Let’s say you’re working on a project, on the hunt for the right picture…so you go online to search, and land on something you like. Awesome! But is it protected by copyright? What does that mean exactly…and should you even care? If you want to avoid costly penalties and court battles, the answer is yes. Before using any photos online or off, it’s good to be aware of image copyright. Your business attorney will thank you!
Something protected by copyright means someone owns the image. To use it, you need to buy the rights or get permission from the owner. Not all images are copyrighted, but you can’t assume something isn’t. Take every precaution to avoid up to $150,000 in fines for stealing online photos.
Google Images Search
There are millions of photos searchable online, some of which are undoubtedly perfect for you. The majority of these, though, won’t be free to use, even if you can physically copy them. However, there are ways to search and find un-copyrighted images. On Google, it can be done with following steps:
- Search for your object or subject.
- Click on the Images tab at the top.
- Click on the Search Tools tab to the right of Images.
- Among the dropdowns, you will see Usage Rights.
- Within that dropdown, choose either “Labeled for reuse with modification” or “Labeled for reuse.” (Modification means you plan to alter the photo in some way, like add text.)
This will then only show photos that are safe to use without copyright infringement. Generally, you’ll still want to verify a photo is safe to use, indicated on the host site. The photographer or owner will usually be listed there, and it’s a good idea to give them attribution when using the photo.
In the world of social media marketing, a picture really does say a thousand words. As long as you aren’t stealing the artwork of others, you’re golden. You can then elevate these images with the aid of Brandr, an app that combines the power of a photo editor with marketing tools. It simplifies the process of social media posts, and amplifies their impact thru branding. Discover how Brandr can help your business.