‘Everything is free online’ attitude
Image libraries now use recognition software — focusing on infringements has become one of their biggest revenue streams
Everyone wants everything for free these days. We’ve become accustomed to expect so much being offered to us online for free that we feel ripped off if we are actually asked to pay for something.
With so much free advice coming from free forums, free software to communicate with friends around the world for free, with free tools and free online services, we’ve eventually come to a point where we think the value of anything found online must be ‘gratis’. The Internet is a magic sweet-shop world where everything is free for us to take and use however we would like — right?
Wrong! Especially when it comes to images, the attitude of presuming it’s OK to take and reuse, and an assumption that something must be free, can land you in serious hot water and can be very costly.
Here’s some things to bear in mind if you are looking for images for your own website:
- Don’t do a Google image search and then reuse images you find for your own website — you have no idea whether an image found on the Internet has any copyright terms applied to it or not. How do you know the image doesn’t belong to Getty or some other expensive image library? You’ll probably only know when they come after you wanting a few thousand pounds in compensation.
- Read terms and conditions — Many free image libraries, claim to be ‘free’ but if you read the small print you’ll see that they are available to use for non-commercial means, and they are not to be used to advertise services or products.
- Using your own images is a great idea, but make sure anyone featured in your photographs knows how you plan to use them and is okay what that, if you can, get their permission in writing.
Small price for peace of mind
We prefer to use Stock Photography from commercial image libraries such as Shutterstock for own website and our clients projects. Though not massively expensive to purchase, the time spent sourcing appropriate images should not be underestimated.
When you do purchase Stock Photography, try and get the largest resolution format or image dimensions that you can. Using an image exclusively on your website is one thing, but if later on you can reuse that image for print or elsewhere within your marketing, you’ll be really pleased you got a good size version which was suitable for print too.