I recently briefed a client at length, about the risks of filling their news and features pages with images grabbed from across the web.
“To be clear, you are in breach of copyright when you use any image that you don’t own, haven’t licensed or created” – is how these conversations always start. Whether you’re caught is another matter, for a range of reasons.
i) How many hits does your site actually get per day? ii) How many are on the page(s) containing ‘dodgy’ images? iii) How much exposure does the contraband material actually get? The chances of the right/wrong person recognising unlicensed material and then issuing legal proceedings, can be vanishingly small.
The temptation: swipe an image picture here and a photo there; paste it into the article; published and be damned. The risk: the copyright-holder recognises the image as theirs; fires a hefty invoice at the culprit; backs it with the threat of legal action.
A good job then, that Getty Images have made the bold and brilliant step of freeing up 35 million images.
You can find the image directory via this link, http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx