It’s 2016 and in an age where everything is about posting the perfect image, copyright infringement couldn’t be more real. If you are still copying images from Google Images for your website, blog or social media posts then STOP!
[bctt tweet=”Friends Don’t Let Friends ‘Borrow’ Images From Google. Copyright Infringement Suits Are Real!”]
You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I’ve asked clients what they would like to do as far as providing images for their website and this was the response:
Me: “Will you be providing me with images from a photo shoot? Would you like me to purchase stock images?”
Client: “I found some images on Google that we want to use”
Me: “Umm… Let’s talk about copyright infringement”
Copyright infringement involves any violation of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner. It maybe unintentional or intentional. The purposes of copyright law are to protect the author of a work against infringement, to guarantee commercial exploitation and to stimulate new ideas. Copyright law can be found in Title 17 of the United States Code and is based on the framework provided by the 1976 Copyright Act, and its subsequent amendments. More here…
It is soooo not worth the lawsuits. Many people assume that the images found in Google Images are free for use, but that is NOT the case. Please assume that everything found in Google Images is copyrighted.
“But Can’t I Just Give The Author Credit?”
Not unless the author gives permission for use does this work. Just attributing the ‘borrowed’ work to the author is not enough and will NOT protect you from suit.
“But What About the Fair Use Doctrine?”
FAIR does not equal FREE
The Fair Use Doctrine is a legal exception to copyright law. In general, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and transformative purpose. Transformative meaning to comment, criticize, or make a parody of a copyrighted work. If use is transformative then it can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Ex: writing a review doesn’t need permission.
“But The Author Has No Copyright Notices On Their Website”
Doesn’t matter. Copyright laws do not require the author to place a copyright notice on their work. The moment an original work is manifested into some tangible form (be it video, photograph, painting) it is protected by copyright and that copyright belongs to the author. Although copyright vests as soon as you make it tangible, there are many reasons as to why you may still want to copyright your work. Want to know why?
Also note that there are multiple ways in which authors are able to embed information in their work nowadays in order to track usage of their work so ‘borrow’ at your own risk. Also note that even sharing images on social media platforms can get you into trouble.
“So What Am I Suppose To Do For Images?”
One of the best ways to avoid suit or your website being taken down is to use your own images. You don’t necessarily need a professional photographer to take pictures. I sometimes find myself using images from my cellphone!
Here are some FREE and paid sources where you can get Stock images LEGALLY.
- Stock Xchng
- Free Images
- Flickr (some usage restrictions)
- Realistic Shots
- Deposit Photos (paid)
Happy Image Making!