Suede Court

Suede Court

Using Images You Don’t Have The Right To Use†by Carl Suede

A friend of mine runs his own health and wellness center. His focus is on natural therapies and encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles both physically and spiritually. He’s what you might call a â€lifestyle guru’.

Anyway, he has a great website offering readers all manner of tips, articles, videos and pictures which help to reinforce his mantra that pills aren’t the answer. He told me recently that he had received a letter from a lawyer stating that the â€owner’ of some of the pictures he was using wasn’t happy. Turns out he hadn’t purchased the license to use some of the images and had simply taken them â€from the web’.

My friend is a shrewd businessman, and I was very surprised that he hadn’t realised that he was breaking the law. He presumably thought that it was harmless. The letter gave him quite a scare, and he settled quickly to avoid being prosecuted for copyright infringement.

If I had known he was using pictures from the web like this I would have slapped him around the face with a wet fish. For him to have risked prosecution, reputational and financial damage is utterly ridiculous. I told him very clearly that you can’t use any images anywhere without securing the necessary license. Whatever the likelihood of getting caught †it’s not worth the risk!

A basic google search will show you that Getty Images has been particularly aggressive in this regard, using sophisticated software to find its images online and pursuing sizeable financial settlements and/or legal action against people (and there are many) it deems to be in breach.

To avoid this headache, check out all the stock photo sites, trawl the â€dollar bins’, get a pay as you got subscription - whatever your budget allows. Use a stock search engine to see which site has the most appropriate images for your needs and at the best prices. Take your own photos. Whatever it takes to avoid this needless risk.

People do get caught, they get fined, they get sued, they get taken to court. Reputations are damaged and it can be a genuine life changer. So unless you want me coming round to your house with a wet fish, get the necessary license before publishing anything anywhere. Don’t give Getty and others any excuse to chase you, or force you to get a lawyer to defend yourself.

Carl Suede is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to Shotspy is a specialist stock search engine that enables users to browse and filter results from the world’s leading libraries and stock houses.

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