before you post that picture!
So you have just started a business and your trying to fill up your website and your social media page. But what do you do when you don't have any of your own images? You go to google right? That decision can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Just because an image is on google doesn't mean it is free for you to use. If you use an image from a professional photographer you can find yourself in hot water. Photographers have #copyright protection under federal law. That law could land you in court by the photographer. Fines can range from $200 to as much as $150,000 per offense. So what constitutes #copyright #infringement? Using any image that you didn't take without the permission from the #photographer.
As a #brandingphotographer I spend time explaining to my clients why they are paying me. It isn't just to customize their brand, it is to protect them from using other peoples images which is much more costly than paying me. So what do you do if you find an image on google that you want to use?
Contact the photographer. When you pull up a google image there will be a small copyright announcement at the bottom of the image like pictured below. If you follow the image you can find the photographer. Many times you will find photographers are happy that you called and willing to help you out.
If you choose not to and you use the image anyway, here are a few things the photographer has the option to do.
1. They can charge you their usage fee. Fee's can range from $200 to thousands depending the image.
2. They can send a cease letter asking you to remove the photograph.
3. They can ask for photo credit.
4. They can choose to forgo all of that and go straight to an attorney and sue you for copyright infringement.
In today's digital world there is little respect for the work of #photographers. Therefore, we have had to put the hammer down more to prevent theft of our work. More and more, photographers are opting to follow through with copyright infringement cases. Don't be a victim because of your lack of knowledge. Before you put it on your website, ask yourself where the image came from, is it a professional image and do your research. Better yet, hire a #professionalphotographer for your banding needs. Your images will be custom and you won't need to worry about getting in hot water.