Getty Images unauthorised use of an image letter

As a internet marketer I felt it important to share this blog post with you. We’ve all heard about image copyright and it makes sense for books, music, newspapers and other printed and commercial material but in the modern days of digital copyright things get a bit murky. However copyright will still protect digital images by applying the same criteria in which copyright is applied to in the analogue world, although it can often be less straightforward to apply the concepts at the heart of copyright to certain types of digital content such as machine-generated materials and multimedia.

New technology is moving so fast that it is difficult to be clear on where we stand, however it is the company Getty Images who has highlighted this issues and caused me to write this post.

We all share images on Facebook, Pinterest and other social platforms but when does sharing an image become a breach of copyright. Getty Images who are one of the biggest stock photo agencies, they are running an aggressive campaign to sue websites, blogs and forums for breach of their image copyright. Millions of people across the world have received a letter fining them for £1000’s per image.

They aren’t wrong to be doing this, they are acting on the behalf of their photographers to ensure they get credit for their work. However it is the way they are doing it that is getting people angry, issuing fines for images that innocent people found on Google, featuring no copyright watermark or information that it wasn’t for commercial use.

This blog post is not legal advice telling you what to do if you get this letter (3000for legal advice try here, it is a guide on how to prevent breaking copyright law and prevent receiving this letter. The key word in all of this is “Commercial use”. If you are a business, non-profit or organisation you are using your images for commercial use and that image has the potential to make you money, again a grey area! Often it is good enough to reference the source of the image, but be careful with this, as according to Getty this isn’t good enough.

For further advice please follow these links:

How to avoid legal demands of Getty Images and other photo copyright problems

UK Business Forums advice upon receiving the Getty Images unauthorized use letter

Pursued by Getty Images or another photograph library?

Is Pinterest a haven for copyright violations