This week I was contacted by a local realtor who questioning an image that appeared on one of my client’s websites. A quick Google search told me that the image of a nearby town waterfront had originated from the realtor’s online portfolio. After apologizing to the woman, I removed the image and decided to do a little research on copyright laws as they relate to sharing and using online images.
The social networking age is largely driven by the sharing of online images and, as you can imagine, US Copyright laws are struggling to keep pace with technology.
When is it legal to use another person’s photo or image? Here are a few simple rules.
Did you take the photo or graphic?
Unless you did the work for a client in which case it belongs to the client it is safe to assume that if you created the work then you likely own the copyright and can use it however you like.
Plagiarism VS Copyright
While plagiarism can be avoided by giving credit to parties in question the same rules do not apply to copyright infringement.
My best advice to avoid problems is to use Public Domain Images which are free of known copyright. Here are the links to a few of my favorite sites.