Why to NEVER use images without permission.

Last Update: May 29, 2014

I often see people ask about using images from a Google search, or if they can just use an image they like that they saw online. Be warned that using such images can be a very expensive lesson. I always knew that they could not be used, but just today learned that it can be even uglier and costlier to use one then I knew. If you Google something like "copyright-infringement-penalties-are-scary" you will find a blog about how someone mistakenly used an image in a blog, that was actually a copyrighted image. The blog it was on had less then 100 hits. They were being sued for 8k, for the usage of the image without permission. Great article and I recommend it well.

There are a lot of comments and within them I found that all images have copyright protection the moment they are made. It used to be that there had to be a copyright notice. but that no longer holds true. If there is a copyright notice, then an infringement is considered willful and the Max statutory award goes from 30k to 150k.

So, if you want to make sure that you do not face a situation like this you have a few choices.

Take your own pictures, or create your own graphics.
Pay for the right to use a image or graphic.
Use a royalty free image site to find an image, and make sure that you read and follow their directions on how the image can be used. (I would also make extensive notes about what site, and the exact URL where you found the image that was claimed to be royalty free.)

Maybe a bit paranoid, but there have been copyrighted images uploaded to such sites. You might be able to resolve the problem by showing that you were using an image in good faith, but would still have to remove it.

Hope this helps on why you have to be careful on using copyrighted materials.

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egonsarv Premium
Thank you for sharing. It helps :)
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Jdeleon68 Premium
Great blog Drawshot! Thanks.
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KatieMac Premium
Thank you for sharing this it is one of my worries mostly I will be using my own and the one's I have say they are free
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judym Premium
I'm with you on the paranoid here. No point in setting yourself up for failure down the road with something avoidable. What have you found to be good royalty free image sites? Appreciate your post, thanks!
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TJ7774 Premium
I use morguefile.com often. Also, you can get them off google too! Google>Gear Icon (top right)> advanced settings> then type what you want to search and scroll down till you read 'usage rights'> then choose an option. I get quite a few good images from there.
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Drawshot Premium
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TJ7774 Premium
Eeee scary thought.

I was wondering, how do you stop someone from using your images? What if someone takes one of mine from my site, and uses it and I catch them? What could I do from there?
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parksweekly Premium
Usually, you should get a lawyer if you don't already have one, and let them handle it. The first order of business would likely be to draft and send to the infringing site a cease and desist letter, notifying them of the infringement and allowing them a period of time (like 24-72 hours) to remove it. If it's not removed at that point, it's probably time to file a lawsuit.
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Drawshot Premium
Hi Taylor, ok, while talking about copyright infringement, might as well hit the text one too, You can check for people copying your printed pages with copyscape. http://www.copyscape.com/ . To check to see if anyone is using your image go to Google image search. https://images.google.com/ . If you look at the very right end of the search box, there is an image of a camera. Click on that camera and it brings up a reverse image search. What you do is open up your image folder, or webpage, and drag the image onto the search box. Google will go right to work and list every instance that it has of that image being used. Then you can either try the nice route, and write asking for the image to be removed. Of you can have your lawyer demand it be removed, and ask for money in payment for the copyright infringement.
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TJ7774 Premium
WOW! That is some great information.
Thank you :)
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Drawshot Premium
No problem glad to help. Best wishes on your trip, I'm envious of you, been quite a while since I took a long road trip like that. Someday when I get things caught up, I may have to do a bit of a walk about my self lol.
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