office mac tracky image without license

Finally revealed: TOP 10 Errors of image use online

If we´re all honest it´s incredibly easy to find images online. But there’s always that doubt “can I use just use this image or do I still have to ask for permission?” To help with these concerns Copytrack introduces the top ten biggest misunderstandings of using unknown images online. A massive issue on internet, especially on social media.

1. No crop can cut copyright: Altered pictures are copyrighted​

When someone wants to edit a photo, whether it´s changing colour, size and then use it for their own purpose, the copyright still needs to be obtained. Only if “free use” is stated or the original image is barely recognizable, permission from the copyright holder is not needed.  You have to be careful what “free use” means though, as it varies for each image. That’s why Copytrack recommends that the rights of use should be clarified before the image is used.

2. Not true: A lawfully acquired license lets you do everything 

In order to be able to advertise a product range, companies hire photographers to create product pictures and then acquire special licenses for images. The terms of the licenses are usually very specific, and the picture can´t simply be used for other purposes. The manufacturers’ licenses do not automatically apply to the product distributors.

3. Extra, extra, read all about it: Newspapers spread easily online

Scans, screenshots or photos from newspaper articles are often shared a lot online. However, copyright still needs to be taken into consideration when sharing newspaper articles. The publishers are usually legal owners of the texts. But that might not be the same when it comes to the pictures.  Is the article displayed together with an image? If so you could risk a legal warning for unauthorized usage of not just the text, but the image as well

4. Always check: The worldwide web can be a large free image database

Searching for images on the net is very easy and fruitful. However, images extracted from search engines are still copyrighted. Often the image sources and the copyright owners are not immediately visible. Despite this the copyright owner always has to be researched and the conditions for the image usage have to be clarified. Otherwise you could be paying for your mistake.

5. Ignorance is not bliss: Licenses can be distributed easily

Anyone commissioning an image and acquiring the license for the use of this image does not automatically have the right to pass the image on to a third party. Copytrack has a lot of experience of dealing with cases where images are shared to third parties without a proper licence.  When the third party uses the image without a proper license- he is still at risk. Licenses always need to be checked.

3 framed photos against a brick wall one without license

6. How free can it be? Make sure you understand CC licences

Images marked with a creative commons licence are actually available free of charge to the delight of many. But they are still copyrighted. Before use, it is also necessary to check the terms of the CC license as they vary, for example check if the photo be edited or can it be used for commercial use.

7. Mistake: copyright protection is not just valid private individuals

Here is a double misunderstanding for many image users: not only professional photographers, but also amateurs have instant copyright when creating photos.

Secondly, it is irrelevant whether or not an image has been used for private or commercial purposes. Unauthorized use can always lead to copyright abuse. There is  a small exception, however. There’s the small window where you can copy an image or print it in a private place, but you are not allowed to share it, places like the Internet for example.

8. Mistake: Stock photos can be used as desired

If you want to use stock images, you acquire a certain license (standard or exclusive), which may look different for editorial or commercial use. If a stock image is used onto a company blog, this can soon be confused with editorial use. However, since the blog is a company and this usually increases the click rate, a commercial usage license must be purchased. When purchasing a standard license for commercial image use, it is also important to note that stock images, which are distributed online, have different licensing rules depending on the site that sells them.

9. Irritating: Everything made, can´t always be sellable

Using an image without permission is illegal. Just because others might do the same, it does not mean you’re protected. Individuals are always responsible to check they have the right to use photos online. Those who make these mistakes are just the same as image right abusers. Ignorance helps nobody when it comes to image rights, so always be aware of what you´re sharing.

10. eBay- Auctions offers with product photos

Whoever uses original product photos for private eBay auctions puts themselves at risk of image theft. When someone sells a product they don’t suddenly get the right to use the original product photos. The best option is to take a little time and take a photo yourself.

 © COPYTRACK | Andrea Feustel

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About Copytrack

COPYTRACK was founded in 2015 by Marcus Schmitt. Our service is aimed at photographers, publishers, picture agencies and e-commerce providers. We enable free detection of stolen images on the Internet, as well as, international legal enforcement.

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We are fighting for fair payment for photographers, picture agencies and publishers. Use Copytrack to find illegally used images free of charge on the Internet, and to take legal action against copyright infringements.