As a business owner, you are responsible for ensuring that the images used in your company’s branding and website are not breaching any copyright laws. This is still the case if you outsource your work to a different design company. Don’t just assume that images are copyrighted; this could cost you dearly if the use find out that they are not.
This is an increasing problem for small businesses that outsource design work. Over the years, Getty Images has contacted a number of companies to tell them that they need to pay a (sometimes large) fee because they have used an image that does not belong to them.
Why you shouldn’t use images if you are unsure if they are copyrighted:
- Almost every image on the internet is subject to copyright ownership by the original creator or owner
- New technology means it is becoming increasingly easy for a person or company to see if the copyright laws of their images are being breached
- If you outsource your design work, ensure the company you use does not land you in a case. It may be worth checking the images for copyright, even if the design company says that your “custom graphics” do not infringe any copyright laws.
- When purchasing an image, check the terms and conditions of use.
If you are worried that you may be responsible for breach of copyright with some of the existing graphics on your website, it is highly advisable to remove them until you know for sure that you are allowed to use them. Doing this may help you to avoid costs and/or legal proceedings.