Web designers – have you checked the copyright status of the photographs you are using ?

Flipping through Facebook the other day I found a colleague had “liked” the page of a local web designer. I clicked the link to the site and found myself looking at some of our images promoting websites they had built for other companies. Not wishing to fall out with another local business, we contacted them straight away and pointed out that this was not only an infringement of our copyright, but also highly misleading as they offer their own photographic services.

They apologised profusely and removed the images immediately, stating: “I will have to have a rethink about how I showcase projects and make sure I am using photos we have rights to.
Thank you for highlighting this. I have removed yours and a couple of other photographers too!”

So how many other designers and web developers out there are inadvertently using images they have no right to for promoting their own services ? In this case the images had been licenced for use by the commissioning client to promote their business, but not for any use by a Third Party.

Chasing image infringement is now becoming big business. Indeed, agencies like Alamy and Getty are already using reverse image searches to seek out and pursue infringers. Costs for copyright infringement can sometimes run into thousands of pounds in back fees and legal expenses, so it’s vital to check the images you are using are properly cleared and that you are entitled to use them.

If in doubt, check the picture’s metadata for the photographer’s contact details. In most cases they will be happy to negotiate a usage fee and a backlink to their own site.