Avoiding a Copyright Infringement Suit

Did you know that taking pictures off of Google images, blogs and websites can result in a copyright infringement suit? We had this unfortunate incident happen with one of the blogs we had written for a client. Generally referencing/citing where you found the image/content is good enough, but as we found out this isn’t always the case. Even after citing where we had taken the image from and providing a link to the originating blog, we were fined $500 and ordered to remove the image. After years of content writing we had never faced this issue before and we learned a huge lesson…sharing an image even if you gave reference can come back and haunt you/

So what can businesses do? You need images for blogs, social media, emails, etc. but purchasing can get very expensive, especially if you don’t use a lot on a regular basis. Here are a couple of options:

  1. Contact the place of the image you want to use. Send an email asking if you can use the image. Most likely you will need to reference or link to where you got the image so that way they can get credit. We generally don’t have a lot of success with this as most people don’t respond to requests or we need an image faster than what it would take to get a response from the owner. This only works if you aren’t in a hurry.
  2. Use free domain image sites. The two that we use the most are Pexels,  Pixabay, and Pikwizard. There are several other sites that are out there, but many of the other ones require siting the source of where you got the image. These sites generally don’t offer a wide variety of photos, so if you are looking for something specific you may not be able to find it. Also, these images are best for digital marketing, not print. Many of the images aren’t large enough to be able to be used for print marketing.
  3. Use Google Image filter. Many people don’t know that you can filter by images that people allow to be used without attribution. See the screenshot below on how to access the filter.

Copyright Infringement monitors show no mercy and there is no way of getting out of a fine, even if you explain that you had no malicious intention and made a proper citation. When it comes to using images it is better to be safe in than sorry.

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