With so many individuals still being caught out by copyright infringements, we thought it would be a good idea to bring this back to everyone's attention. Also, some new free image sites that have come to our attention are Unsplash & Pexels. You're welcome!
Have you ever heard the saying ‘a picture is worth 1,000 words’? The brain makes sense of images 50x faster than it does words, and that’s why we use them on our websites, in our blog articles and on our marketing materials – it makes things a bit more exciting and a lot less black and white! But let me ask you; is a picture worth £1,000? Not if you copy and paste it for free from Google Images, but that’s the type of fee you could be facing if an organisation such as Getty images decides to sue you for copyright infringement...
A lot of small-business owners aren’t even aware that most of the images you find on Google are licensed for use, and that it is considered illegal to use any image that holds a copyright without the owner’s permission or without purchasing a license that grants permission; that’s why distributors like iStock.com exist.
So what are you to do when you want to add an image to your latest blog post? You may have even been told that you need to add images to your web pages for SEO purposes. But if you’re not a professional photographer, or don’t want to spend money purchasing image after image, can you just hop onto Google Image and use any image you find? In a nutshell, our advice would be a resounding ‘no’.
Getty Images has been routinely threatening UK business owners with copyright infringement and damage claims for years, and they start by issuing demands for up to £2,000 per image. But you only need to look as far as Google to find out that most of these claims could be bogus, and have earned the nickname by some as the Getty Images ‘extortion letter’. The fees charged by Getty Images are often ridiculously unrealistic, but in the case that it is the copyright owner, the company does still have the right to sue you. This post by Clifford Miller Law goes into more detail about this and what you can do if Getty tries to rip you off...
To help make sure you avoid these claims altogether, we’re going to show you some of the tools you can use to find images that are free to use. You might be surprised to learn that Google is actually one of them; you just need to make sure you do an advanced search for images that are ‘free to use or share, even commercially’, as shown below.
Even though images found through this type of advanced search are listed by Google as ‘Free to Use’, you may still want to double check. You can do this using TinEye a free reverse image lookup that allows you to drag and drop an image into its search to verify the photo’s origin. Alternatively, you can use free image providers like ‘pixabay.com’ or ‘freeimages.com’. These sites do also list stock images, so just make sure you are searching the free ones!