. When in doubt, ask for permission, and expect to pay for it.
Be particularly careful with images taken from other social media posts. An individual can post anything but as soon as it becomes commercial then things get complicated.
Changing a picture slightly on Photoshop does not necessarily render it free to use, this can still be regarded as an infringement.
Buying images from a stock photo supplier is a safe option. Keep well filed records of the images you pay for and the use permitted. Again, this is an area where trouble could arise. Paying for the right to use the image once on your website does not mean you can use it over again and in any way, all over all your various platforms. This is another mistake some companies have made and had to pay dearly for.
Check all the images currently on your website, blog and Facebook pages. If you are sharing someone else’s content, you do not need to worry. If the content is yours however, and the image is used to promote your company, a product, or a service, and the content in any way generates commercial revenue, you must make sure you have the photographer’s appropriate permission for use.