Ask! … before you use other people’s images!

pressing Social Network iconHere’s something not many people know – if it’s on the internet doesn’t mean that it has no copyright attached! And the idea that “it is in the public domain therefore I can use it,” is nonsense!

Without going into the EXTENSIVE and COMPLEX minefield of copyright in this country and across the world use this as a rule of thumb – if it’s not yours, don’t use it unless you have permission to use it!

And here’s another thing, using something without permission but giving them “credit” just doesn’t absolve you from copyright infringement. Recently there was a case of a business in Pretoria that was sued for copyright infringement from a firm in USA for unauthorised usage of an image lifted out of Google and used without permission. The USA firm had commissioned and paid for the image so they were a bit miffed! The Pretoria firm were sued for $20 000 but were able to settle for $3 000 – can you afford that?

Sharing a Facebook post on your page with someone else is not violating copyright because the source of the “post” is there for everyone to see and the option to “share” indicates that it’s ok … BUT don’t take someone else’s photo out of the post and re-use it elsewhere without their permission (you see what a minefield this can become with all the ‘what if’s’ and the different permutations that need to be considered?)

Most people on social media will be only too happy to let you re-use their image if you ask them – but you need to ask!

So, what to do? Use your own images only, or ones that you have permission to use, or images that you have bought (with a license to re-use) or royalty-free  images with an open license to re-use (with certain restrictions). If in doubt – DON’T.

There are some good sites to visit for images that you can re-use (if you’re not able to take your own or don’t have just the right one in your library) … Google “free royalty free images” and have some fun exploring.

Below is a gallery of some images I have recently downloaded – I have a license to use and re-use them. The terms of my license strictly dictate that I MAY NOT SHARE OR GIVE A THIRD PARTY PERMISSION TO USE THEM … so if you like them, and want to use them, contact me and I will send you the link on where to go to get your own license (DON’T USE THESE ONES) But … If I do use one of these in a Facebook post and you like it, feel free to share the entire post (not just the image)


4 comments on “Ask! … before you use other people’s images!

  1. Just google ‘Netiquette’ and you’ll find some great guidelines. There are also ways to add a hidden watermark (copyright label) in photographs which makes it possible to track and trace your pictures on social media and websites …

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