Issues You Need To Deal With When Finding Images For Your Website
July 29, 2016
One of the most important issues that new website owners need to be able to deal with is finding images that suit their website designs and that are legal to use. The issue of legality is a murky one that many who are new to the internet often misunderstand. Here we will examine some of the things that you will need to look out for, the potential consequences of using copyrighted images and some sites where you may be able to find images that are suitable for your website.
Copyright law is fairly clear, at least in principle, when it comes to images uploaded to the web. Simply put, any image that is uploaded immediately becomes the copyrighted property of the person who uploaded it, unless they hand over those rights to the site that is hosting the image. That means that copying and pasting images that you find on the web can have serious repercussions and should be avoided when you are designing a new website.
The potential consequences for copying images are two-fold. Firstly, you may end up having to deal with legal ramifications for using somebody else’s image, especially in cases where that image is earning the copyright owner money. If you are lucky, the extent of these issues will be a cease and desist letter or email sent by the copyright owner or a representative. If you should receive one of these, you need to remove the image from your website immediately. In more extreme cases, the issue may be escalated to the point where you face a legal battle for breaking copyright.
One a slightly less serious note, image copying can also have an effect on your search engine optimisation if it is done to a high enough degree. Google thrives on providing new and interesting content to its users. If you copy somebody else’s image, it is likely that the original image will be the one that ranks, rather than the page you have placed it on. Furthermore, the copyright owner may also make use of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to have the offending page removed from search results, which can have drastic effects on your visitor numbers if the page happened to be popular.
So What Can You Do?
Happily, there are a number of things that you can do to make sure you use legitimate images. Creating your own, original images is the most obvious solution, but not everybody has the facilities required to do this.
You can also use stock image websites, such as iStock or Shutterstock. These will usually charge you a fee for using the image, while also offering you the chance to alter that image however you need to.
Furthermore, there are also sites where you can find free images, such as FreePik, PixaBay and Wikimedia Commons. However, such sites will usually ask you to give credit to image creators, which can mess up your website design if the image is placed somewhere that is unsuitable for a caption.