When building a website, writing a blog post or creating marketing materials, it is a great practice to use images, including pictures and graphics. Just using any image is not a good practice, so it is best to use well-made, professional images.
Unfortunately, many people believe this is a license to use the best one they find without permission or compensation. This is copyright infringement, which can lead to a cease and desist letter, fines or even lawsuits.
Creative works often have various copyright licenses for which you must adhere to avoid any kind of repercussions. This goes for anything creative such as pictures, graphics, copy, videos and music.
Social Media Examiner has an excellent recap of copyright for creative works.
“But it's just a picture.”
You may see it as just a picture or image, but creative professionals see it as their livelihood, hours of training, saving to purchase the tools they use, years of experiences that help them put it all together to get the shot, or create the image, that you found worthy to use on your website or in your marketing material.
Our colleague, David, is in Italy right now learning and expanding his knowledge to be a better creative professional. We have multiple members of our team who can create images or take professional pictures, and they all have experience, training and expertise.
“How can I use images or pictures?”
There are a couple of different things to keep in mind when using images or pictures. First, pay attention to the creative license. Sometimes, creative professionals will make them available under the Creative Commons and labeled for reuse. Sometimes, you are allowed to reuse with attribution.
Second, you can pay for the license to use the photograph or graphic. These are usually known as stock photos, and websites, such as iStock, are great places to find them. The cost per image is usually well below what you might pay in another situation or less than a fine tied to a cease and desist letter.
An alternative is to use your own. Spend time learning how to take pictures better or creating graphics. If you have the skills, this might be a viable option. In addition, you might develop a relationship with a creative professional in which you can take advantage of his or her skills at an agreed upon rate.
When you decide to use creative professional work (videos too), always adhere to the correct usage requirements. Remember, creative professionals deserve to be compensated and, frankly, the law is on their side. If you fail to do so, you might find yourself looking at a cease and desist letter or staring at a lawsuit.
Coming up with images or graphics can be one of the hardest things to do if you lack the experience. Let the Pleth creative team help! Drop us a note and let us get started.