Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can use it …

Do you know how to protect you and your company from claims of copyright violations?

Just because it’s online doesn’t mean you can use it …

The article in the link above is a good reminder of a few things:

  • Just because you find a photograph or graphic online (or an article or song or video) doesn’t mean you have the right to use it. Search Google images for a topic, you will find thousands upon thousands of images … almost NONE of which you are legally allowed to use for your own purposes.  Google saves images from every website it indexes … Google Images is not a repository of photos which are free of copyright restrictions.  There are a few such sites online, and a few with very affordable purchase options of images to use.  Best practice – NEVER use Google Images or any other search engine.



These reasons are why I make a CUSTOM graphic images for website and social media postings, or purchase images to use (and edit) – so that we do not violate copyright or other issues, and so that our clients do not unknowingly violate copyright issues. Understanding copyright law is part of professional graphic arts training.

If you’re using a professional marketing, graphic, copywriting, or other professional, make sure they’re a true professional who knows what they’re doing – including how to best prevent you from being sued for copyright violations.

And let’s not forget

#4. Common sense of not being offensive to another human being could have prevented the issues in the article linked above.



Note I am not a lawyer, and definitely not a copyright lawyer.  A little common sense will go a long way – best bet is to assume everything is copyrighted, and only use it if you know you have permission to do so.  When in doubt check with the person who owns the image/article you want to use … or your attorney.

One Response

  1. Need a couple of sites that have images you can use?

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page … just check the use info, sometimes they want attribution.

    You can also use Microsoft online clip art at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/

    Note as of 2014, when I try the Microsoft link above it doesn’t work … so I have to substitute http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx and then I’m able to search. Almost impossible to do a search and just FIND this link now!

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