Picture the scene. You’re designing your new website and you’re conjuring up all sorts of images in your mind about what would work perfectly with your expertly crafted words. Where’s the place to visit first? Google of course. But stop there. Just because typing a simple search into Google brings up a whole plethora of images, have you stopped to think that these images are not free and you do not have permission to use them.

Yes, it’s tempting to save one and get a quick result. They haven’t got a copyright symbol or a price attributed to them, so what’s the harm? Plenty. They belong to someone and using one without permission could have big legal repercussions and fines for you and your business.

What should you do?

Unless you have written permission to use an image, your safest bet is to assume that all the images you find on Google are protected by copyright law. And a single photo you use illegally could cost you thousands of pounds in fines and damage to your reputation. There is technology out there that helps copyright holders monitor and track the use of their images. It’s just not worth the risk. Modifying the original image or linking it back to its original source or owner doesn’t get you out of hot water either.

Marketing Zone recommends…

Our two top tips to avoid getting hit by a large fine for unlicensed use of images is:

  1. Create your own photography, with images that meet your specific brief.
  2. Ensure you use a photo library with clearly explained permissions for photo use.

This is the only way Marketing Zone selects images for its clients’ projects.

We commission and direct photo shoots to get the exact images we need. That includes the completion of Model Release Forms to ensure we have permission to reproduce the images of the models that appear in our photos.

And we’re increasingly finding that photo libraries offer high quality images at an affordable price. There are the big players like iStock, Getty and Shutterstock and there’s a myriad of other photo sources including Creative Commons licensed images. With these photo libraries the original source has given their consent to allow their pictures to be used for a specific purpose, including commercial use.

When it comes to sourcing the perfect images that will bring your product or service to life, just talk to Mark at Marketing Zone. We have a wealth of knowledge about photography and image sources, as well as years of practical experience in how to visualise different offerings and apply this creative style across all your marketing materials. Get in touch.