So, you followed the rules and think you did everything right, but suddenly you have a letter from Getty Images or other owner of image copyrights demanding payment for images you used without permission. Wait! What?
You’re not the first, and you won’t be the last. Here’s what may have happened. You, or your website designer may have used a purchased template for your website. No harm in that – no sense reinventing the wheel! However, if you didn’t read the fine print, or your template provider failed to reveal that:
“All images used in our website templates are copyrighted by their respective owners and are subject to limited use. You do not have rights to reuse the images in their modified or present forms anywhere else including other templates or websites.” (DreamsTime), you could be in trouble.
How do they know I’ve used a copyrighted image?
Reportedly, they use programs such as Picscout Image Tracker which show where their images appear online. Interestingly, that company also offers a service that gets people in touch with copyright holders if they wish to ask permission or arrange payment for using an image.
How to Avoid this Particularly Costly Copyright Infringement Issue
If you or your designer used a template and didn’t change the default images, you could be looking at fines for each of the dozens of images on your site. It’s good practice, and legally safer, to change them all. You don’t want your site to LOOK like a cookie-cutter site, anyway, do you?
- Could Using Images on Social Media Get You Sued? (scalablesocialmedia.com)
- The Best Ways to Be Sure You’re Legally Using Online Photos (lifehacker.com)
- Copyright Infringement Letter For Images on Your Website! (blog.seattlepi.com)
- Committing Copyright Infringement Unintentionally? | SocialBo | Online Website Design and Social Media (socialbo.co)