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Image copyright issues

Posted by Michael Bloch in web development (Thursday October 16, 2008 )

I was reminded today of just how expensive it can be to “borrow” images without permission.

It seems that some online image libraries are really chasing after designers and web site owners that use images without the proper licensing.

I was reading of a case today where the unauthorized use of a single image wound up with the company sending a letter from their lawyers demanding nearly $4,000 in compensation from a small web site owner.

Another colleague of mine found himself in the same boat recently – and in order to prevent being sued, he had to cough up $1400 to the archive… and then pay more if he wished to continue using the image! He’s still totally befuddled as to how they found the image as it wasn’t anything special and it was buried on a site among a pile of other photos on the same page.

Wow, I wish I could charge $1400 for every time my content turns up on a site that’s reproduced it without permission! When that happens to me, I usually start off with a “please explain, please remove” note – but these guys go straight for the hip pocket, dedicating entire legal departments to the pursuit of photo theft.

Given that images can cost as little as 2 bucks a throw, it’s a big risk and really unwise to use photos without consent and proper licensing. Learn more about stock photos and imagery here – I’ve listed a couple of good resources where you choose from millions of good quality (legal) pics as cheap as chips.


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