STOP! Know Your Online Photo Copyright Laws Before you Push Publish!
Recently a client of ours got slapped with a very hefty fine for using a copyright image on their website.We preach until our face is blue NOT to use just any image you come across on the Internet – but sometimes it’s just easy, tempting, and fast.But, when you get that fine for over $1,000 in the mail – you might change your mind.So here are a few dos and don’ts we’ve learned (the hard way) along the road of social media.
– Use Google Images. Just don’t do it. All images that pop up in the search are from OTHER websites – meaning there is a 99% chance they are copyrighted.-
– Don’t use a photo unless is ABSOLUTELY says it is NOT copyrighted. If you don’t know, don’t risk it.-
– Don’t rely on other shared images on social media. Just because one company shared an image doesn’t mean THEY acquired it legally. Make sure to follow to the original source before published and shoot them an email to ask permission. 90% of the time, people wont mind – and you’ll be glad you asked instead of got caught with the other 10%.-
– Use free sites like stock.xchng – that has lots of images that mostly let you use the images if you attribute (link from your site, and/or say their name) them. The only bad thing about free sites is that there is more quantity vs. quality. But, again, it’s free and safe. Another is freedigitalphotos.net – you can see how they ask you to add attributions here: example: “Image courtesy of [contributor name] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.- – Do browse cheap sites like istockphoto – you can get images for as low as $1. So even if you’re only publishing 1 blog a week, that’s only $48 a year! TRUST ME – that’s a lot less than getting that hefty fine in the mail.-
– Do use your OWN images – nothing is better for content that your OWN ORIGINAL POSTS – they are unique, and guess what – NO COPYRIGHT ISSUES! YAY!-
– Add your own images to free sites – like stock.xchang and freedigitalphotos.net – it’s a great way to get links to your site and free exposure/traffic by allowing others to use your work and attribute you on their own sites as well. –
– Do keep a link sheet of all used images. Make a document hosting date, image used, link to where you found it, and where you posted it etc. It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end to have the paper trail.