Why Should You Care?
As a website owner, you should take into consideration image copyright laws when adding content to your site. It’s important to ensure the text is unique to your website. If you copy and paste someone else’s work into yours, this is plagiarism and you can be prosecuted for it. Images are similar as they are protected by copyright laws.
Therefore, if you didn’t create the text/photo, you have stolen it. It is possible to use someone else’s work in your own, depending on licence the owner holds. You can sometimes use an image, as long as you have permission to use it, and credit the source.
Where to Source Your Images
Images can be purchased on sites such as iStock Photo and Fotolia. However, even if you’ve paid for these Stock Photos, you may still have to credit the source.
Another term and condition you may have to consider is that Stock Photos are usually for limited use. Always check the terms and conditions before purchasing the photo and using it.
You can always use your own photographs when it comes to online content. But, depending on your skills, these images may not have the same quality as other sources of images.
If you’re not confident with a camera, there is always the option of hiring a professional photographer to capture your business. This may be costly, but it will generate a number of good quality images. These photos can be used without the implications of copyright laws, giving you peace of mind.
If you don’t want to spend money on images, there are plenty available cost-free online. Many of these can be used as long as you credit their source. Creative Commons is a search engine that provides this service. A Creative Commons Licence is free and easy to use. They provide a simple way to give the public permission to share work based on the conditions of the owner’s choice. Before using the image, it’s important to fully understand the terms of the licence.
Image Copyright Laws: What to do Now
If you have been using images on your website, without taking into consideration image copyright laws, then you need to go back and update your content. You should check that all the images on your site are safe to use, crediting the pictures where possible. If you are unsure as to where the images came from, then it’s in your best interests to delete these and look into other visual options. It’s better to be safe than sorry.