Things You Should Know About Using Images From the Web

Things You Should Know About Using Images From the Web


The general rule about copyright is that if you made it then you own it.


Copyright – as soon as an original work is created it is automatically copyrighted. It isn’t necessary to fill out any forms or to register it. As the owner of the copyright you have the right to do four things with your creation:

  1. Reproduce it.
  2. Display it publicly.
  3. Make new things based on the original work.
  4. Sell or lease the copyright for duplication.


Work for Hire – If you’re an employee of a company and create something for your company then the copyright belongs to your employer, not to you.


Plagiarism – giving credit does not absolve you of copyright infringement. You must have permission to use an image, it isn’t enough to say, “this image is created by Joe Green.” You are still legally liable if you use the image without permission.


Public Domain  – Works in the public domain are works no longer covered by copyright because the copyright has expired, the creator has put the work in the public domain, or copyright laws do not cover the specific creation. The symbol for public domain or the Public Domain Mark (PDM) is basically a copyright symbol with a line through it.









It’s the Designer’s Fault is no excuse. If someone designs a website for you and uses copyrighted images then you as the owner of the site are ultimately liable. This is where you would need a clause in your contract with the designer to protect yourself. (See website below for more information or check with your lawyer.)


Linking – Many people try to circumvent copyright infringement by creating a link to the site they obtained the picture from but you are still using an image without permission. This kind of Linking is a sort of slight-of-hand that can get you into a lot of legal hot water. Don’t do it.


The Rule of Thumb you should probably follow about every image you find on the internet, assume every picture you find is copyrighted. Invest a little time to educate yourself and don’t rely others to make sure you are staying within legal bounds when using images on the internet. Ignorance of the law has never been accepted as a defense for breaking the law.



The Best Ways to be Sure You’re Legally Using Online Photos



Copyright issues with photos on your website: how to prevent them?


Computer Hope

Where Can I Find Free Public Domain Images & Pictures?


MUO – MakeUseOf

To 5 Websites for Quality Copyright Free Photographs


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