Copyright Theft … With the introduction of the reverse search function by Google and several other platforms, it is now possible for photographers and other creative specialists to check who (organisations / websites and individuals) are using their photographs / works of art online without permission. In other words, who is stealing the work?
The UK, EU and International law is quite strict on the use of photographs for commercial use. You buy it (the photograph outright) or buy a license to use the photographs in a particular way. You DON’T go onto Google and find any image that you think will suit and use that.
This is the same for use on websites as it is in brochures as it is in PowerPoint presentations. If you use an image commercially you must have the permission from the copyright owner to use it…
“Any image that does not belong to you, is not yours. An image does not need to have any visible watermarks to be copyrighted. The original photographer / designer always owns the rights to that image and using it without his or her express permission is a breach of their copyright and can land you in trouble.”
“It has been a long-established belief that by cropping, flipping or digitally editing the original image, you can remove the watermark and make the image usable and untraceable. You may be surprised to find this is false!”
“If I give credit to the photographer whose image I was using then I’m ok to use it” – nope; your are not.
“If I keep the logo on the photograph then I’m ok to use it” – nope you are not.
“If I keep the logo AND give credit then I’m ok to use it” – guess what…nope, you are not.
As an indication, I would be looking at a charge of £400 per web sized image per week as compensation if use any of my photographs illegally. That can add up to a lot of money.
Lots of companies are around that will sell what is known as Stock Photography – just do a Google search.
However, you are better off commissioning a professional photographer to take a series of photographs for your business that you will have the total and global rights to. It’s cheaper and you get exactly what you want.
If you want to take that risk go ahead. Personally, I’d rather pay £500 and commission some work that risks £5000+ of compensation charge plus the very bad publicity that will result. (Photographers tend to be experts in social media use to spread the word).
It’s mainly over in the US at the moment that is suing over the illegal use of photographs and images; however, it’s only a matter of time before a UK photographer takes the same action when a polite “please stop using my photograph without permission” letter is ignored.
LET ME SHOW YOU…