Acquiring Website Imagery Legally
If you aren’t sure, don’t make the mistake of waiting until you get a cease and desist letter in the mail. Although imagery is a crucial aspect of your site, if you didn’t create the photo yourself, chances are you’ll have to seek permission from the copyright owner.
Pulling images off of Google or other search engines can be a gamble due to the use of software by copyright companies to track their property — it just isn’t worth the risk. Here are some safe ways to make sure you are image sourcing without risking your credibility or income:
- Create the image yourself. Either by honing your own photoshop or photography skills or hiring an expert for your job.
- Contact the artist. Many artists and image resources are fine with you purchasing their work, but will ask for a fee, a copyright agreement or a proper attribution.
- Utilize public domain. There are a ton of sources that provide images for free because their owners have deliberately released them for public use. (Unsplash, Pixabay, PicJumbo and PublicDomainPictures, to name a few).
Images are a huge part of your organization’s initial presentation to visitors, but infringing a copyright can warrant some serious consequences, making it well worth the time and money to acquire yours legally.