September 17, 2014

Why Even Risk A Lawsuit When There’s So Many Free Images Available?

Are you qualified in Copyright Law? Can you interpret the legislation relating to “Fair Use”? No? Well then join the rest of us who have to navigate the minefield of Image Use on a daily basis.

Let me start by saying that I have had my personal photos stolen and used on a page that makes money for the owner. If they had asked permission, I would have said No. Why? Because I want to use those images, they are MY images and it is up to me whether I let anyone else use them or not. Simple.

Besides, there’s so many free images available all over the place, so I just cannot understand why anyone needs to steal my stuff in the first place. Some were images of our pet rabbits for heaven’s sake! What? There’s no Bunny photos on Allposters that could have been used?

Yes, sometimes it takes time to find free to use images, but not if you know where to look. I made a page about this: Copyright Infringements. This page does not just tell you about what constitutes Copyright Infringement, it also has an extensive list of places where you can go and find free to use images. All you have to do is be careful of the Terms and Conditions for use and make sure you cite the source as requested by the Copyright Owner.

As for trying to make a case for “Fair Use”? I never, ever go there.

“Fair Use” may be defined in the statutes, but at the end of the day, it comes down to the interpretation of a Judge in a Court of Law. The fact that a Judge is involved, means that the owner of the image, that you used without their permission, has become so incensed with you that you have been sued. Yep, a Court Case. And if you lose, be prepared to pay hefty compensation, alongside those legal bills.

What is the point, when there’s so many images out there you CAN use?

Take Disney as an example. All their images are copyright. They make it clear on all their websites, that you cannot use their images without permission. Why?

Because THEY want to make money out of THEIR images. They invested a lot of money paying people to create those images. Why would they want to give them away to you for free, so YOU can make money out of them?

But there IS a way you can use Disney Images. And that is to use Disney product images. Providing you link the image, or link text relating to that image, to the Product Page on an affiliate site that gives you express permission to use those images in this way, then you are in the clear.

No need to make a “Fair Use” case, no need to take your page down. So what is so hard about using images legally?

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AJ Ashley can be found on various writing platforms, including Squidoo and Wizzley.

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