There is a common presumption that images appearing on the internet are a ‘free for all’ and therefore can be copied and pasted at will in order to brighten up your website, recent blog post or marketing materials. But did you know that all images, whether indicated as such or otherwise, will contain copyright and if you are not the copyright owner or have the permission of such owner, then using the image in question could have potentially costly consequences?
The copyright owner of a photograph for example will generally be the freelance photographer who took the image in question, the only exception being if they took it as part of their role as employee, in which case the copyright will be owned by their employer.
If you use the image without the owner’s prior permission therefore they could legitimately ask you to pay them compensation for infringing their rights. Some photographers entrust their rights to organisations such as Getty Images who licence out the images on their behalf in exchange for the payment of a one-off licence fee. Be aware though that such organisations are generally very committed to policing the use of the images entrusted to them – clients of mine have been sent letters requesting thousands of pounds in compensation for using their images without having paid the appropriate licence fee.
So the moral of the story is this, think carefully before using any images you find on the internet and if in doubt, it’s probably best not to use them!
If you are concerned about the images you are using on your website and want to ensure you own all the correct rights please get in touch by either emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 8946 2355.