Many businesses use images every day, whether it's to launch a new product, give a presentation or for a social media campaign. But, how many of us question whether we are legally entitled to use the image?
Failing to ensure that an appropriate release is in place can result in organisations of all sizes finding themselves in hot water.
Even if an image is readily available, caution must still be paid to how and where it is used and whether a release needs to be in place before you proceed. A release is a signed document that ensures that the people or property (works of art, trademarks, brands or buildings) featured in an image or clip are safe to use.
While most stock image collections clearly identify where a release has been signed, further limitations may be in place, so it pays to always double check. But it's not just image releases that need to be considered.
Copyright and IP law is complex to navigate. For example, if you're searching for an image using Google Images you may automatically think that it's safe to take your selected images and use them to promote your business or on your blog, but that isn't always the case.
Google has tried to make this easier by introducing search tools functionality, which includes a usage rights filter. Simply type in your search term, click on the 'images' tab below the search bar, then 'search tools' and finally 'usage rights'. You will be presented with four clear options:
To check the licence of each image, click on the image in the Google search results, then select 'visit page' and the licence details should be listed. Sometimes you will find images that are free to use under a creative commons licence but, even then, Google can't confirm that all the licences are annotated correctly. Google places the responsibility of image use firmly with the user, so make sure you read their full guidelines before using any image for your business.