Frequently Asked Questions about Law and Etiquette on Using Royalty-Free Stock Photos
It’s not uncommon to see website and blog owners search for photos on Google and use them on their sites. What they don’t know is that they are breaking the law because copyright law protects almost every photo found on the internet. When the law catches up with them, their site might be brought down; they could be forced to pay punitive fines or even serve jail time. This article talks about frequently asked questions about law and etiquette on using royalty free stock photos:
· Is it to go online, choose favorite free pictures, and use them on my site?
The straightforward answer is no. But, it all depends. To be on the safe side, just assume that all photos and images found online are protected by copyright law. So desist from saving and using any photo you stumble across online on your blog, website or social media. First, perform rigorous research about the photo to determine its source and if they offer a license. Of course, don’t consider a photo from a brand’s website. Follow the license requirements to the latter, and you will have no problem with copyright.
· What should I do when I find free photos without licenses on them?
If you come across a photo you like but lacks a license on it, that should motivate you to go on a research spree to determine its true nature. Having a copyright notice helps clients to pinpoint the owner of the photo and contact them regarding use. However, some countries don’t mandate a photographer to include a copyright notice on their photos. And so, the absence of copyright notice doesn’t mean the photo is free to use. That’s why you must do your due diligence first before taking any step to use the photo.
· If I’m caught with copyrighted royalty free photos, could I ask to link back the photo?
Doing that only substantiates the fact that you violated copyright law knowingly and that could only make the already bad situation worse. The best course of action is to talk to the photographer about compensation before they take any action. The bottom-line is: Desist from using any photo you find online. Choose free photos from photography websites like Unsplash, Free images, Photo8 and so on.
· Am I allowed to link back and use free photos I come across online?
- Most people think that they can use any photo online and link back or give credit to the image owner and everything will be okay. It doesn’t work like that. You should only use any photo according to its licensing terms. Yes, some photos are available to use for free as long as you give credit to the owner, but you must confirm that the picture license says so.