Do I Need Permission to Use Online Photos for My Website?

Images are a vital part of a website or blog of a business or individual because they better engage the reader and encourage them to click through to the content. People will often pull them from another website and give credit to the person and assume that that is acceptable. But it is really?

Taking another person’s image and giving them attribution does not negate copyright infringement. If the image is copyrighted, then the copyright owner has the right to decide where and how the work is published. They also have the right to limit for the work is used. For example, they may only allow noncommercial uses.

How does the website owner know whether the image is copyrighted? Here are some things to look for that might indicate a copyright: a) watermarks; b) a copyright symbol located on the image ©; and c) a written notice of ownership.

Still not sure? You can conduct a reverse image search to determine if the image is copyrighted using TinEye, Zemanta or one of the other sites out there. If they indicate that the image requires a license, then you must decide if you want to pay for the image. If not, then you should find a different image.

Here is some general advice:

1) The best course of action is to take your own photos or hire someone to take them on your behalf.

2) Do a reverse image search to determine if a license is required or not.

3) If you want to use someone else’s work, then ask them for permission or purchase the license before utilizing the image.

4) If using a public domain image, do your research and make sure it is in the public domain before posting.

5) If obtaining a creative commons license, make sure you use the image according to the restrictions provided.

6) Do your research before posting an image to your website. Also, if you are using a vendor to create your website or blog, then you need to make sure that they obtain the images for site properly.

Why is this Important?

You do not want to get sued or lose money as a result of using an unlicensed photo on your blog or website. If you are still unsure, feel free to call me at (662) 607-4082.

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