Using the correct image can help to tell a story that words alone can’t, and in the era of social media to use the correct picture can take a post from drab to fab very quickly. But unless you have created the images yourself, chances are you’ll need to use images and photos created and owned by someone else. The best way to be sure that you are using online pictures legally is to assume that every image and photo you find online is copyrighted. This means that users will usually need the permission of the copyright owner if they want to copy the image or share it on the internet.
The excuse that the image didn’t have a watermark or a “©” to show it was copyrighted doesn’t work.
The copyright symbol does not have to be present for copyright to exist and this lack of copyright notice has some people believing that there are no restrictions to its use. Copyright laws are often blurred with the sharing mechanisms on many of the social networking sites. However, as soon as an image is taken from one platform and used on another, there may be problems.
When someone infringes copyright, there are various courses of action which could be taken by the individual or the organisation which owns the copyright. The user of the image may be asked to purchase a licence and a commercial arrangement might be reached after which no further action is taken. However, legal action might be taken by bringing a claim in court which could result in a court hearing. Deliberate infringement of copyright on a commercial scale may also lead to a criminal prosecution. Even in situations where people may think their copyright infringement will not be detected, they run the risk of being discovered and consequently being pursued through the courts.
Luckily if you have created the images yourself, you are generally free to use them as you wish but there are also plenty of sources where we can find images or photos without becoming involved in copyright infringement and remain completely safe, for example we can use: stock photo services which require you to pay for a license, creative common licenses which confer the right to use an image under certain circumstances, and public domain repositories of images which are not subject to copyright in the first place. The use of licensed images ought to be much safer than using unlicensed images, therefore don’t use randomly selected images from the internet which can lead to unpleasant situation but be a little more creative and start taking your own.
There is no need to steal someone else`s pictures, so avoiding undesirable consequences.