Where do you get images for your marketing? It matters more than you think.It may be easy, you may think everyone does it and you probably think no one will waste their time tracking you down. But you’d be wrong. Just because you found an image online, does not mean that it’s yours to take.
It’s Only One Image…
Copyright infringement with images, unfortunately, can be a very challenging situation and is taken quite seriously by image providers. Those who violate image copyright laws can be liable for thousands of dollars in statutory damages for each infringement and may also be liable for the image owner’s attorney fees and court costs. Any original work, such as graphics or photographs, produced after 1978 is protected by copyright law, and it is considered to be the property of the person who produced it for their lifetime plus 70 years.
No One Will Ever Know…
Google's reverse image search, TinEye and many others reverse image search engines are fighting back against online image theft. They are becoming increasingly adept at tracking down stolen images and videos. If you didn’t pay for an image or graphic that you found online, and it’s not listed as a free resource, then (simply put) you are stealing the image. It’s easier than ever to track down image theft.
Why Does It Matter?
If you are a teacher or a news reporter presenting images to the public in order to inform or educate, then you are protected from copyright infringement under Fair Use. However, if you’re like many of our clients, you are marketing your services and products. This implies that you may profit from the image or graphic used in your marketing or communications. If the image you’re using for your marketing is not your original work, or if it is not listed on a free image website, then you could be fined for copyright violations. Plus, you’re robbing the person who produced that image of their legal right to collect fees for its use.
How to Avoid Copyright Infringement and Properly Use Images in Your Marketing
Purchase your images from a stock image provider or directly from a photographer or graphic designer. If you'd rather not shell out the money to purchase the right to use an image through a stock image site or artist, there are plenty of free image sources that simply require you to voluntarily attribute the image to the photographer or graphic designer. Check out our post, 4 Freebie Websites with Stellar Stock Images, for a quick list of free image options. There are thousands of free and affordable image options available that will help you avoid incurring legal action for image theft.