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Use Caution When Pulling Photos Off of the Internet

Although copyright laws are decades behind the fast-paced world of websites and social media, they are still laws and must be obeyed to avoid litigation. However tempting it is to pluck an image from the internet for use on your website or social media channel, this is not the best practice for a business owner. Everyone should use caution when pulling photos off of the web because uploading a copyrighted image, even if done unintentionally, has the potential for litigation.

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of intellectual property law that protects original work, including photographs, music, movies, written works, computer software, architecture, and more.

Are images on the internet copyrighted?

Just like any other original work, images found on the internet are protected under copyright laws. The photographer (or the entity he or she works for) owns the rights to the image and has legal grounds to sue if the pictures are used without permission. Websites such as TinEye help photographers keep track of their images. It is not advisable to take an image from the internet for use o n a website or social media channel without obtaining written permission from the owner of the image.

Where do I find photos to legally use on my website or my social media channels?

Stock photos are the safest way for users to find photos without having to worry about copyright infringement. Stock photo users pay a licensing fee that allows them to use photos within the limitations of the licensing agreement.

The photos are professional images and are usually of higher quality. Most are available for download and use on websites, social media, print advertising, and more. Websites like Shutterstock, Getty Images, Adobe Stock Photo, and more offer a wide variety of images to select from.

What if I don’t want to pay a licensing fee?

There are no copyright restrictions on your original photos, and the best way to use images for free is to take them yourself. Many cell phones have high-caliber cameras that produce quality images. Besides investing in a license, this is the safest way to post images on your website or social media channels.

Help is available

The attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio are available to answer your questions regarding copyright laws. For information visit our website or call 586-726-1000.

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