Have you recently started a craft business or at home business and looking to put together some marketing information? As you browse and scroll through countless internet sites you inevitably see some fantastic photographs and marketing material that would work perfectly with your product. You may casually consider inserting one of these already done marketing images into something you are selling, on your website, within your marketing information but we caution you against this at ALL costs.
This is when you have to consider and stop before proceeding and you must gain permission from the copyright or image holder before using for anything that you create. Why is it so important to ensure you have permission to use an image on the internet:
Every image is copyrighted by default. The copyright is owned by the person who produced or engineered that image. They can sell the rights to that image in various ways or they could license the image for use for free.
Browsing ThinkStock (affiliate link but reputable royalty free images and marketing for your business use) will give you an idea of what is out there for your use. In fact, it is much easier to browse images that are well-organized in this way vs countless hours searching on the web for something to use: Stock Photos
It is usually innocent enough, you browse and browse and find something so perfect for your marketing campaign and cannot even find the source for the image, so you assume it is copyright free and insert it into your marketing campaign. Easy enough. Months go past and you find that you get a cease and desist letter from someones lawyer after the original copyright owner has found their image on your business pages. It happens EVERY DAY. It is so costly to back out of this accidental situation that we highly advise you to ensure it does not happen from the very beginning.
When you are working with a graphic designer, task them with detailing in writing how the images they are using are copy written. Countless stories are out there about how much a small business has paid for marketing design, gone to press with it, paid thousands for it and only to find later that the images were actually copy written and therefore illegal to distribute! If your graphic designer is unsure about how design copyrights work then that is a red flag to find another graphic designer. All they are doing is passing the buck to your business and making it easier on them by just grabbing and copying something on the internet vs. designing something that is copyright free to use and is unique.
What is the best way to ensure the images you are using are free of copyright issues and can be used with your material? You should purchase that right. Make it free and clear for your use from the very beginning and save heartache, time and legal issues later. We suggest the service think stock (affiliate link) that you can pay for the right to use vector, illustrations and photos.