Think Before You Ink

Removal Can Be Expensive.

We have talked many times over the years (sometimes at great lengths) of the importance of not using copyrighted images on your website or in your marketing materials that you have not paid for or have approval to use.

This subject has hit close to home recently as we helped a client navigate through a image challenge from the largest stock image foundry in the world.

This image was placed on their website 8+ years prior and had sat there until the day the email was received and the phone call was made. The image in question was the only image used on their site that a purchase receipt could not be located.

In further review, this photograph was suspected to come from a Microsoft Clip Art / Image Gallery (from Word) and supplied to us by our client for use on their site.

However, this was not an acceptable answer for use to the foundry agent. This image (although not at the time placed on their website) was now included in the foundry’s “Exclusive Stock Images” with a year-by-year cost for use.

What does this mean?

Image use agreements within software programs change from year to year, program upgrade to program upgrade. And when this happens, generally it is not in the favor of the user.

Images located within the Microsoft Clip Art / Photo Gallery are not allowed for use on any website used for profit and this does not only mean you are selling merchandise. Your company “is” the merchandise.

Additionally, any images that are copied or downloaded from a Google, Bing or any other Internet Search can not be used on your website or in your marketing materials without being purchased or given permission for use from the person or company who own the copyright.

Copyright is a big deal.

Photographers, artists, designers, and stock image foundries take this very seriously. It is their livelihood, pays their bills and puts food on their table. Each time an image is downloaded and used without being paid for it hurts their bottom line.

And yes, there is “The Stock Photography Police”. They are agents hired to spend their days searching websites that include images they suspect have not been purchased through the proper channels. And this is a practice that we are hearing about more and more from people that they too have received the strongly worded email and phone call – and paid a now very hefty price for a single image.

How do you keep yourself protected?

Take inventory of the images used on your website and in your marketing materials. If you do not have a record of yourself, your designer or your website developer purchasing this image on your behalf, replace these images with updated purchased images.

When searching for images to use on your website and in your marketing materials search and download and purchase these images only from Stock Artwork Sellers.

Do not under any circumstances (no matter how much you “LOVE” that image) download it directly from an image search and place it on your website or marketing pieces. This includes placement on your blog and in your social media.

Keep your website fresh. Update and review your website on a regular basis.

When In Doubt, Leave It Out.

As the old saying goes to keep yourself protected – If you do not have record of where an image or illustration came from, remove it from use and replace it with image you do have a record of purchasing.



Gina O'Daniel

Gina is an award-winning designer and brand strategist with over 30 years experience in the design industry and has worked with small start-ups to large corporations both nationally and internationally to ensure their logos, business sets, marketing materials, signage, display advertising, social media design and website work together to ensure brand identity and maximize the company's image potential and profit.

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