Monday, 28 March 2011
Images, copyright and all that jazz
I know there's a lot written about how to link to images and so on when you're blogging but I thought I'd write a little post on image copyright and how it works when you're using them on your business website.
First up, I ain't no lawyer. Don't quote me on any of this! I have asked a lawyer and researched it but I can't guarantee I'm 100% accurate so please don't sue me. Ha.
So here's a biggie to start with:
All images belong to whoever took them.
That's a fact. But how and when you can use them often strays into what's moral and ethical as well as what's legal.
You don't have to officially 'copyright' a photo for it to be yours. You just have to take it.
The picture of the blossom tree on this page belongs to me. I took it. So if someone googles 'blossom tree' and through the beauty of SEO and the wonder of the internet, finds my photo can they use it? Well generally yes as long as they credit the source, i.e me.
But what if they are starting a gardening company say, and want to use my image to promote their business. The image is still mine. If they contact me and ask my permission I may say yes. Or might not. It's up to me. Regardless of where they find it.
One thing is certain, they should ask me. And if they can't find the source of the image? If for some reason they don't know I took this fab pic what then? Well they shouldn't use it. At all.
Using images on the internet is not a case of finders keepers. Photographers photos are their product. Using their images without permission is like stealing to them. They are naturally protective of their work and so whilst they can't monitor the whole internet, courtesy definitely goes a long way.
Aside from stock images, all images belong to whoever shot them and therefore if you want to use an photo for your website, you have to get permission. This applies to google images too.
When I started blogging I found the whole 'how do you link to images and credit properly' thing confusing. I probably got it wrong many times. The main point with blogs and websites is that you don't take credit for what isn't yours and if you're going to use an image belonging to someone else to promote your business check, then double check you have permission.
I think all wedding planners for instance, especially new ones, struggle when they don't have the images they want for their websites. It's pretty hard to showcase your ideas without good photos.
So team up with a photographer and organise a photo shoot demonstrating your style. That way you get amazing photos that you can use (although remember they always belong to the photographer). It's always far better to wait to launch your business with photos of your work than use images that you found on the internet. Aside from anything else it has more integrity and that's always a good thing.
What are your thoughts fellow bloggers/business owners?
P.S If any gardening business want to use this amazing image that I have taken I may just consider it ;)